How to Become an Astronaut: Step-By-Step Guide

The journey to becoming an Astronaut is pretty challenging. I would say initially start training your mental ability before you decide on choosing to become an astronaut. 

Let’s discover the “How to Become an Astronaut” secrets. It’s a fascinating manual that will open up a galaxy of possibilities for you. 🚀

The pay grades for potential civilian astronauts are determined by federal pay scales and vary according to experience and academic standing. NASA states that the annual pay for civilian astronauts varies from $104,898 to $161,141.

Questions you should ask yourself before starting your career as an Astronaut

Here are a few questions I have mentioned below that can help you decide whether becoming an astronaut is the right career choice for you!

  1. Do you have the genuine curiosity to learn about space exploration? 
  2. Do you have any relevant degree in the field of science, technology, mathematics, or engineering? Are you willing to adopt the educational programs associated with becoming an astronaut?
  3. The field requires extreme dedication, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and excellent physical condition. Do you think you have these capabilities, or are you willing to train instead?
  4. Do you have a love for space exploration? Are you looking forward to contributing to the space exploration field in the next few years? 
  5. Are you willing to sacrifice your short-term happiness to achieve your long-term goal of becoming an astronaut?

If you have honestly answered all the above questions and the majority of your answers were ‘Yes,.’ I will guide you through a detailed process that will equip you with the skills required to become an astronaut with fewer challenges. 

Who is an astronaut?

An astronaut is a person who has received specialized training to travel into space. Astronaut is a combination of the Greek words for “star” and “sailor.” An astronaut is a person who flies to space and is from one of the following countries: the United States, Canada, Japan, or Europe.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there would be an increase in employment by 5% by the year 2032. 

“Cosmonauts” are people from the Soviet Union and Russia who have received the necessary training to travel to space. Those from China are often referred to as “taikonauts.” In actuality, they all carry out tasks that are quite similar, depending on the government programs they are expected to adhere to. 

This might involve studying rock samples, carrying out space experiments, and keeping up with the space station’s equipment.

Scope of Astronauts in the Future

As per my research, I have found that there are currently 39 active astronauts in the NASA Astronaut Corps. The demographics show that there are 41% female and 59% male astronauts, i.e., 16 women and 23 men. 

With new technology and the rising curiosity of space exploration, the Global Space Exploration market is projected to reach $1879 billion by the year 2032. That is a drastic growth compared to the year 2022, when the Global Space Exploration market was valued at $486 billion. 

North America is known as a dominator in the market, having more than 38.7% of the market share. In the future, people who have an interest in space exploration will have opportunities to visit the space with new inventions and technologies in the space research center. 

Thus increasing the scope of astronauts in the future as there is a lot to discover in the world of space. 

Here are a few companies that are the key players in the space exploration field. A potential way for you to look out for further opportunities. 

  • NASA
  • Rocket Lab Ltd
  • SpaceX
  • Blue Origin
  • Espace
  • MEXAR Technologies Inc.
  • Airbus Defense & Space
  • Masten Space Systems
  • IHI Aerospace Co Ltd

Expert Skills Required

I am mentioning a few skills that you should consider if you are firm on becoming an astronaut. 

  • Proficiency in engineering and technical disciplines
  • Ability to meet the physical demands of space travel
  • Understanding of space missions and adaptability to changing conditions
  • Ability to handle emergency scenarios and extreme challenges 
  • Familiarity with foreign languages 
  • Skill to navigate the spacecraft and perform tasks in microgravity
  • Proficiency in operating and handling computer systems
  • Effective time management skills to complete missions during tight schedules

I recommend you to watch the 3 Steps You Need To Know To Become An Astronaut on YouTube for free to get a practical understanding of what it takes to become an astronaut. 

Responsibilities of an Astronaut

In addition to their primary duty of space exploration, astronauts also take part in space missions, carry out experiments, and conduct research.

They are responsible for pre-flight planning, mission execution, and mission analysis.

An astronaut’s duties go beyond their fascinating missions, including exploring the unknown and spreading scientific understanding. ⤵️

Scientific Research

  • While in space, astronauts take part in experiments and research projects. 
  • They gather information, carry out experiments in microgravity, and make contributions to a variety of scientific fields like biology, physics, astronomy, and human physiology. 
  • This study contributes to our growing understanding of space, the impact it has on the body, and the cosmos at large.

Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) and Spacewalks

  • Astronauts may participate in EVAs or spacewalks to carry out spacecraft maintenance duties, deploy or repair satellites, or help build and maintain space stations. 
  • To function safely outside the ship in the hostile environment of space, they must be educated in the usage of specific spacesuits and equipment.

