Know how to become an astronaut as NASA is hiring now

NASA is accepting applications to become astronauts in 2024. Selected astronaut candidates will spend approximately two years training on the basic skills required to be astronauts, from spacewalking and robotics to leadership and teamwork skills.

Upon completing training, they will join the active astronaut corps and become eligible for spaceflight assignment.

NASA astronaut candidates 2021
NASA astronaut candidates 2021. During that time, more than 12,000 people applied, out of whom 10 were chosen as astronaut candidates in 2021. They are now flight-eligible NASA astronauts. (Image credit: NASA/James Blair)

Requirements

Astronaut requirements have changed with NASA’s goals and missions. Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen
  2. Have a master’s degree* in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, from an accredited institution.
  3. Have a minimum of three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion (or 1,000 Pilot-in-Command hours with at least 850 of those hours in high performance jet aircraft for pilots) For medical doctors, time in residency can count towards experience and must be completed by June 2025.
  4. Be able to successfully complete the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical.

*The master’s degree requirement can also be met by:

  • Two years of work towards a doctoral program in a related science, technology, engineering, or math field.
  • Completed Doctor of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or related medical degree
  • Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2025) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.

Astronaut candidates must also have skills in leadership, teamwork and communications.

Artemis Generation astronauts will explore and conduct experiments where humans have never been: the lunar South Pole.

NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board reviews the applications and assesses each candidate’s qualifications. The board then invites a small group of the most highly qualified candidates for interviews at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Of those interviewed, about half are invited back for second interviews. From that group, NASA’s new astronaut candidates are selected. They report for training at Johnson and spend the next two years learning basic astronaut skills like spacewalking, operating the space station, flying T-38 jet planes and controlling a robotic arm.

With NASA’s plans for the future of exploration, new astronauts will fly farther into space than ever before on lunar missions and may be the first humans to fly on to Mars.

Astronaut Selection Timeline

The steps in the process are outlined below. However, the schedule is subject to change, as the timeline may be extended or accelerated based on the number of applicants.

  • March 5, 2024 – Application window opens
  • April 2, 2024 – Application window closes
  • April–May 2024 – Qualifications Review
  • June–July 2024 – Qualified Applications reviewed to determine Highly Qualified applicants
  • August–September 2024 – Highly Qualified applications reviewed to determine Interviewees
  • October–December 2024 – Initial Interviewees brought to Johnson Space Center for initial interview and activities. Interviewees will be selected from the Highly Qualified group
  • January 2025 – Finalists determined
  • January–April 2025 – Final Interviewees brought to Johnson Space Center for additional interview and final activities
  • June 2025 – Astronaut Candidate Class of 2025 announced
  • August 2025 – Astronaut Candidate Class of 2025 reports to the Johnson Space Center

Important links

Apply here to become a NASA astronaut.

Click here to see the frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Click here to see the recent astronaut candidates (class of 2021).

NOTE: The original article was published by NASA. Space & Telescope edits it. 

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About the Author

Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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