NASA has announced it will be accepting applications from Dec. 14, 2015 through mid-February 2016 for the “next class of astronaut candidates.” The announcement was made in preparation for NASA’s journey to Mars and the move back to human spaceflight launches being conducted on U.S. soil.
Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, said in a press release: “NASA has taken the next step in the evolution of our nation’s human spaceflight program — and our U.S. astronauts will be at the forefront of these new and challenging space flight missions.”
— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) November 4, 2015
According to NASA, there has been more human spacecraft development in the United States today than ever before. The Space Coast of Florida will once again see astronauts launching into space on American-made commercial spacecraft, where they will be carrying out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.
“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,” Bolden said.
NASA selects its candidates from U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds — from medical doctors, engineers, and pilots to scientists. Once the candidates finish their training, they could fly on any of the four U.S. vessels, which are: The International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.
Learn more about NASA‘s astronaut recruitment:
Director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Brian Kelly said in a press release: “We encourage all qualified applicants to learn more about the opportunities for astronauts at NASA and apply to join our flight operations team.”
The space agency is now transitioning into commercial spacecraft for crew and cargo transport to the space station. Flights in Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will add a seventh crew member to each station mission, which will double the amount of time astronauts can devote to research in space.
‘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,” Bolden said.
According to NASA, future station crew members will continue the vital work advanced during the last 15 years of continuous human habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory, expanding scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies.
This work will include building on the regular six-month missions and this year’s one-year mission, currently under-way aboard the station, which is striving for research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space, the space agency added.
‘This is an exciting time to be a part of America’s human space flight program,’
The requirements are: Astronaut candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Candidates also must have at least three years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Astronaut candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical.
NASA will announce candidates that have been selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration will be accepted at http://www.usajobs.gov.