The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has published a new job posting looking for astronauts for the first time since 2015.
The call for astronauts comes at a time when the agency is preparing to send the first woman, and next man to the Moon with the Artemis program.
Exploring the Moon during this decade will help prepare humanity for its next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars, the space agency said.
“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon.
“We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the Moon, and then Mars,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”
The basic requirements to apply include United States citizenship and a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics, from an accredited institution.
The job posting states that successful applicants can expect to earn $104,898 – $161,141 (R1.6 million – R2.4 million) annually and that travel is required.
Major duties of the astronaut position include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting operations in space, including on the International Space Station (ISS) and in the development and testing of future spacecraft.
- Performing extravehicular activities (EVA) and robotics operations using the remote manipulator system.
- Conducting research experiments and operating as a safe member of an aircraft crew (including flight planning and communications) and spacecraft maintenance activities.
- Participating in mission simulations to help themselves and flight controllers in the Mission Control Center operate in the dynamic environment of space.
- Serving as the public face of NASA, providing appearances across the country and internationally, and sharing NASA’s discoveries and goals.
What it takes to make it
In addition to the above requirements, candidates must also have at least two years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.
Astronaut candidates must also pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical.
NASA expects to select final astronaut candidates in mid-2021 to begin training as the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts.
When the agency last sought astronaut candidates, in late 2015, a record-breaking 18,300 people applied. After more than two years of intensive training, 11 new astronauts selected from that pool graduated earlier this year in the first public graduation ceremony the agency has hosted.
“Becoming an astronaut is no easy task, because being an astronaut is no easy task,” said Steve Koerner, NASA’s director of flight operations and chair of the Astronaut Selection Board at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“Those who apply will likely be competing against thousands who have dreamed of and worked toward going to space for as long as they can remember. But somewhere among those applicants are our next astronauts, and we look forward to meeting you.”
Since the 1960s, NASA has selected 350 people to train as astronaut candidates for its increasingly challenging missions to explore space.
With 48 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, more will be needed to serve as crew aboard spacecraft bound for multiple destinations and propel exploration forward as part of Artemis missions and beyond.