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.
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
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
An astronaut becomes an automatic choice in the following organisations in India -
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.
Those who harbour a dream of becoming an astronaut, they must for sure read the following books -
The following pointers will focus on some pros or advantages of becoming an astronaut -
Here is the list of some disadvantages of becoming an astronaut -
No, there is no gender or age criteria to become an Astronaut.
An Astronaut explores the space and is sometimes highly exposed to radiation & space dangers.
An experienced Astronaut in India can earn up to 16 LPA and above.
Some of the top colleges in India to pursue Astronaut in India are IITs, NITs, LPU, BITs, SRM University, etc.
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.
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.
The average pay scale of an Astronaut is INR 2,00,000 to 6,00,000.
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.
To become an Astronaut, the candidates must pass Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD degree in the STEM field or Aeronautical/Aerospace engineering.