5 Myths About Becoming an Astronaut
Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a NASA Astronaut? The term “astronaut” derives from the Greek word meaning “space sailor,” and refers to all who have been launched as crew members aboard NASA spacecraft bound for orbit and beyond.
We’re looking for a new class of astronauts to join the NASA team, and here are a few things to know.
Here are a few myths about becoming an astronaut:
MYTH: All astronauts have piloting experience.
FACT: You don’t need to be a pilot to be an astronaut. Flying experience is not a requirement, but could be beneficial to have.
MYTH: All astronauts have perfect vision.
FACT: It’s okay if you don’t have 20/20 vision. As of September 2007, corrective surgical procedures of the eye (PRK and LASIK), are now allowed, providing at least 1 year has passed since the date of the procedure with no permanent adverse after effects.
MYTH: All astronauts have advanced degrees like, a PhD.
FACT: While a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is necessary, an advanced degree is not required to become an astronaut.
MYTH: Astronauts are required to have military experience in order to be selected.
FACT: Military experience is not required to become an astronaut.
MYTH: You have to be a certain age in order to be an astronaut.
FACT: There are no age restrictions. Astronaut candidates selected in the past have ranged between the ages of 26 and 46, with the average age being 34.
Okay, but What are the requirements?
Basic Qualification Requirements
Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics.
- 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.
- Ability to pass the NASA Astronaut physical, which includes the following specific requirements:
- Distant and near visual acuity: Must be correctable to 20/20, each eye
- The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK and LASIK, are allowed, providing at least 1 year has passed since the date of the procedure with no permanent adverse after effects. For those applicants under final consideration, an operative report on the surgical procedure will be requested.
Applications for our next astronaut class open on Dec. 14! Visit: http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/
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