Did you dream of becoming an astronaut because you want to go to space? Most of us wanted to be astronauts when we were young and were first taught about the Solar System and the planets. That’s what piqued our curiosity to know more about whether life exists outside Earth.
If you are also someone who finds this interesting and takes an interest to learn more about celestial events, you can definitely consider a career as an astronaut and fulfill your dreams.
In this blog, we shall be discussing everything you need to know about what an astronaut does, what skills you will need to develop, where you can study, and where you can work. Read on!
What Does An Astronaut Do?
Astronauts are highly skilled persons who can either pilot or fly a spacecraft into orbit. Astronauts are trained to work in space and undertake responsibilities such as
- Medical and emergency services, maintenance, and other day-to-day operations.
- Astronauts are part of missions that can span several weeks or months. Spending long periods of time in enclosed environments with low gravity is an example of what an astronaut does.
- Identifying issues in a particular research area.
- also in charge of the research project.
- One of the most significant things that astronauts do is go to space and conduct specific observations, investigations, and research that is relevant to their mission.
- Astronauts are required to mentally and physically prepare for life in space prior to any mission. They attempt to learn skills that will be useful to them in space while attempting to live in zero gravity for various days.
- Conduct various studies to look into extraterrestrial life. They must learn about various astrological topics and facets of space.
Job Roles As An Astronaut
- Pilot Astronauts: Pilot astronauts pilot and command space shuttles. They may also command missions to Mars or the moon in the near future. Astronauts with a focus on missions collaborate with pilots to launch satellites, conduct experiments, and maintain spacecraft and equipment.
- Mission Specialist Astronauts: Mission specialists are taught to be in charge of running the payload and experimental operations, as well as operating the shuttle or space station systems, during a mission. Additionally, mission specialists engage in extravehicular activities (space walks).
Salary in different stages of the career as an Astronaut
Skills Required To Be An Astronaut
To pursue a career as an astronaut, here are a few skills you need to develop.
- Getting used to being weightless/walking in space
Candidates for astronaut training must become accustomed to weightlessness and learn how to walk in space. The ship stays in Earth’s orbit, and the elliptical excursions it takes can make people sick.
- Piloting experience in a jet aircraft
Astronaut candidates must have three years of relevant professional experience or 1,000 hours of “pilot-in-command” jet pilot experience.
- The ability to use robotic arms
Learning how to manoeuvre robotic arms is one of the numerous jobs assigned to astronauts. The robotic arm for the Mars InSight Lander is 5′ 9′′ long, with a camera placed on it that gives 3D views of the landing site and locations for measuring instruments.
- Multitasking abilities that are second to none
Astronauts are multitasking masters. They are required to execute experiments, assist in the operation of the International Orbit Station, and maintain equipment while in space.
- Must have excellent vision
Astronauts, like airline pilots, must have 20/20 vision, though those with 20/20 vision aided by spectacles will not be disqualified. Aspiring candidates who undergo surgery to improve their vision to 20/20 must wait at least a year before beginning training.
- Being the appropriate height
To fit in a space capsule that can be a cramped space, these candidates must be between 5′ 2′′ and 6′ 2′′ tall.
- Strengthening the core
Astronauts must develop upper-body strength in order to be seated upright, move around, and withstand the microgravity environment in space. Riding in extraterrestrial vehicles is physically challenging, so they’ll also require strong core muscles.
- Having knowledge of maintenance and repair
Astronauts, particularly those who will work on the International Space Station, need to be able to maintain and repair their equipment. Before embarking on flights to the space station, companies like DynCorp International prepare them to perform mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical repairs on aircraft.
- Being able to deal with a variety of situations
These candidates also put themselves in situations that others would avoid. Some former military personnel has volunteered for missions in Iraq, while others have braved the harsh Antarctic cold or gone mountain climbing.
- Ability to handle pressure
Astronauts are under a lot of stress due to their time in zero gravity, the variety of duties they are forced to complete, the loneliness in space, and the risk that their lives could be taken away at any time.
