The job market may be dismal in some areas, but if you know how to fly a jet aircraft, have a sitting blood pressure of less than 140/90 and want to live in Houston, NASA may have a job for you.
For the first time since 2007, NASA has put out a call for would-be astronauts. Despite its shuttering of the space-shuttle program, the agency needs to beef up its dwindling numbers of space men and women. It posted a job application to USAJobs.com on Tuesday for Astronaut Candidates. Starting salary range: $64,724.00 to $141,715.00.
A report in early September concluded NASA needs to start recruiting or it could face a shortage of flight-ready astronauts within five years. NASA currently employs 59 astronauts, down from 150 a decade ago.
Part of the problem: Astronauts antsy to get into space will have a lot of waiting time. NASA plans to send just four to six astronauts — American and international — to the space station each year. As The Post’s Brian Vastag wrote in September, that means astronauts will have to wait at least five years to get back aboard the International Space Station.
The upside to waiting: they could be the first astronauts to fly on NASA’s planned trips to an asteroid or beyond.
Before you start shining up your space suit, prepare for some job-related discomforts:
— Basic space station training takes 2.5 years, including a seven-month stint in Russia learning the language.
— Stays on the International Space Station can last three to six months. That’s a long time in space.
— You need to maintain a body size that fits into the smaller Soyuz shuttles. So no extra Happy Meals.
While NASA released a video to promote the job, it’s a little too peppy. Thankfully, YouTube user Gavin St. Ours took it upon himself to modify the commercial to make it sound more like a Don Draper advert:
P.S. If the NASA gig isn’t your bag, you could try China. It’s putting the call out for skilled researchers.