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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 USAJobs.gov 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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  • 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
  • Application link (Score:5, Informative)

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

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.