- Swimming skills are required
In their first month of training, candidates must pass a swimming test. They must swim three laps of a 25-meter pool without pausing, then repeat the process in a flying suit and tennis shoes.
Is Being An Astronaut A Good Career Option?
As exciting as it might sound, a career as an astronaut is very challenging. Becoming an astronaut by itself is very difficult. The procedures are very time-consuming and the eligibility requirements are something that agencies do not compromise on.
Nonetheless, if you get into the field, you have immense opportunities to grow and explore. Imagine going into space and discovering the unknown. You would get to represent the country internationally and gain recognition by participating in various missions.
Getting selected as an astronaut is very prestigious. There are many job openings in the field of research for those considering an astronaut career. People who choose a career as an astronaut are primarily needed in industries like space research, science, technology, production, etc.
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Top Recruiters In India For Astronauts
Here’s a list of top recruiters where you can seek a job to start a career as an astronaut.
- Aerospace Industry
- Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- National Aeronautical Laboratories (NAL)
Courses To Upskill As An Astronaut
If you want to know more about your career as an astronaut, here are a few courses you can consider.
|A Brief History of Human Spaceflight
|University of Houston
|Digitalization in Aeronautics and Space
|Technische Universität München
|Digitalization in Space Research
|Technische Universität München
|The Brain and Space
|The Science of the Solar System
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Degrees In India
If you want to pursue a career as an astronaut, here are a few undergraduate and postgraduate courses you can take.
- B.Tech Aerospace Engineering
- BSc Astrophysics
- B. Tech Aeronautical Engineering
|MTech Aeronautical Engineering
|PhD Engineering & Technology
Professional academic training from a recognized institution is necessary to aspire to pursue a career as an astronaut. For Indian students who want to be admitted to universities abroad, admission is based on academic excellence in the pertinent subjects and the IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, or GRE scores.
- Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Bachelor of Science in Physics
- Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics
- Bachelor of Science in Astronomy
The following books are essential reading for anyone who aspires to pursue a career as an astronaut:
- An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
- Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut, by Edgar Mitchell
- Endurance – A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
- Flying to the Moon – An Astronaut’s Story by Michael Collins
- To Space and Back by Sally Ride
Here’s a list of notable Indian-origin astronauts
- Rakesh Sharma
First Indian to travel to space in 1984
2. Kalpana Chawla
The first Indian-origin woman who flew to space
3. Ravish Malhotra
Served as a backup for Rakesh Sharma on the Soyuz-T 11 mission
4. Sunita Williams
The second Indian-American astronaut at NASA
5. Dr Swati Mohan
Indian-American scientist at NASA
FAQs about the career as an Astronaut
What do astronauts do daily?
Astronauts spend their day participating in science experiments that need their input, watching over projects that are managed from the ground, and participating in medical studies to determine how well their bodies adapt to spending extended periods of time in space.
How much does becoming an astronaut in India cost?
The price of an astronaut course may vary depending on the college and the chosen course. An astronaut course typically costs between 2 and 5 lakh rupees per year in India.
Is working as an astronaut in India a rewarding career?
Being an astronaut has many advantages. One of them provides a good living and good pay. Once you enter the centres like NASA and ISRO, there are many designations that are available, and your payment will rely on which designation you hold there. Indian astronauts are paid on a commission basis for their fifth pay.
How much education is required to become an astronaut?
No specific degree is required to become an astronaut, so no. Most people major in mechanical or aerospace engineering when they study engineering. Some people decide to join the air force in order to become astronauts.
What are the skills required to become an astronaut?
Getting used to being weightless/walking in space
Piloting experience in a jet aircraft
The ability to use robotic arms
Refusing to be discouraged by rejection
Multitasking abilities that are second to none
Must have excellent vision
Being the appropriate height
Strengthening the core
Having knowledge of maintenance and repair
Being able to deal with a variety of situations
Ability to handle pressure
Swimming skills are required
Which stream is ideal if I want to become an astronaut?
After finishing the 10th grade, you must choose Science if you want to be an astronaut. This is due to the fact that you must take Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry as core subjects.