HOW CAN I BECOME AN ASTRONAUT?
To become an astronaut, you need to do
well in math, physics, astronomy, and chemistry. Biology, medicine,
geology, and engineering would also be helpful.
The "minimum degree requirement" for an astronaut is
a bachelor's from an accredited university. Three years of related
increasingly responsible professional experience must follow
Most astronauts are overachievers. Some astronauts, like Mae
Jemison, have graduate degrees in both engineering and medicine,
You should develop hobbies such as ham radio, model rocketry,
Stay in top physical shape. Astronaut Sally Ride was a top-ranked
junior tennis player. Other astronauts have earned black belts
You should also develop a talent in a non-technical area, to
be well-rounded. Ron McNair was an accomplished saxophonist,
Fluency in a foreign language would help, particularly Russian.
American astronauts Norm Thagard and Shannon Lucid each spent
several months aboard the Russian Mir space station, working
with Russian cosmonauts.
Some astronauts are pilots, while others
are either mission specialists or payload specialists. Most,
if not all, shuttle pilots have military experience. Many of
the pilots have graduated from a military academy.
Mission specialists do not need aviation experience; but many,
like Roberta Bondar, are pilots, anyway. Typical mission activities
are growing crystals, performing biological tests, and taking
pictures of stars. A mission specialists may perform several
experiments in each of these areas during a flight. Thus he or
she needs a diverse science background.
Payload specialist retrieve and deploy satellites. They may also
perform experiments with the mission specialists.
You may receive an application package
by writing directly to NASA:
Astronaut Selection Office
Mail Code AHX
Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058-3696