Humankind’s landing on the moon in 1969 was given worldwide publicity.
And when Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin came back to earth, they were given a hero’s welcome, and they already have had established a celebrity status across the globe.
All this created a great mystic and attraction towards the career path of being an Astronaut.
In today’s world, being an Astronaut is one of the most desired dreams amongst the youth.
Hence one might wonder how to become an astronaut? And is it worth being an astronaut?
So being an Astronaut is worth it?
Yes, it is worth being an Astronaut for those who are interested in maths and science, enjoy exhilarating space rides, are excellent problem solvers, and thrive on making scientific breakthroughs.
To become an Astronaut one has to study for years and years with good grades, possess extraordinary ability to solve problems, work with the team, have an impeccable physical condition, 20/20 vision, luck, and the list goes on.
But opportunities to be an astronaut are few and far between, with the highest level of competition possible.
For example, in the 2017 recruitment held by NASA, there were 18,300 equally capable/qualified applicants, and NASA chose only 12 of them.
However, over the next few years, with the privatization of space travel and new government space missions, and also with time as space tourism becomes common, opportunities are set to be greater in number.
So If your mind and heart are set to be an astronaut, and you have the capacity, determination, and persistence to do so, then, by all means, go for it.
So now we have answered the main question let’s further discuss popular questions about becoming an Astronaut
Being an Astronaut is the hardest job in the world?
Yes, being an Astronaut is the hardest job, with Astronauts having to undertake years of intense physical and mental training.
Being an astronaut does not only mean that you need to have the required qualification and experience.
In addition, you must have a lot of other skills on personal, social, and intellectual levels.
On a personal level, one must be level-headed and have a calm personality that could help deal with high-risk situations.
Not to mention the physical toughness one must possess to endure all the biological and physical challenges that come with extraordinary circumstances being in space.
The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at NASA put astronauts through the most unsettling phases of their physical training.
Socially, one must adapt to the extraordinary and unusual situations that astronauts have to deal with.
Isolation from the world and working in confined spaces for a more extended period can negatively impact the human mind.
According to the Director of NASA’s human research program Dr Bill Paloski, the sense of being alone in a confined space gets worse and worse as time passes, which increases the potential of more significant problems.
On International Space Station (ISS), NASA recommends astronauts exercise for several hours daily.
Of course of the benefits of exercise is physical wellbeing, but it is equally as essential to fight depression and other mental issues that astronauts might be facing.
Being in space at ISS, astronauts are working in very close quarters to their fellow astronauts, and there is close to no room for mistakes and mishaps.
Hence one must be a team player and possess good communication skills as well.
Intellectually, one must be clever and knowledgeable enough to deal with any unusual and demanding situation with the limited resources at their disposal.
Astronauts are not only required to be highly skilled in their area of expertise but they are also required to be skilled in other facets of life.
Astronauts are also required to learn the Russian language and English since both are the internal space station languages.
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What qualifications do you need to be an Astronaut?
The qualifications needed to be even eligible for a NASA astronaut application, an applicant must possess at least a master’s degree in Biological, Physical, and Computer Sciences or a master’s in Engineering or Mathematics.
Secondly, applicants must have experience of 1000 hours of piloting, or at least two years of professional experience in a related field is required.
Thirdly, the applicant must pass a physical training test known as “The long-duration Astronaut physical.”
In addition to these three minimum requirements, an applicant must possess US citizenship. Dual nationalities are also acceptable as long as one of those is US nationality.
There are no age requirements for astronaut applicants.
However, the general range of age is 26-46 years old.
Astronauts are also required to learn the Russian language in addition to English.
As physical requirements go, astronauts have to fit in extravehicular mobility units (space suits). 20/20 vision is a must-have.
However, using glasses or surgery to achieve that is allowed. Astronauts are also required to have excellent communication skills and leadership qualities.
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How long does it take to be an Astronaut?
Let’s say you have a dream that one day you will become an astronaut.
So if you work towards it, how long will it take to fulfil that dream?
Well, you need to have a Master’s degree or further higher education (at least six years of schooling), minimum of two years of professional experience.
And once selected, astronauts, have to complete two years of basic training which is mandatory.
All this adds up to (10) ten years at the very least to become an Astronaut.
On top of that, once you are done with the basic training, you might have to wait for months or even years before getting a chance to go on your first space mission.
Furthermore, before going on a space mission, you must also complete advanced mission training, which will further add to the time.
Being an astronaut is a dream shared by many, but only a few have the character, intelligence, stamina, and persistence to follow that dream.
And even fewer achieve that dream as the competition is tough and of the highest level, and opportunities are few and far between.
However, it is an achievable goal with a satisfying and fulfilling feeling to it.
A person aspiring to be an astronaut must have the required skills for the job and then some.
It is one of the most demanding jobs globally, having an extreme level of difficulty and skill.
And it takes years and years of struggle, hard work, and dedication to reach this point.
However, the rewards of the job are equally fulfilling too.