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How To Become an Astronaut & More: Explore Careers in Space

Team StoryWeavers|June 15, 2022, 22:35 IST| 20

How To Become an Astronaut

Is there life on Mars? How many galaxies are there in the universe? Can we grow potatoes on the moon? Do you know the answers to these questions? Or would you like to find them out yourself? It is possible to do so with ambition, determination, and perseverance. Before that, you must also know what a career in space exploration entails. To help you, we have put together pointers on how to become an astronaut and listed some career opportunities in space sciences. 

What Do Astronauts Do? 

The term astronaut has its origins in ancient Greek – ástron, meaning star and naútēs, meaning sailor. The words are combined to describe a crew member of spacecraft that travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Now, what do astronauts do? To begin with, they have an important role to play in scientific research. Astronauts work with fellow scientists and engineers from all over the world to build spacecraft and devices that help them explore environments in the universe. They observe and learn about the earth and carry out experiments and research that save lives back on earth. 

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When not flying in space on a mission, they support other astronauts and their projects. They take up roles that involve designing tools for missions, training the crew, etc. Astronauts typically spend years training for a mission, including six months aboard the International Space Station. Astronauts need plenty of time to readjust and recover from missions as well. 

To become an astronaut, a person must be tenacious, resilient, and a team player. Now, these are soft skills. Astronauts need to be experts in their field of study with help of training and practice. Additionally, they need to have experience in flying aircraft and must pass a series of physical examinations – including a swim test and scuba certification. The training and evaluation period for astronauts can last for about two years. Intensive training is required because astronauts must undertake spacewalks, which are one of the riskier activities on a mission. 

How To Become an Astronaut?

You can start by gaining extensive knowledge of subjects such as Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Aeronautics, Geology, and Electrical Engineering. Getting a PhD in one of these subjects will give you the necessary qualifications to chart out a career in space exploration. 

To become an astronaut, you need to meet the technical and physical requirements. These requirements vary depending on the country. To become an astronaut in India, the following criteria have to be met. 

  • Be a citizen of India
  • Have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university in one of the following subjects – Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, or Biology. 
  • Have an aggregate score of 65% or more. 
  • A Master’s degree/Doctorate in  Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, or any of the  Sciences will give you an advantage.   

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Additionally, if you’re applying to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), then you must meet the following crucial requirements. 

  • Satisfactory medical history
  • Perfect visual acuity
  • Good fitness levels
  • No history of substance abuse
  • Good personality traits

 

How to become an astronaut

Via Freepik

If you’re aspiring to become an astronaut at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), then the following conditions apply. 

  • Be an American citizen
  • Have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Physical/Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Biology, Mathematics, etc. 
  • Have an aggregate score of 65% or more
  • A minimum of 3 years of professional experience or 1000 hours of pilot experience

You can also explore opportunities at SpaceX if you can meet the technical and physical requirements mentioned above for ISRO and NASA. Alternatively, you can also explore the following organisations for lucrative career opportunities in India. 

  • Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
  • Aerospace Industry
  • National Aeronautical Laboratories (NAL)

Apart from these, organisations such as the Canadian, European, and Japanese Space Agencies also recruit astronauts. You may also apply for employment in various space research laboratories, spacecraft manufacturing firms, or observatories. 

6 Must-Have Skills if You Want A Career in Space 

Working in space is all about stepping out of your comfort zone for the greater good of humanity in terms of scientific research and development. Cultivating the following skills will help you shine in your space career. 

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  •  Proficiency in English and/or other languages
  • Technical skills
  • Ability to multitask 
  • Patience & resilience 
  • Ability to work under pressure and in emergency situations
  • Adaptability

Top 8 Career Opportunities To Explore in Space

When we think of job roles in space, the first thing that comes to mind is an astronaut. That is because they are the most well-known space workers. It is important to note that space missions require huge teams of workers with a variety of technical skills for them to be successful. Studying the effects of gravity on humans, building powerful telescopes, and simplifying scientific discoveries for the people are some of the responsibilities of working in space. Here’s a list of roles that people can take up in space. 

