Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

Your Ticket to Space: NASA Opens Up Applications for New Astronaut Class

Do you have the right stuff?

By Cassidy Ward

In SYFY’s The Ark, the masterminds behind the Ark Program carefully selected crew members to maximize the mission’s likelihood of success. While our real-world space program isn’t quite as high-stakes (in The Ark, the survival of humanity hangs in the balance), NASA does the same thing when selecting people for the astronaut program.

How to Watch

Catch up on The Ark on Peacock or the SYFY app.

On March 5, 2024, NASA announced the graduation of its newest class of astronauts during a ceremony at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. “Congratulations to the newest class of NASA astronauts! We are excited to have a new and diverse set of explorers ready to expand humanity’s reach. Astronauts are pioneers who will help us embark on this new era of exploration, and we need more adventurers ready to join the ranks to explore the cosmos, including future missions to the Moon, on to Mars, and beyond,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, in a statement.

For More on Astronauts:
NASA Seeking Applicants for Next CHAPEA Simulated Mars Mission
Astronaut Frank Rubio Sets Record for Longest Space Mission by U.S. Astronaut
How Do You Poop in Space? A NASA Astronaut Breaks it Down

Apply to Join NASA’s New Astronaut Class

NASA's newest class of astronauts wear blue jumpsuits.

A total of 10 new astronauts have joined the ranks and are now eligible for assignments in space, including the upcoming crewed missions to the Moon. The graduation of the latest group means that the astronaut classroom is currently vacant. To that end, NASA has opened up applications for the next astronaut class.

The climb to space is certain to be long and steep, for those chosen few with the right stuff. These latest 10 astronauts were selected as candidates back in 2021 from a pool of more than 12,000 applicants. The first phase of the application process is automated and based on the answers and information you provide. In order to be considered, applicants must meet the following qualifications.

You must be a United States citizen. You must have one more of the following: a master’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field, two years of work toward a doctoral program in a STEM field, a medical degree, or completion of a test pilot program. You must have three years of related professional experience after completion of your degree or 1,000 Pilot-in-Command hours, 850 of which must have been in a high-performance jet aircraft.

If selected as an astronaut candidate, applicants must successfully complete the long-duration astronaut physical, drug test, background check, fitness training, and more. Candidates are then placed on a limited 30-month appointment to complete basic astronaut training including learning how to spacewalk and how to work with space-based robots and other astronauts during simulated missions.

What Do Astronauts Do and How Much Do They Get Paid?

astronaut on the moon

If you’re fortunate enough to get the gig, the salary on offer is $152,258 per year. That salary may be adjusted by the time of selection, graduation, or assignment. There are also pay increases based on completion of specific trainings and mission specific milestones. Not to mention, the job has a hell of a view from the office window. This job is full time. And just FYI, this job requires travel.

Duties include but are not limited to: conducting space operations aboard the International Space Station, developing and testing future spacecraft, EVAs (spacewalks, babeee!) including those on planetary surfaces, using robotic systems, conducting scientific research, ground support in mission control, and serving as a public face of NASA.

The hours are long, the odds are longer, but somebody has to slip the surly bonds of Earth and dance the sky. It might as well be you.

The Ark returns for Season 2 later this year, on SYFY!

Read more about: