In the photo - participants of the first cosmonaut team of NASA “Mercury 7” 1959
The last time NASA recruited new astronauts 4 years ago, but on Wednesday the US space agency announced that a new set would soon open.
The new two-month application period begins on December 14th.
At the time of the last selection, the agency hired only 8 astronaut candidates. The candidates who did not pass the selection turned out to be in a good company: more than 6,400 people declared their desire to become astronauts.
Now NASA has 47 astronauts ready for space missions - less than a third of the staff in 1999 at the height of the shuttle program.
Usually, teams of 6 or 7 people were sent to space on space shuttles with a mission frequency every two or three months. Today, only 2 to 4 astronauts annually replenish the ISS staff.
Their number will grow. In 2018, NASA is going to hire an additional employee for the ISS onboard team. The agency’s astronauts will take part in test flights of the commercial “space taxi”, which is currently being developed by SpaceX and Boeing.
In the 2020s, NASA astronauts will begin flying in the Orion space capsule.
“Now is the exciting moment when you can become a member of the American space program,” said Brian Kelly, director of flight operations at the NASA Houston Johnson Space Center, in a press release. “We call on all qualified applicants to learn about the prospects for the work of NASA astronauts and to apply for participation,” said Kelly.
Since the selection of the first astronaut squad called Mercury Seven (“Mercury Seven”) composed of Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glen, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirr, Alan Shepard and Dick Slayton in 1959, only about 300 people were invited to participate in the elite building of NASA astronauts.
In addition to pilots, engineers, and scientists, NASA employs doctors and teachers.
The candidate must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution in engineering, biology, physics, or mathematics. A degree above the bachelor’s degree is preferred by NASA.
The candidate must also have at least three years of relevant professional experience, or at least 1000 hours in the seat of the main pilot of a jet plane. Candidates for astronauts must pass NASA physical tests for long-term space missions.
Astronaut salaries range between 66,000 and 158,000 thousand dollars a year.