Looking for an out-of-this-world job with an office that provides the best views of the sky? NASA may have what you’re looking for! For the first time in more than four years, NASA has started accepting job applications for their next round of astronauts. With an ambitious plan to bring women and men to the surface of the Moon in the coming years, NASA is looking to fill their pool of astronaut talent for the upcoming Artemis missions.
“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon. We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the Moon, and then Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”
Those wishing to apply have until 11:59pm ET on Tuesday, March 31 to apply. NASA is looking for some of the brightest the country has to offer. In addition to being a U.S. citizen, applicants must have a Master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics from an accredited institution. Test pilots are also welcome; the completion of any nationally or internationally recognized test pilot school problem is acceptable with a Bachelor’s degree or higher in any STEM field. Candidates also must have at least two years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Astronaut candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical and complete an online assessment that will require up to two hours to complete.
“Becoming an astronaut is no easy task, because being an astronaut is no easy task,” said Steve Koerner, NASA’s director of flight operations and chair of the Astronaut Selection Board at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Those who apply will likely be competing against thousands who have dreamed of and worked toward going to space for as long as they can remember. But somewhere among those applicants are our next astronauts, and we look forward to meeting you.”
NASA last opened the application process in 2015. At that time, 18,300 people applied. Through an exhaustive process that included additional intensive training, only 11 astronauts eventually graduated earlier this year.
Astronauts are paid annual salaries determined by a government pay scale. Astronauts just starting out fall under GS-12 or GS-13 pay. GS-12 starts at $66,167 while GS-13 starts at $78,681. In comparison, airlines pay far greater for their pilots. As an example, United Airlines pays $73,743/year for a new first officer and up to $284,197 for a senior captain.