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How To Become An Astronaut?
astronaut spaceflight
How To Become An Astronaut?

So, you want to become an astronaut and go to space?

Are you wishing to fulfill a childhood dream of going beyond the earth?  Let’s first discuss what an astronaut actually is and some ways you can become one.

The term ‘astronaut’ is derived from Greek and literally means ‘space sailor’.  Therefore, if you went to space, you would automatically become an astronaut.  Yet, it’s not that easy!  There are some rules and regulations of which you need to be aware that are hiding in the fine print.

Being an astronaut is an official status, just as being a police officer or a firefighter.

You must go through a rigorous selection and interview process which is followed by training.  Only later are you considered to go to space aboard a spacecraft.  Formerly, NASA recruited ex-military pilots and personnel to become astronauts.   However, as NASA’s missions and goals have expanded, so too did the requirements for whom they chose for the opportunity to become an astronaut.

Did you know that different countries name ‘space sailors’ differently?  In Russia and the former USSR, humans who went into space were known (and still are) as ‘Cosmonauts’ (travelers of the universe or cosmos).  In China, those who go into space are known as ‘Taikonauts’, from the Mandarin ‘Taikong’ meaning space.

According to NASA, in order to become an astronaut, you must first be launched as a crewmember aboard NASA spacecraft bound for orbit and beyond.

If you want to become an official NASA astronaut as an occupation, you must:

  • be a US citizen

  • be prepared to beat over 18,000 applicants

  • have a master’s degree in a STEM field

  • have two years of field related experience or 1,000 hours of pilot in command of a jet aircraft

  • pass the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical.

This is all just for the opportunity to apply for the job!

Although, NASA no longer hires military personnel exclusively, it does want a diverse staff of people in space who are able to solve all types of problems and challenges, as well as to conduct different types of research. After successfully meeting all the requirements and getting the job, you will have an opportunity to be enrolled for future missions to space.

After traveling to space on your first flight, you are awarded a special badge and designated as earning “astronaut wings”.

What if you want to go into space and become an astronaut but don’t want to work for NASA?

You now have the option to become an astronaut within the booming private space sector that is rapidly developing.  Today, commercial space companies offer suborbital and orbital flights along with a two week stay at the ISS.  For this particular reason NASA now issues the “Commercial Space Astronaut Wings”, also known as order 8800.2.  One no longer has to be employed by NASA or a branch of the military armed forces.

Therefore, not just anybody can ‘go into space’.  You must be healthy enough to withstand the forces of going into space and crossing the Karman line and to complete some task for the good of the public and safety aboard the spacecraft as will be assigned to you by the private space company.

However, there are a few requirements that one needs to meet in order to get those commercial space astronaut wings:

  1. Meet the requirements for flight crew qualifications and training.

  2. Demonstrate flight beyond 50 statute miles above the surface of the Earth (Karman line).

  3. Demonstrate activities during flight that were essential to public safety, or contributed to human space flight safety.

Are you now wondering if there is an easier way to become an astronaut, get the official status as an astronaut, and secure astronaut wings?

Unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’.  Becoming an astronaut is pretty tough.  However, just because you might not want to become an astronaut does not mean that you cannot go into space!  You can become a space tourist and become a regular visitor, just like one visiting a favorite vacation spot.

There are many opportunities to visit space and experience life changing views of our beautiful planet from above.  Reach out to us and we will help you select the journey of your life!

Sergei Panov
Founder “Space Agency”