The astronauts visit the space on very specific missions and represent their nation. Specialized training is being provided to them to fulfill these missions. All the training programs are conducted in the form of simulation exercises, so that all the aspiring astronauts can feel the reality of their future profile and can perform their job in a perfect, safe and secure manner.
To become a part of the space industry, you can apply for Flight Engineer or Pilot Astronaut and Astronaut Researcher or Commanders and Mission Specialist. Professionals from astronautical background can also apply for engineer, scientist and space researcher job.
You need to have Bachelor’s Degree in biological or physical science, mathematics or engineering. To become a Mission Specialist, minimum three years of experience is required, but if you hold Master’s or Doctoral Degree, then you can be recruited directly for the position. To become Flight Engineer or Pilot Astronaut, 1000 hours of experience of flying a jet aircraft is required. You need to pass the space mission tests and various exams as set by NASA.
Roles and Responsibilities:
As a Mission Specialist, you need to have the complete understanding of mission aims, shuttle systems, supporting areas, operational and equipment features. The role includes coordinating the shuttle operations activities such as payload functions, crew movement, experiment and use of the consumable items, performing the space walks and scientific experiments and sometimes extravehicular activities also.
As a commander, you need to ensure the safety and security of the vehicle as well as the crew members. The role of the flight engineer is to travel across the space station and to operate the space shuttle. The pilot is required to assist the commander in controlling and operating the shuttle and performing various extravehicular activities.
Salary and Benefits:
Salaries are fixed on the basis of Federal Government’s general schedule pay scales for grades GS-11 to GS-14 and can vary from $ 27,000 to $ 80,000 as per the academic qualifications and experience. Other benefits are: paid vacation, medical coverage, pension’s savings account, tutitions reimbursement and many more.
But, what make this career more exciting are the various non-monetary benefits such as awards and recognition that you get once you are back from any space mission and the whole nation applauds for you!