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Ever Had Dreams of Being an Astronaut? NASA is Now Hiring

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For the first time in four years, NASA will be accepting applications for its next class of astronauts. While I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would love to suit up for space, the job has some top tier requirements. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens and must have a masters degree in a STEM field, a medical degree, or a combination of a STEM degree and test pilot experience. 

In addition, prospective astronauts must have completed at least two years of related professional experience, or have completed 1,000 hours of “pilot-in-command time” in a jet aircraft. If all of these requirements are met, applicants will then have to pass NASA’s long duration spaceflight physical. 

So, not your normal job requirements by a long shot, but this has not stopped more than 18,000 people applying in the past, and NASA expects this year to be no different. The space agency announced it would begin the hiring process for its next class of astronauts last month, but Monday officially marked the first day they began accepting applications. 

As NASA gears up for new astronauts, the agency is beginning to move forward with its plans to send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024. The mission will be operated out of the Artemis program, which seeks to “demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.” The mission will have American astronauts exploring the moon’s South Pole for the first time, as well as working to lay the groundwork for a base that would assist in launching a manned mission to Mars. 

“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press release. “We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”

The final candidates are expected to be chosen by the middle of next year, upon which the select few would begin their training as the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts. Since the 1960’s, NASA has trained 350 people as astronaut candidates, with 48 astronauts currently comprising in its active corps. 

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Avid writer and reader with a curious mind. I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

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