NASA has announced the start of the latest astronaut selection process, culminating next year in NASA’s choice of a new class of astronauts. NASA’s Kennedy Center Director, Bob Cabana, is a former astronaut and shuttle commander.
He relays a personal note on candidate qualifications:
From: Bob Cabana
Subject: Astronaut Selection Process
Even as we prepare KSC to support human exploration beyond our home planet, NASA is still in the human space flight business, with a permanent crew on the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2020. That means NASA is going to continue to require astronauts to support ISS operations and provide crew support for development of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and the Space Launch System (SLS) Programs. As you may have heard, NASA will begin accepting applications in early November for another astronaut class to provide that support. We’ve had a number of folks from KSC selected in the past, and I would encourage you to apply if you’re at all interested.
Here are some of the basic qualifications:
- U.S. citizenship
- Education: Undergraduate degree in engineering, physical or biological science, or math (may be computer science)
- Non-Pilot – 3 years of professional experience (this means after your qualifying degree, and it must be technical—graduate degrees may be substituted for experience)
- Pilot – 1,000 hours of flying time in jet aircraft
- Ability to pass NASA flight physical; some specifics:
- Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20
- Blood pressure not to exceed 140/90 in a sitting position
- Standing height between 62 and 75 inches (have to meet anthropometric requirements of a Soyuz capsule)
Competition is within the following discipline groups:
- Physical Sciences
- Biological Sciences
- Flight Test Engineering
- No further breakdown
Here’s a link to more information on the selection process: http://astronauts.nasa.gov/content/timeline.htm
I can tell you this is the best job I have ever had. And the chance to work with the other astronauts is reward enough, even if one were never to fly in space!