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How to become an Astronaut

avg. starting salary

Looking for a job that’s out of this world (and other terrible space puns)? You should become an Astronaut… Astronauts pilot and operate spacecraft, as well as carrying out any related repairs, research and exploratory work in space.Although they spend most of their time training on earth, space missions will commonly last around 2-3 weeks, with long duration trips lasting up to 6 months.Specific duties for an Astronaut will depend on your specialism – with Pilot Astronauts taking charge of the vehicle, crew, and flight safety, and Mission Specialists taking responsibility for factors like crew activity planning, objectives, and equipment.Other duties for an Astronaut may include:
  • Controlling the spacecraft
  • Planning and carrying out missions and experiments
  • Taking photos and collecting samples
  • Repairing and maintaining spacecraft systems
  • Cleaning water and oxygen filters
  • Collecting and disposing of waste
  • Exercising regularly and assessing physical health
  • Communicating with earth to report findings

Firstly, excellent physical health and the correct academic credentials are vital if you want to be an Astronaut.In fact, most space agencies will require employees to pass several medical tests in order to qualify – whether it’s to check your eyesight, blood pressure, height, or weight. If you tick these boxes, you’ll be required to do years of extensive simulation training to ensure you’re ready for space travel.And, because of the unique demands that come with the job (e.g. isolation, constant weightlessness, spending extended periods of time with strangers), you’ll also need a high level of mental endurance and an ability to think fast and solve problems.Essential skills and attributes for an Astronaut may include:
  • An interest and knowledge of science, maths, and engineering
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Flying experience (for Pilot Astronauts/Mission Commanders)
  • Adaptability
  • A technical mind
  • Confidence and bravery

"After years of studying and training, I was lucky enough to become a qualified Astronaut – and it’s literally a childhood dream come true. My day-to-day involves a broad range of things – depending on whether I’m deployed for a mission or preparing on earth. Missions can take months to prepare for, and training is intense and ongoing. In space, the role is a combination of exploration, experiments and generally trying to get by in zero gravity. After all, even the simplest things can be complicated in space – even eating and having a shower. And, because the human body isn’t designed to be stuck in weightlessness for long periods of time, regular exercise is essential."

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