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Career as Astronaut

Career as a Astronaut

About Astronaut

An astronaut is an individual who flies in outer space. The word astronaut owes its origin to Greek words - “Astro” meaning celestial body or star and “nautis” meaning sailor, which together means “Star Sailor.” Usually, those who are inhabitants of the United States of America, Japan, Canada and European Countries (except for France where the astronauts are called Spationauts) and fly or have flown to our space are called Astronauts. An astronaut from Russia is called Cosmonaut and China called Taikonaut. 

Earlier, an Astronaut was thought to be a person who is an observer of some events taking place in the outer space and document it. Later, it was understood that simply observing and documenting extra-terrestrial events are not enough and humans must interact with these events. 

Currently, there are two types of Astronauts - Pilot Astronauts and Mission Specialist Astronauts. Every other detail regarding a career as an Astronaut has been deconstructed in the sections below. 

Eligibility to become Astronaut

Here are some eligibility criteria that an aspirant must fulfil to achieve his/her dream of becoming an astronaut - 

Nationality Eligibility to become an Astronaut

An aspirant has to be a permanent citizen of India to be eligible to become an Astronaut in India. 

Gender & Age Eligibility to become an Astronaut

Any male or female permanent resident of India is eligible to become an Astronaut in India and there is no (not yet known) age eligibility criteria that an aspirant has to satisfy to become an Astronaut. 

Medical and Physical Eligibility to become an Astronaut

  • Average height requirement for an Astronaut - N/A
  • Weight requirement - must be in good shape as per the gender and age
  • Health requirement - satisfactory medical history, normal blood pressure and perfect vision sharpness

Educational Qualification to become an Astronaut

A Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD degree in the STEM field or Aeronautical/Aerospace engineering is the expected qualification that an aspirant must possess to become an Astronaut. 

Note - During the initial stages, space agencies prefer to send Air Force personnel for their manned spaceflight programme due to the basic experience of flying possessed by the pilots. 

Other Skills and Requirements to Become an Astronaut

  • Aspirants must possess an impeccable English-speaking proficiency 
  • Aspirants must possess a certain number of hours of flying experience
  • Aspirants must be psychologically strong enough to stay calm during emergency situations etc
  • Must have great observational skills
  • Aspirants must be comfortable with multi-tasking

Types of Job Roles Astronaut

Employment Sectors

An astronaut becomes an automatic choice in the following organisations in India - 

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  • Aerospace Industry
  • National Aeronautical Laboratories (NAL)
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Planning to choose Astronaut as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Astronaut

Astronauts make a hefty amount of money in organisations in India hiring them. Along with the attractive salary package, the astronauts are also offered several other benefits to them such as travel allowances, medical benefits and housing facilities. Although there is no limit for the money an astronaut can make, on average, an astronaut can be paid something between 50,000/- rupees to a few lakhs per month. 

Books & Study Material to Become Astronaut

Those who harbour a dream of becoming an astronaut, they must for sure read the following books - 

  • Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut, by Edgar Mitchell
  • To Space and Back by Sally Ride
  • Flying to the Moon - An Astronaut’s Story by Michael Collins
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Endurance - A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

 

Pros of becoming a Astronaut

The following pointers will focus on some pros or advantages of becoming an astronaut - 

  • Float into the vacuum of space and witness cosmic phenomena from up close
  • Find and explore less known planets
  • Visit different planets
  • See the universe 
  • The chance to float around in zero gravity
  • Able to prepare the world for some potential dangers lurking in the dark vacuum of space

 

Cons of becoming a Astronaut

Here is the list of some disadvantages of becoming an astronaut - 

  • Space exploration is a life-risking adventure as the danger of spacecraft explosion is always lurking around the corner during the return to earth when the spacecraft enters the earth atmosphere
  • Astronauts are exposed to natural dangers in space
  • The space trash from more than 50 years of space exploration pose danger to astronauts due to the risk of space debris coming into contact with the hull of the spacecraft
  • Astronauts are highly exposed to radiation at space
  • Post space exploration health effects

Paths for Being Astronaut

FAQs about Astronaut

Is there any gender or age criteria to become an Astronaut?

No, there is no gender or age criteria to become an Astronaut.

How is the work environment for an Astronaut?

An Astronaut explores the space and is sometimes highly exposed to radiation & space dangers.

How much does an experienced Astronaut get paid?

An experienced Astronaut in India can earn up to 16 LPA and above.

What are some of the top colleges in India to study Astronaut?

Some of the top colleges in India to pursue Astronaut in India are IITs, NITs, LPU, BITs, SRM University, etc.

What are the physical attributes required to become an Astronaut?

An Astronaut must have an average height, must be in good shape as per the gender and age and must have a satisfactory medical history, normal blood pressure and perfect vision sharpness.

What are some skills and requirements to become an Astronaut in India?

Some of the skills and requirements to become an Astronaut in India are a flying experience, English Proficiency, observation skills, psychological strength, multi-tasking, etc.

What is the average pay scale of an Astronaut?

The average pay scale of an Astronaut is INR 2,00,000 to 6,00,000.

What are the top recruiters in India for Astronauts?

Some of the top recruiters in India for Astronauts are Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Aerospace Industry, National Aeronautical Laboratories (NAL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), etc.

What is the educational qualification required to become an Astronaut?

To become an Astronaut, the candidates must pass Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD degree in the STEM field or Aeronautical/Aerospace engineering.

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