The Requirements To Be An Astronaut

Being an astronaut is like tightrope walking without a net. It’s risky, formidable, death-defying and intoxicating for those who have the right stuff. Candidacy for the job is fiercely competitive. In 2016, 18,300 hopefuls applied to its ranks and only 12 were accepted. NASA requires its candidates to submit to a battery of interviews, medical exams and physically demanding drills. If you dream of embarking on your own space odyssey, here are 4 requirements to be an astronaut:


Minimum requirements refers to the initial assessment of a candidate’s experience, education and health. These attributes include:

  • US citizenship.
  • 140/90 BP in sitting position.
  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. Post-graduate study or three years of related experience are required.
  • At least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command hours on jet aircraft.

According to Dr. John B. Charles of NASA’s Human Research Program, “These are minimum requirements to get your foot in the door. That gets rid of the pretenders and posers.”


The applicant must satisfactorily answer two intense rounds of interviews. The questions are mostly behavioral with a few focused on work experiences and former projects. Some of the questions may include:

  • What sort of leadership role would you take?
  • How would you deal with a conflictive team member?
  • What is integrity?


This is also, rightfully, called astronaut boot camp. You must be prepared to:

  • Become SCUBA certified.
  • Spend myriad hours underwater, in a space suit, preparing for tasks you may be doing in space, such as repairs.
  • Swim three lengths of a 25M pool without stopping, swim the same distance in a flight suit and tennis shoes, and then tread water in the same garb for 10 minutes.
  • Endure repeated exposure to microgravity and brief periods of weightlessness (up to a herculean 40 times in a day), as well as shifting high (hyperbaric) and low (hypobaric) atmospheric pressure.

Your training will intensify to include:

  • Spacewalking training.
  • Robotics training.
  • Aircraft flight readiness training.

Being an astronaut is a superhuman challenge. But if you want to shoot for the stars, it sure beats a cubicle.

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