While NASA wraps up interviewing the second group of finalists to determine its 2013 class of ASCANs, the head of the NASA Astronaut Selection Office Duane Ross gave an illuminating presentation at JSC last Thursday about the selection process. He covered questions ranging from academic degrees to interview questions, medical screening, and Russian language requirements. Pete Dimmick was among those present in the audience. Here are his notes from the event, reprinted with permission: Today I attended a lecture by Duane Ross and his protege, Anne Roemer. Duane has been the head of the astronaut selection process for 37 years and I had a few minutes to speak with them after the lecture was over. Here is what I found out about becoming an astronaut. I won't discuss so much the published requirements, rather I'll be focusing more on the insider things. There have been 257 NASA astronauts over the years and an applicant has a 0.6% chance of being selected. Of those no
In my continuing quest to become an astronaut, I wanted to figure out what the "typical" astronaut's background is like, so I mined the NASA astronaut bios for information. I was interested in the educational, military, selection age, and spaceflight histories of the astronauts, so I focused on that information. I think the plots below speak for themselves, but if you'd like the raw data or have questions, please feel free to ask. Note that I only compiled information on NASA's 126 active and management astronauts. I didn't include the Payload Specialists, former, or international astronauts, although I might go back later and add them to the analysis. I learned that only 36% of astronauts have earned doctorate degrees, but most of the astronauts selected with only a masters or bachelors had extensive NASA and/or military experience. The typical astronaut has one bachelors and one masters degree, although some do have more than one of either type of de
NASA opened the 2015-16 astronaut selection opportunity on USAJOBS . Applications are due February 18, and details are on astronauts.nasa.gov . Good luck to all who apply! I wrote an article called " The Astronaut Hopeful's Manifesto: An Applicant's Guide " on Forbes with some advice to applicants. Check it out!