MELBOURNE, Fla. – Folks with stellar ambitions will have a place to channel their energies in March when NASA opens the application process for its storied astronaut corps.
From March 2 to 31, applicants interested in flying to the International Space Station – and possibly even to the moon as part of the Artemis program – will be able to kick off the process, the space agency said.
“We’re celebrating our 20th year of continuous presence aboard the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit this year, and we’re on the verge of sending the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
NASA said it hopes to send the first humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.
The corps includes 48 astronauts. Since the 1960s, 350 have been selected to train as astronaut candidates for programs ranging from Apollo to modern-day spacecraft such as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner.
For the first time, the application to become an astronaut will include a two-hour online assessment.
Requirements to apply include:
• U.S. citizenship.
• A master’s degree in a STEM field: engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. The master’s degree requirement can be met with two years of work toward a doctorate program in a STEM field; completed medical doctor degree or doctorate of osteopathic medicine; or completion of a test pilot school program.
• Two years of “related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft,” NASA said.
If selected, candidates must pass the agency’s long-duration physical. NASA hopes to make the final decisions by mid-2021.
“We’re asking all eligible Americans if they have what it to takes to apply,” Bridenstine said.