Collaboration and Teamwork

  • Astronauts collaborate both in space and on Earth. To make sure mission goals are completed, they work closely with other crew members, mission control officials, scientists, engineers, and other stakeholders. 
  • A successful mission requires effective problem-solving, communication, and teamwork abilities.

Public Outreach and Education

  • To share their knowledge, encourage the next generation of explorers, and advance science and space travel, astronauts frequently participate in public outreach initiatives. 
  • They could take part in educational initiatives, deliver speeches in front of crowds, talk to the media, and interact with the public on numerous platforms.

Continuous Learning and Training

  • To keep up with changes in flight procedures, space technology, and scientific developments, astronauts participate in continual learning and training.

Mission Planning

  • To make sure they are prepared for the particular mission they will conduct, astronauts go through considerable training and preparation. 
  • This includes becoming acquainted with the systems of the spacecraft, running practice flights, practicing emergency protocols, and getting ready for spacewalks or extravehicular activities (EVAs).

Vehicle Operations

  • During their voyages, astronauts are in charge of running and maintaining the spacecraft’s systems. 
  • This includes operating the spaceship, keeping an eye on vital systems, and diagnosing any potential problems. 
  • To carry out mission goals and guarantee the mission’s safety and success, they collaborate closely with mission control centers.

How much can an astronaut earn?

Civilian astronaut candidates are paid according to federal pay rates, which are based on their academic achievements and professional experience. According to NASA, civilian astronauts make between $104,898 and $161,141 per year in pay. 

Civilian astronauts get a competitive salary as well as several advantages, including full health insurance coverage, the ability to travel, paid holidays, fascinating work, access to cutting-edge training facilities, and the availability of paid leave.

These benefits help to make a career in the fascinating subject of space exploration exciting and meaningful.

How to Become an Astronaut (Tips)

Oh, you’ve caught the cosmic bug, my intrepid friend! Fear not, for I shall be your unwavering guide on this thrilling odyssey to become an astronaut. Get ready for rigorous training, exhilarating missions, and the occasional existential pondering.

Here’s your compass to navigate the celestial path ahead. Safe travels! ⤵️

Comply with NASA’s fundamental criteria.

  • To jump on the path of becoming an astronaut, it is crucial to meet the fundamental criteria outlined by NASA. 
  • These requirements include being a U.S. citizen and holding a master’s degree in a STEM-related field, emphasizing the importance of a strong educational background. 
  • Additionally, aspiring astronauts must accumulate at least 1,000 hours of flying training, demonstrating their proficiency in handling aircraft and gaining a comprehensive understanding of spacecraft operations in various scenarios. 
  • Successfully passing the flying fitness test is another essential component to ensure the safety of oneself and the entire crew. 
  • Prioritizing these qualifications is imperative to pave the way for a successful astronaut career and uphold the utmost safety standards in the pursuit of space exploration.

Get a degree

  • Becoming an astronaut requires obtaining a degree, regardless of whether one follows a civilian or military career path. 
  • Typically, individuals aspiring to become astronauts pursue a master’s degree, which can take approximately six to eight years to complete. 
  • The educational journey begins with a bachelor’s degree, followed by enrollment in a master’s or doctoral program to further enhance knowledge and expertise. 
  • It is advisable to consider the military branch that offers the most favorable educational opportunities, as many branches provide incentives and study choices. 
  • Some common degree fields for aspiring astronauts include technology, aeronautics, aviation engineering, electrical engineering, astronomy, and broader scientific disciplines. 
  • By acquiring a solid educational foundation, aspiring astronauts can pave their way toward fulfilling their dreams of exploring the vast expanse of space.

Work out your physique.

  • The physical demands placed on astronauts are high. Thus, they put a lot of effort into maintaining their physical fitness. 
  • Make health and fitness a priority in your daily routine if you’re training to become an astronaut so that you’re prepared for the rigors of the work and the physical screening standards. 
  • To prepare your body for the rigors of flying, physical fitness training involves maintaining a nutritious diet and exercise regimen. 
  • The pilot must be in top physical condition since fluctuations in oxygen levels, air pressure, and “G-force,” or the force of gravity on an object, all affect how the body responds.

Pre-flight training

  • One of the most crucial requirements for becoming an astronaut is flight training. 
  • It needs skill, accuracy, and detailed knowledge of aerodynamics, mechanical functioning, and weather or air patterns to fly a space shuttle.
  • Before applying, NASA mandates that all astronaut candidates have completed at least 1,000 hours of flight training. 
  • Joining the armed forces, particularly the Air Force, will make it simple for you to obtain this training. 
  • Alternatively, you can choose the civilian route, which may involve piloting commercial aircraft or flying private aircraft while being closely supervised.

