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NASA Space United States

Now's Your Chance To Apply As an Astronaut 86

From reader Leebert comes this notice: NASA will hold a conference this afternoon to explain the process the agency will use to select the next class of astronauts. According to the announcement, "NASA will recruit its next astronaut class through the federal government's website. The class of 2009 was the first astronaut class to graduate in a new era of space flight following the final mission of the space shuttle. A new fleet of human spacecraft is in development by commercial companies to deliver crews to the International Space Station. NASA also is developing spacecraft to send humans on missions of exploration far away from our planet." Says Leebert: "I plan to apply, because I want to be able to say: 'Not everybody can be an astronaut. I know, they sent me a rejection letter.'"
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Now's Your Chance To Apply As an Astronaut

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:06PM (#38061426)

    Anyone who's got a rocket that will get to at least LEO is automatically accepted.

  • Rejection letter (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigjarom ( 950328 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:08PM (#38061452) Journal
    My brother, who is in medical school, and had no real qualifications, applied to Virgin Galactic's Astronat position a few months ago. Here's their responce:

    Dear [name]
    Thank you very much for your interest and application for the first
    Virgin Galactic Pilot-Astronaut positions.
    Despite the very demanding qualifications, we had over 500
    applications, the vast majority from very well qualified and experienced
    test pilots. As you can imagine, filtering down such a large pool of
    talent and having to leave out many highly respected test pilots, as
    well as a few flown astronauts, was an extremely difficult task.
    We were able to invite just eight of this group forward to the next
    stage of the process and I regret to inform you that we were unable to
    include you. We appreciate that this may be a major disappointment but
    it is no exaggeration to say that we received a great deal of interest
    from some of the world’s very best and highest qualified pilots.
    Thank you for your application and interest in Virgin Galactic and we
    wish you the very best in your future career.
    With regards,
    Virgin Galactic Careers
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Funny, how does piloting a plane in the atmosphere, qualify to being strapped inside a capsule and launched into space. The computer does all the work. Like Elon Musk said, it is just a Dragon with Biological cargo.

      Now I know that Virgin is the SpaceShipTwo design, but that too is mostly a rocket craft and limited flight control. Not a real astronaut either.

      • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:49PM (#38062072)
        Piloting a plane in the atmosphere is related to being an astronaut in at least one important way: The ability to orient yourself without reliable visual or gravitational cues and then think clearly and rationally despite disorientation. Even if your only job is to change the oil in the Mars rover, you will need to have experience remaining calm and working in unusual orientations.
      • by suomynonAyletamitlU ( 1618513 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @02:37PM (#38062740)

        There are very few other occupations that prepare you to keep cool and operate controls under varying gee-forces.

        Admittedly, most of spaceflight happens with the thrusters off, but if you get spooked by the idea of sudden acceleration, you are not going to operate well in a spacecraft. And you may not think that you'll be spooked, but there's a reason acceleration is measured is Gees--that is, multiples of Earth's gravity. You'll suddenly, and briefly, weigh several times as much as you ever have before.

        Jet pilots in particular experience abnormal gee forces with pretty much every flight. Test pilots have to train to recover from all kinds of ghastly aerodynamic fuck-ups. The sort of conditions they can recover from, or can't bur prepare for, would leave you horrified.

      • one good example from history. read about the Gemini 8 mission and the capsule spinning wildly out of control at an increasing rate approaching the point where astronaut would become unconscious. Armstrong fired the correct thrusters to bring it under control, then made re-entry low on fuel and survived. Sometimes the experience pays off, I'd say.

      • One thing to note is that virgin and NASA have different requirements.

        Virgin want test pilots, sure the computer may do most of the work but what they need in the pilots seat is someone who can remain calm and make rational decisions under the conditions of flight gone wrong. Hell I wouldn't even really call what virgin are doing spaceflight.

        NASA otoh do want some pilots but they also want astronaughts with other specilisations. This will be especially true if NASA ever manage to set up a base on the moon o

    • Only 500? Wow, I thought it'd be much higher than that. OTOH, I imagine those are 500 mostly incredibly qualified people. As a side note, I imagine NASA has enough test pilots recruited from the air force, so a highly-qualified scientific background is likely to be more useful for them. The website notes that the astronauts will be doing research, so a medical student might actually have some qualifications for them to consider. Not enough, certainly, but the chances are better, while Virgin Galactic seems
    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:37PM (#38061894)

      Sucks to be Virgin.

      "Mr. Branson's having a heart attack! Is there a doctor on the spaceship?!"

      "No... there isn't! My god, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A friend got denied from Virgin. He was a test pilot too. I thought he was shoe in but the current state of space travel has Astronauts that have been in space applying for jobs at Virgin. NASA & Virgin publicly asking for resumes is a PR stunt. The applicant pool for these candidates is very small. NASA knows well in advance who they want to become astronauts and applicants know well in advance what it is they are trying to achieve.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At a very young age I started working toward becoming an astronaut. I studied math early. I wasn't a natural at it but I could do it. I got my PhD in physics at 29 (and a private pilot license). I started seriously looking at applying, but discovered I was three inches too tall. It wasn't something I had really ever looked in to. I was fit and seemed qualified, but just too tall. Something I had zero control over. I got really depressed, gained a lot of weight, and my mom said you're moving with your aunti

  • Application link (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrquagmire ( 2326560 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:21PM (#38061664)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      From the application:
      "Frequent travel may be required"

    • thank God for that Physics degree I thought I'd never have a use for! Application process, here I come!

  • You are no disgrace.
  • Is Jose Jimenez.
    I am Astronaut. []

  • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:36PM (#38061876)

    Some years ago an article described candidates going through the final interview stages. A candidate would sit in front of a panel who would ask various questions, i.e. aircraft programs they worked, their research projects, etc. Candidates describe their activties... then one of the panel members pops the question, "So, why do you want to be an astronaut?" This question typically catches the candidates flatfooted, they usually stumble for an answer. There was one candidate, didn't really know what to say answered, "uhmm, my dad was an astronaut, my granddad was an astronaut. It just runs in the family!" He was chosen (I forgot the name).

    It has been mentioned all astronauts are military pilots (70% including mission specialists) so unless you already have chosen that route, then other option is researcher/engineer (the other 30%). Of the latter group, they were already working for NASA (or as a contractor at a Center). Very few, i.e. Mae Jemison, from the "outside" were selected. So if you are rejected but if they offer you a job at NASA, ***take it*** because they are interested in you and want to look at you more closely. This was written about 10 years ago so maybe much has changed. A recent slashdot discussion talked about astronauts probably don't need to be military pilots having fast reaction skills like in a fighter jet these days, much of the spaceflight are very long (i.e. ISS) so a different kind of person is needed.

    I haven't pursued an astronaut position as many /. readers know it requires much passion. Steve Hawley (flew on HST deployment) said they look at candidate's records for kinds of work they do, does it focus and lead to astronaut position? A candidate said he has always wanted to be an astronaut but they asked why did he spend seven years with Shell Oil? However, some positions could lead to astronaut. A Navy diver, an officer, observed spacewalking was much like underwater (heck they even train in water!) so she focused her efforts, applied and got accepted (though I'd not be surprised she was first rejected, most accepted have been rejected before).

  • How many people will apply just so they can prove to the unemployment office that they are "looking for work"? I saw that in retail years ago. Guy came in, filled out application. My boss was like, "you just want this checked off". They guy was like "uh-huh". Kinda funny to imagine that happening at a NASA complex with all the big hangar buildings and rocket displays.

  • by AoOs ( 1336153 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @03:28PM (#38063470) Homepage Journal

    Hello NASA,

    I hereby apply for the Austronaut Candidate position.

    I am a Danish, 24 year old guy, but the absence of a American citizenship shouldn't count me out. Here is why:

    - Since the age of 3, I have had an astonishing ability to find my way around in the dark. Space is pretty dark. This skill will definitely come in handy. Otherwise I'm pretty handy with a flashlight.
    - I absolutely love soup. This is fantastic, since it is highly probable to be on the space menu. I can eat like seven bowls of soup in one sitting. Sometimes eight. Depends on the soup.
    - My grandmother always used to scream out; Alexander! GET DOWN FROM THERE! You know why? Because I climbed. I climbed everything. The ISS will be a piece of cake to get around.
    - I'm 6'1" and I weigh around 172 pounds (depending on how much soup I've had), which is an absolutely perfect match for an astronaut. I won't take up too much space in the spaceship, and I can reach the top shelf - even when weightless.
    - I played ice hockey for 9 years and I live in Scandinavia. Subzero temperatures won't ever be a problem. I enjoy eating ice cream while walking outside in the snow.
    - I am currently studying journalism at the University of Southern Denmark. This makes me an absolute master of any language and a valuable member of any constellation of professions, known to mankind - but I will of course drop out, should you pick me for the position.
    - As I am an excellent conversationalist, the ride from Earth to the ISS won't be boring. I read a lot and I am an avid quiz contestant, my broad knowledge and social abilities will definitely be awesome to have on the rocket.
    - I could bring a keg or two of beers along, if needed. I understand you guys are a bit pressed for cash at the moment.
    - I am fluent in whatever language I get to study for 3-4 years, which is absolutely vital for the survival of earth, should I be captured by hostile hesitant aliens.
    and lastly, I am a true master of disguise. I can look like a astronaut, a scandinavian, an american, an alien or a goldshoed clown croc kitty (see attached photograph). [Hello Slashdot: []

    I am versatile in every manner.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, and to our future adventures together.

    To infinity and beyond,
    Alexander O'Strit

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Dear Mr O'Strit

      Thank you for your application. We have an expedited need for astronauts for our current rocket test program, but have encountered inexplicable reluctance from our current candidates. We need people with your forethought, blind courage and determination at NASA. Therefore you have been summarily accepted into the Astronaught program. We would like you to start immediately. In fact so urgent is our need that we will not have time to train you. Also our rocket design keeps changing week to week

  • ...but speaking as someone who happens to work down the street from the Johnson Spaceflight Center (for a major aerospace company), I can tell you that while the approach towards recruiting an astronaut is a little unusual, it is what you should expect for a government job nowadays. Gone are the days of NASA going to the Air Force and saying "give us two dozen of your best and brightest who you think might make good astronauts", and it's a major competition.

    Just look at the required qualification just t
  • The opening is for a deskonaut.

  • Not to mention the guys from redgate, sending a lucky database administrator to space via [] :-)

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"