Requirements that NASA demands to be an astronaut?
Requirements that NASA demands to be an astronaut? Elon Musk, owner of Space X and Tesla; and Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Blue Origin space company, are fully involved in a particular race: being the first to travel to space.
The billionaires’ obsession with conquering space by launching satellites into low orbit to create a constellation to provide satellite internet around the world; has taken a leap, and now both want to be the ones who travel to outer space.
But of course, knowing what we know about each of them, one stops to think about whether they will be prepared for the task.
Because, did you know that a total of 569 people from 41 different countries have gone to space? It seems like a lot, given the figure, but that half a thousand represents the almost eight billion people on our planet; and that, refers to the fact that they have left planet Earth with ‘going to space’, without getting into the type of mission. They are few, very few; some chosen for one of the most sought-after jobs in the world: exploring outer space.
But how do you become an astronaut?
Can anyone aspire to fulfil the dream of so many? To become an astronaut for NASA (or any other space agency), a series of qualities are usually required from the candidates, who undergo a very strict selection process and which explains why only a few achieve the final goal, which in each process results in 8-10 chosen.
For starters, if you want to be considered for joining NASA’s astronaut program, you have to be a US citizen, or at least have dual citizenship. After fulfilling that first requirement, the North American space agency asks for another three that the candidate must have at least:
first, have a mandatory university degree and master’s degree in engineering, biology (and derivatives), science, computer science, or mathematics.
Second, they must have more than 1000 hours of experience as pilots, or have three years of experience related to piloting, including as a teacher; also experience in operations and situations that require high stress, such as rescues in remote areas.
To finish, applicants must successfully pass the NASA physical exam, in which they will have to demonstrate qualities such as perfect vision.
Surprisingly, recruiters pay close attention to what candidates include as ‘hobbies’. The more creative and original, the more likely they are to move on to the next phase. The reason? Find people who not only know how to act under pressure but who also know how to make the most of time in very long missions.
Another surprising detail is also surprising: there are no age limitations. Obviously, the applicants should be of legal age to be able to make decisions freely, but it is not specified in the regulations. The ages of the applicants range from 26 to 46 years, inclusive, which shows that age does not matter too much. What’s more, if we think about how astronaut John Glenn, the first to orbit the Earth, returned to space at the age of 77, it shows that anything is possible.
Of course, as long as you meet the requirements on a physical level. NASA asks that the candidates be able to wear the space suit (one size fits all and designed for men, let us remember the controversy with the suits for the first female expedition, which had to be cancelled due to the lack of adequate clothing), and be able to move freely inside possible in the different space capsules since depending on the missions, a type of astronaut is sought (an example is the Russian Soyuz space capsule, which requires a very strict height and weight, being very narrow and compact ).
To be selected by NASA there is no age limit
In the case of the European Space Agency (ESA), its last selection process (the third since its foundation in 1975), completed on May 28, drew attention to a particular requirement: it was looking especially for women.
In the history of the agency there have only been three female astronauts, and only one of them, the Italian Samantha Cristoforetti, is still active. To be chosen, it was required to pass six phases, including medical examinations, and psychological evaluations.
‘Ideal’ candidates are usually between 27-37 years old, are citizens of the European Union or associated states, and have a master’s degree and at least three years of experience in science, medicine, engineering, mathematics, or computer science; they are able to speak English at an advanced level and intermediate level in other non-native languages.