Whether you believe it or not but becoming an astronaut is a thing which has only started a few decades ago. The first moon landing was in 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon – And that’s when kids in the USA and all over the world had a new dream of becoming astronauts. Though you will have to go to University you can begin your educational path by taking Online A Levels.
Its been more than 50 years now since the 1969’s moon landing but the interest of kids in space exploration and becoming an astronaut is still on the rise. Despite being a career path that is the dream of every other kid, it is not that easy to become an astronaut, though!
One of the leading government agencies is NASA (USA) which is famous for the first moon landing and is a potential place of employment for the astronauts. And if we talk about NASA in particular, only 48 astronauts are working for NASA right now, which makes this career very competitive!
So to answer your question, yes, it is indeed difficult to become an astronaut! Besides a limited number of openings, a candidate also needs to have really exceptional educational background (more than basic maths and English) as well as good physical health.
How to Become an Astronaut
When someone asks how I become a doctor, the answer is to get the relevant qualifications and degrees! But when we talk about becoming an astronaut, there are no specific majors for this particular career choice. In fact, the people who manage to join NASA aren’t those who dedicate their entire lives to becoming astronauts.
Instead, people who meet the qualification requirements for NASA are the ones who get selected. But being an expert in science and mathematics is a basic requirement that can’t be skipped. The actual list of Astronaut Requirements by NASA is quite extensive and can be viewed here.
Here’s a basic list of the requirements for becoming an astronaut:
- Master’s Degree– At least a master’s degree is required, along with 2+ years of relevant experience. Another requirement is to complete a minimum of 1000 hours as a pilot on a jet aircraft which is also difficult!
- Good Health– You also need a good physique and health to even apply. Some of the requirements include 20/20 vision, blood pressure below 140/90, and a specific height (not less than 5 feet inches and not more than 6 feet 3 inches).
According to Anne McClain (an astronaut), your resume should be free of errors and concise. That’s pretty normal advice but goes to show that NASA pays close attention to even the smallest of details!
As you can see, the requirements are pretty tough, and I don’t think it is just limited to NASA (USA). Other space programs around the world will likely have similar requirements, which makes it very difficult for someone to become an astronaut.
Is It Really That Difficult To Become An Astronaut – Verdict
To give you some perspective, around 6000 people applied at NSA in 2013 to become astronauts. Out of that 6,000 candidates, only 8 were selected. In the year 2017, 18300 people applied, and 12 were accepted.
If we do the maths, it becomes clear that less than 1% of people are actually accepted at NASA! So yes, it is indeed difficult to become an astronaut. But if it is a dream of yours to become an astronaut, then continue to work on your skills and qualifications – Who knows, maybe one day you will also become an astronaut!