What does it take to become an astronaut? Do you have what it takes to be one?

Many dream of being an astronaut. Children are even inspired by the thought of seeing stars in the galaxy when one becomes an astronaut. A lot of things can be thought of when talking about astronauts. Terms like the galaxy, stars, planets and the like come out and it’s just amazing imagining seeing these things. But in order for you to see these things and experience it, you have to be an astronaut, and you have to learn a lot too.

Now, maybe you’re wondering how. What may one person need to be an astronaut and travel the galaxy?

As a definition, the term astronaut is derived from the Greek term which means “space sailor” and it refers to all who have been launched as crew members aboard NASA spacecraft bound for orbit and beyond.

Astronauts or cosmonauts make up the crew of each launched spacecraft. There are different assignments and duties assigned to each astronaut, these are commander, pilot, mission specialist, or payload specialist which are drawn from the NASA professional career astronauts.

To become an astronaut, first you have to know what “NASA” is. NASA is National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is in charge of the United States science and technology that has to do with airplanes or space. It started in 1958 as a part of the United States government.

There are requirements to becoming a NASA astronaut according to assignment (according to nasa.gov):

  1. Basic requirements for an Astronaut Pilot
    • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or          mathematics. An advanced degree is also desirable. Quality of academic preparation is very important.
    • At least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is also highly desirable.
    • Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the          following specific standards:
      • Distant visual acuity should be 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye.
      • Blood pressure should be 140/90 measured in a sitting position.
      • Height should be between 62 and 75 inches.
  1. Basic requirements for a Mission Specialist:
    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics is required. Degree must be followed by at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for part or all of the experience requirement (master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience). Quality of academic preparation is important.
    • Ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
      • Distance visual acuity should be 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye.
      • Blood pressure should be 140/90 measured in a sitting position.

Although the road to becoming an astronaut is quite tough and requires a lot of qualifications, it would be a great achievement becoming qualified. The journey to becoming an astronaut is difficult but it is really worth the hard work in the end.

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