The Washington Post

NASA astronaut ad: Competitive salary, some travel


This could be your office view. (A photo from the International Space Station, or ISS, of east-central Texas) (NASA/Reuters)

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.


These could be your co-workers. (They’re the Expedition 28 crew and the STS-135 Atlantis astronauts.) (NASA/AP)

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.

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