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November 16, 2011

Help Wanted: Space Travelers

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Soyuz rocket launch

NASA has posted a new job listing for the position of Astronaut Candidate.

Soyuz rocket launch

Pay isn’t spectacular…you start at just under a measly $65,000 a year. On the bright side, YOU GET TO GO TO SPACE.

A few bits I found interesting in the listing:

1. There’s no mention of new NASA spacecraft, only that the candidates will be flying to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz Vehicle. Of course, that’s because plans for a new manned U.S. ship are still years into the future.

2. Professional experience is valued more highly than advanced degrees. Specifically, “at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.” Masters and Doctorate recipients are encouraged to apply, but rather than experience being an alternative to education, the degrees are the alternative to experience: A Masters will be counted as one year, a Doctorate will count as four years.

3. Elementary and high school teachers are encouraged to apply. It seems that K-12 teaching experience is viewed as highly as pilot-in-command experience.

4. The process from applying to going to space will take several years. The application period closes January 27, 2012, but selections won’t be announced until spring of 2013. After that, it’s off to Johnson Space Center in Houston in summer of 2013 for the 9-15 lucky candidates, and then two or three years of training in the US, Russia and elsewhere before the possibility of riding atop a rocket. Oh, and you have to learn to speak Russian.

Good luck!



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