Job Of The Day: Astronaut (No, Seriously)

Those of you planning to apply for the position probably already know this, but for the rest of us: NASA is looking for some new astronauts, and applications open Monday, December 14.

Unlike other jobs, you do not need to have previous experience in astronauting to become an astronaut. You do, however, need to meet the following qualifications:

The requirements for Astronaut Candidates are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. Quality of academic preparation is important. Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience. Teaching experience, including experience at the K — 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position; therefore, educators are encouraged to apply.

Additional requirements include the ability to pass the NASA long-duration space flight physical, which includes the following specific requirements: Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye, blood pressure not to exceed 140/90 measured in a sitting position, and the candidate must have a standing height between 62 and 75 inches.

Wow. I am just barely tall enough to become an astronaut. Of course, I don’t have the 1,000 hours of jet aircraft experience, so that’s a non-issue.

Since it’s a government job, the salaries are fairly stratified; here’s what NASA says you can expect to earn:

Salaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are based on the Federal Government’s General Schedule pay scale for grades GS-12 through GS-13. Each person’s grade is determined according to his/her academic achievements and experience. Currently, a GS-12 starts at $65,140 per year and a GS-13 can earn up to $100,701 per year.

Are any Billfolders applying to become astronauts? It wouldn’t surprise me at all — y’all are some of the smartest people I know, and I bet at least one of you knows how to fly a jet aircraft.

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