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  • Astronomers: Observe celestial objects – including planets and galaxies – using space-based equipment or telescopes. They collect data, observe astronomical phenomena and understand the universe better. 
  • Atmospheric Scientists: Analyse weather data and prepare forecast reports using weather balloons, radar systems, satellite images, etc. They also predict phenomena such as auroras. 
  • Aerospace Engineers: Design, build, and test missiles and spacecraft. They take into consideration the environmental challenges and create tools and vehicles that make space exploration possible. 
  • Mechanical Engineers: Team up with other technicians and engineers to build products –  sensors, engines, and mechanical systems – which support space machines. 
  • Avionics Technicians: Focus on navigation and communication aspects of the spacecraft. They also test and install instruments, repair malfunctioning parts, and keep a record of the systems for future use. 
  • Photographers: Capture pictures of space during missions. This includes keeping a record of the discoveries made during space exploration and keeping project records at all stages of the mission. 
  • Technical Writers: Work with scientists to rewrite complex information in simple terms, so that the audience can easily understand the scientific discoveries better. 

Challenges of a Career in Space 

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A career in space sciences is rewarding but also challenging. It involves being part of a team on risky missions that push the boundaries of science and technology. The human body undergoes significant changes in space and this adds to the stress of the job. At times, minor mistakes could lead to the loss of lives and money. In addition, scientists and engineers must stay on top of the innovation game in order to do well in their chosen field of work. 

However, working in the field of space is a fascinating endeavour. And, you might just be the next person to change the future of humanity. So, would you like to pursue this interesting path? Let us know in the comments below.

Also see, Visual Stories about space: 

Spectacular Astronaut Selfies in Space

Searching for Life on Mars

10 Strangest Secrets About Black Holes

Interesting Facts About Pluto

About the Author


Sara started her professional journey in a newsroom and quickly realised that words and stories are her happy place. You may have noticed that she adores her alliteration. She’s also an ailurophile who needs her fix of cute kitty reels to unwind. A warm cup of coffee, chocolates with hazelnut, and a Netflix binge on a cosy chair are all she needs in life. Trees and beaches make her very happy too.

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Comments



Yash Rawat

June 22, 2022

हां मैं भी एक अंतरिक्ष यात्री बनना चाहता हूं।


Sri Adhvaitha

June 22, 2022

Thank you so much for the guidance.


nandini shrivastava

June 20, 2022

thank you so much for this. really helpful


Vaibhav Gupta

June 20, 2022

There are some more career options associated with space like Astrobiologist who try to find or research on the life of all unearthly beings like fossils and soil. They also experiment on the reaction, changes and growth of different life forms from Earth with things that are not from Earth like growing plants on Moon’s soil. This field is all about research and development.


Bindu

June 18, 2022

Thank you for sharing! I wanna become an Astronaut in India….❤️?‍?????️


P. Eekshitha

June 18, 2022

Thank you for this valuable information


Jitendra meghwal

June 17, 2022

Yes I want to become an astronaut


Jitendra meghwal

June 17, 2022

हाँ मैं एक अंतरिक्ष यात्री बनना चाहता हूँ


Prince Goyal

June 17, 2022

How to become a Software Engineer in ISRO ?


Jitendra meghwal

June 17, 2022

हा में भी एक अंतरिक्ष यात्री बनना चाहता हूं


Tejas Alawani

June 17, 2022

Thank you very much. Valuable Information


Ojas Dwivedi

June 16, 2022

I want to become a astronomer
I always had interest in astronomy but I didn’t know what to become this website has helped me a lot .
Thank you byjus!


Snikitha

June 16, 2022

This info was very useful.. I want to become an astronaut too


Shubda. S. Sone

June 16, 2022

Being astronaut is something fun I feel. Actually never thought of being a astronaut ,but what goes in giving just a try


Mysha Taj

June 16, 2022

I want to become an astronaut,
By knowing how to become,
I will definitely try it out!


Chakradhar

June 16, 2022

Mam, i have to become robotic engineer.
What I have to do?


Alokendra Mandal

June 16, 2022

My first dream was to become an astronaut but now it got updated to become a scientist as well as an astronaut.
I hope I could become both one day and change the whole direction of human history.


Neetu gurjar

June 16, 2022

I want to become an IAS officer


Aditya Kumar

June 16, 2022

Firstly thanks,I also want to become an astronaut but in nasa but 1000 hrs of pilot training is required why? Although which country is good for study aerospace engineering with less fees? I have more doubts like this.Thanks a lot for this article.


GARIMA SINGH

June 16, 2022

Yes I want to become an astronaut


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