Register to be a candidate for NASA

  • Once you are certain that you meet the physical, academic, and experiential prerequisites, you can proceed to apply for NASA’s candidate selection. 
  • It is important to note that the evaluation process for applications may take longer, typically up to 60 days. 
  • NASA conducts a comprehensive assessment of each applicant, carefully examining their qualifications and experience to determine their suitability for operating equipment and working effectively in a team. 
  • Considering the intense competition for astronaut positions at NASA, it is crucial to dedicate yourself fully to the training process.

Tips to Improve Your Astronomical Career

Being an astronaut requires a lifelong commitment to learning and adventure. You may arm yourself with the knowledge you need to succeed in the field of space exploration, leave a lasting impression, and establish a lucrative and gratifying career by heeding the advice and recommendations offered in this article.

Let’s begin this exhilarating trip together! ⤵️

Superior intelligence

  • To achieve success, astronauts require more than just a college degree and general intelligence. 
  • They need to possess creative intelligence and curiosity to handle complex and unforeseen situations.


  • Adaptability is crucial as astronauts must quickly adjust when transitioning between activities and adapt to new policies, standards, situations, and customs in their diverse and international work environment.

Ability to think critically

  • Critical thinking abilities are essential as astronauts face challenging tasks and must carefully evaluate their work and that of others to ensure the successful completion of each assignment.


  • Self-discipline is vital as astronauts must independently carry out their responsibilities, live on the space station, and adhere to schedules while on missions.

Mental acuity

  • Mental acuity is necessary as astronauts may spend months in close quarters with others, away from their families. 
  • They must be capable of handling the psychological challenges they may encounter, such as isolation and fear, while maintaining a sound state of mind.

Physical endurance

  • Astronauts are required to meet specific physical fitness standards for spaceflight. 
  • Additionally, they must pass a military water survival examination, which evaluates their ability to swim a designated distance without assistance and tread water while wearing flight gear. 
  • SCUBA certification is also necessary to prepare astronauts for underwater spacewalk training. 
  • Their bodies must adapt effectively to the various atmospheric pressures they will encounter.

Top astronomical courses in the United States

If you aspire to become an astronaut, it is essential to explore the best educational paths that can equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to jump on this extraordinary journey toward the stars.

In this article, we will delve into some of the top astronautical degrees offered by prestigious universities and institutions across the globe. 

These exceptional programs, ranging from renowned aerospace academies to acclaimed engineering schools, provide comprehensive training, expert guidance, and hands-on experiences that enable aspiring astronauts to develop their scientific acumen and lay the foundation for a remarkable career in space exploration. 

So, let’s uncover the educational avenues that will propel you toward the boundless frontiers of the cosmos. ⤵️

Degree in physics and astronomy

  • Degrees in physics and astronomy help you better comprehend how the physical principles of the universe relate to one another and how they function at various ranges of space and time. 
  • Cosmology, for instance, is the study of the universe’s creation, development, and ultimate destiny.

Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics

  • B.Sc A three-year undergraduate degree in astronomy and the science of crystal bodies is known as astrophysics. 
  • Astrophysics is a subfield of science, and a B.Sc. in Astrophysics studies the physical, mathematical, and chemical characteristics of celestial objects.

Bachelor of Science – astronomy

  • It entails the creation of apparatus, celestial object observations using both grounds- and space-based telescopes, and interpretation of results using mathematical representations of physical laws, including gravity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics.

Earth and space science degree

  • The goal of Earth and Space Sciences is to increase our knowledge of the Earth, the solar system, and its past. 
  • The activities span the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, and the scope stretches from Earth’s core to the outer rim of the solar system.

Bachelor of Science in planetary science

  • This degree focuses on the geological and geophysical processes that occur in the Solar System as well as the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. 
  • As part of an interdisciplinary degree, you will also study mathematics, engineering, computer science, physics, and chemistry.

Paid Courses

Astronautics & Space Technology for Future Human Missions 

What it offers: The course covers topics related to aerospace, rocket science, space effects on humans, and spacecraft systems. 

What you will learn: You will get to know exactly what is needed to become an astronaut and many concepts related to astronautics. You will learn about technology, how it affects Humans, and how to mitigate them. The course will give you a fair idea about how SpaceSuits act as support systems for Astronauts and the future of Human Spaceflight. 

