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Nasa is hiring new astronauts for future deep space missions

Only 338 people who passed the stringent selection process have been recruited as astronauts since 1959

Doug Bolton
Thursday 05 November 2015 19:21 GMT
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Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide takes a selfie in space
Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide takes a selfie in space

If you've ever dreamed of being an astronaut, today could be your (very) lucky day.

American space agency Nasa has announced that applications for the next astronaut training programme open on 14 December - giving you a little over a month to get that CV polished.

Nasa takes applications for new astronauts on an 'as needed' basis - but with a new generation of American spaceflight beginning in 2017 and ambitions to send humans into deep space, Nasa is looking to expand its current 47-strong astronaut corps.

Unfortunately, really, really wanting to be an astronaut won't cut the mustard.

According to Nasa, applicants must meet a demanding list of minimum requirements. They have to hold at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or maths, following by three years of related, progressively responsible experience, or at least 1,000 flying hours in jet aircraft.

While a bachelor's is the minimum, advanced degrees and reaching experience is preferred.

Applicants must also be able to pass the stringent Nasa physical, and have good eyesight (or eyesight that can be corrected to 20/20), blood pressure lower than 140/90, and a height of between 62 and 75 inches.

On top of all that, you have to be a citizen (or dual citizen) of the USA to qualify.

Even once you pass those requirements, there's still little chance you'll actually get in.

Out of the thousands of applications Nasa receives, only 338 astronauts have been selected since 1959.

In a statement on the applications opening, Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden said: "This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet."

"Those selected for this service will fly on U.S.-made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space."

Those who make it could fly on any of four different spacecraft during their career - the International Space Station, two commercial spacecraft currently being developed by Boeing and SpaceX, and Nasa's Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

The base astronaut salary is $66,000 (£43,400) a year, and can rise to $144,566 (£95,000) with experience.

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