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Is your windowless office cubicle looking a bit dreary? Dreaming of the moon and Mars? Looking for a career change that affords a magnificent view, includes free round-trip transportation, and a snazzy uniform that'll be the envy of your friends and family?
Then look no further than the adventurous work environment of an official astronaut of the National Aeronautics And Space Administration as the venerable institution is opening its doors to new astronaut recruits during the month of March. This week NASA announced that it would be searching for fresh candidates that have the right stuff to join their astronaut training program as potential members of their high flying corp.
According to the release, the storied space agency will be accepting applications for a next-generation squad of astronauts during the period starting on Mar. 2 and running through Mar. 31. This newest generation of rocket men and women will officially be the 23rd selection group given the opportunity to break the bonds of Earth since the organization was founded back in July of 1958, launching with the original Mercury 7 that next year.
Since then, NASA has chosen 350 fortunate people to train as candidates, with 48 astronauts currently active in the ongoing mission programs.
Those with the proper attitude, stamina, and smarts will become a vital component of NASA's Artemis program which hopes to transport humankind beyond Earth orbit, expanding their impressive legacy of brave astronauts living and working in space these last 20 years.
"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," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "For the handful of highly talented women and men we will hire to join our diverse astronaut corps, it's an incredible time in human spaceflight."
But before you zip up your spacesuit, to qualify for the program astronaut candidates must be holding a master’s degree from an accredited institution in the STEM areas of engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. However, the master's degree requirement can also be fulfilled by: Two years (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) of work toward a Ph.D. program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field; A completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree; Completion (or current enrollment resulting in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.
Eligible applicants must also have a minimum of two years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft, as well as pass NASA's strenuous long-duration spaceflight physical. New for this class will also be a thorough online assessment to further screen the thousands of prospective participants.
While no exact number of selectees has been offered at this point, NASA expects to announce their latest astronaut class in mid-2021, when those qualified persons will start the minimum two years of basic training prior to being certified for powered flights on Boeing's Starliner and SpaceX's Dragon, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, or NASA's Orion spacecraft linked to the agency's new Space Launch System (SLS).
If you've checked the proper boxes and still have stars in your eyes, check out NASA's official recruitment site for full application info HERE.
Good luck and Godspeed!