If you find the beauty of the stars that dot the night sky so attracting that you aren’t content to simply view them from Earth, becoming an astronaut will provide you with the opportunity to get closer to these wonders of nature. However, becoming an astronaut isn’t easy, and competition for what few positions there are is stiff. But, if you are committed to the dream and willing to put in the effort, you can meet the requirements for the position and at least bring yourself into the running.
Possess the proper physical stature. Before you allow your dreams to run too rampant, there is one thing you will need to become an astronaut over which you have no control -- the ideal height. To be considered, all candidates must be between 62 and 76 inches tall, states NASA. So if you measuring in below or above this range, it's time to select some other celestial job to satisfy your love of the night sky.
Study engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics in college. As NASA reports in its “Astronaut Selection and Training Manual,” to be taken into consideration, a candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree in one of these science-filled areas. And, when it comes to selecting your college, not just any old school will do. The selection team will take into consideration the rigor and prestige of the institution from which you matriculated.
Obtain experience. Before you can slide into that looks-so-heavy suit, you must have some experience; however, NASA provides a number of options as to what experience it will accept. The program will consider candidates who have three years of experience related to the approved major areas of study. It will also consider pilot-in-command hours, accepting applications from jet aircraft pilots who have clocked at least 1,000 hours in the pilot seat.
Maintain your physical health. Because the position of astronaut is a physically rigorous one, NASA demands that candidates be in reasonably good health, and will perform a health screening on any applicants under consideration. To not have your application tossed, you must have distance vision that is no worse than 20/100 and correctable to 20/20. Also, your blood pressure may not be over 140/90.
Dazzle during the application process. Astronaut selection is taken very seriously and, as a result, involves a complex process. If you have the desired education and enough experience, you may be invited to a selection screening. This screening is a week-long process, at which selection officials will interview you. You will also receive a medical screening and move through an orientation. At the end of this week-long extravaganza, you will be informed as to whether you have made the cut.
- Calling all teachers: NASA also puts weight on teaching experience during the astronaut selection process as, while on Earth, astronauts slip on the teacher hat quite often. If you have dedicated your life to the education of youngsters but still feel that you have all the right stuff, consider applying for inclusion in the training program.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.