Jobs: Astronaut Candidate, NASA (USA)

Astronaut Responsibilities

Astronauts are involved in all aspects of assembly and on-orbit operations of the ISS  This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, experiment operations, and onboard maintenance tasks.  Astronauts are required to have a detailed knowledge of the ISS systems, as well as detailed knowledge of the operational characteristics, mission requirements and objectives, and supporting systems and equipment for each experiment on their assigned missions.

Basic Qualification Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application.

Astronaut Candidate (Non-Piloting background)

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.
  2. Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience.  Teaching experience, including experience at the K – 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position; provided degree is in a Science, Engineering, or Mathematics field.
  3. Ability to pass the NASA long-duration Astronaut physical, which includes the following specific requirements:Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20, each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK and LASIK, are allowed. Note that such surgeries are permitted, but not required for potential applicants.

    Since all crewmembers will be expected to fly aboard a specific spacecraft vehicle and perform Extravehicular Activities (space walks), applicants must meet the anthropometric requirements for both the specific vehicle and the extravehicular activity mobility unit (space suit). Applicants brought in for an interview will be evaluated to ensure they meet the anthropometric requirements.

Notes on Academic Requirements

Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions – specifically: successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor’s degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. The following degree fields, while related to engineering and the sciences, are not considered qualifying:

*- Degrees in Technology (Engineering Technology, Aviation Technology, Medical Technology, etc.)
*- Degrees in Psychology (except for Clinical Psychology, Physiological Psychology, or Experimental Psychology which are qualifying).
*- Degrees in Nursing.
*- Degrees in Exercise Physiology or similar fields
*- Degrees in Social Sciences (Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology, etc.).
*- Degrees in Aviation, Aviation Management, or similar fields.

Citizenship Requirements

Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must be citizens of the United States. Applicants with valid U.S. dual-citizenship are also eligible.

Application Procedures

  • Civilian
    Applications can only be submitted through the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS site
  • Active Duty Military 
    Active duty military personnel must submit applications through the Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS Web site and to their respective military service. Contact your military service for additional application procedures.

Apply here


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