Interplanetary Spacecraft and Satellite Engineering 

What it offers: The course will update you on everything from understanding the basics to understanding how spacecraft systems work. 

What you will learn: You will get a familiar understanding of the space environment, orbital mechanics, space propulsion systems, communications from space to Earth, and a lot more about space power systems. 

Spacecraft Propulsion and Rendezvous

What it offers: You will learn about space propulsion technologies, orbital maneuvers, and the Artemis program.

What you will learn: You will learn every detail by understanding various propulsion technologies and concepts used in spacecraft. The course will increase your ability to estimate the total amount of propellant to be loaded into the spacecraft to meet the optimum orbit maneuvers. With lifetime access, the course has much more to offer. 

Free Courses

Introduction to Earth Science

What it offers: The course will teach you about the multiple layers, various oceans, and life on the planet. The course is designed in a way to help you grasp major ideas of earth science and how you can contribute toward it. 

What you will learn: The course will make you familiar with every aspect associated with the planet Earth. You will be learning the fundamentals of earth science, the Earth’s structure, a chronology of events on Earth, various theories, and much more. 

Exploring the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy

What it offers: The course will teach you the crucial principles of astronomy, astronomical perspectives, the solar system, celestial mechanics, hidden mysteries of the universe, and a lot more. 

What you will learn: You will learn right from the basics, starting from the introduction to astronomy to celestial measurements and spectrum analysis. This is all worth every penny but is available free for you. 

Beginner Earth Rotation Measurements 

What it offers: The course offers you the principles and mechanisms behind the Earth’s rotation.

What you will learn: You will learn various fundamentals of the rotation of the Earth, lines of position fixes, methods of position fixing, and a lot more to assist you in becoming an astronaut. 

Top Astronomical Schools in the World

If your true calling lies among the stars, pursuing a career as an astronaut demands more than just a fascination with space. It necessitates unwavering dedication, relentless training, and a profound understanding of the cosmos.

In this article, we unveil the top 5 astronaut training centers worldwide, where you can commence your transformative journey into the realm of space exploration. ⤵️

California Institute of Technology

  • Originally founded in 1891 as Throop University, Caltech, or the California Institute of Technology, underwent a name change in 1920. Located in Pasadena, California, approximately 11 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the institution emphasizes science and engineering. 
  • Caltech has an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, with graduate students comprising around 55% of the student body. 
  • The student-to-faculty ratio is impressively low at 3:1.

Harvard University

  • Harvard University, founded in 1636, holds the distinction of being the oldest higher education institution in the United States. 
  • With over 20% of its student population hailing from international backgrounds, a significant proportion pursue graduate programs. 
  • While its main campus is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard also has facilities in the nearby city of Boston, including the prestigious Harvard Medical School. 
  • Notably, Harvard boasts the largest endowment of any institution worldwide and hosts over 100 research centers across diverse fields of study.

University of California Berkeley

  • The University of California—Berkeley, commonly known as Berkeley or Cal, is located in the Bay Area, approximately 15 miles away from San Francisco. Founded in 1868, this public university primarily caters to undergraduate students. 
  • It is renowned for its esteemed colleges and institutions, including the Haas School of Business, College of Chemistry, College of Engineering, School of Public Health, and School of Law, among others. 
  • The academic calendar follows a semester system, and all instruction is conducted in English.

University of Cambridge

  • The University of Cambridge dates back to 1209 and is around 60 miles north of London. More than 35% of the university’s approximately 19,000 students are graduate students. 
  • There are six schools: technology, clinical medicine, biological sciences, humanities and social sciences, and arts and humanities. 
  • These schools are made up of several academic departments and other divisions.

Princeton University

  • Princeton University, established in 1746, is one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States. 
  • Originally known as the College of New Jersey, it adopted the name Princeton in 1896. 
  • Located in the town of Princeton, New Jersey, approximately 50 miles southwest of New York City, the university attracts around 8,000 students. 
  • The majority of these students, about two-thirds, are pursuing undergraduate degrees. 
  • Notably, Princeton has a significant international student population, with overseas students comprising approximately 12% of undergraduates and over 40% of graduate students.

Key takeaways

I will say that jumping into a career as an astronaut may seem daunting, but with determination and dedication, the possibilities are limitless. Give it your all, persevere, and seize every chance to participate in interviews and missions.

Who knows, you might just become the next Neil Armstrong or Sally Ride, reaching for the stars! 🚀

In case you still have any doubts or want to report something we missed in this blog. Drop your questions below, and we may resolve them soon:)

Similar Posts:

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment