References and Interview Dates

After jumping to answer the phone every time it rang for the past few weeks (hoping for that call inviting me to an interview), I decided to call the Astronaut Selection Office and ask for a status update on my application. Two of my key references had informed me about a week ago that they had just sent in their recommendation forms, so I wanted to make sure the Selection Office had received them.

Teresa Gomez shared that they are really "backed up" with processing the recommendation forms right now with a backlog of at least 50. I asked how this affects the selection of interviewees, and she said the references don't matter very much since they're not even required to return the forms in the first place. I guess they see any recommendation forms they receive (and process) as useful but not required information in accesssing an applicant. I inquired when she thought they'd make it through the stack (thinking she'd say a few days), and she suggested that I call back in "a few months" and ask again.

Obviously, I'm concerned because perfectly good recommendations might go unused while the selection panel chooses the interviewees based on incomplete information. Recently, several fellow applicants have discussed the matter of references on the AsHos board. I think my conversation with Ms. Gomez today clears up the question whether an application is in limbo until all references are turn in (No). This explains why some people have been asked to interview without reference contacts.

Ms. Gomez confirmed the interview group dates for all 120 interviewees, which I've listed in the table below. She added that all slots in December are already full and that interviewees could be contacted with as little as one week's notice before being asked to come to Houston for an interview. However, one can request a later interview date if the first available one is not a good time (which is why some slots in January are already taken). In past years, NASA has issued press releases announcing each interview group, but that doesn't seem to be happening during this selection cycle.

Group 1a
Group 1b
Nov 17-19
Nov 19-21
Group 2a
Group 2b
Dec 8-10
Dec 10-12
Group 3a
Group 3b
Dec 15-17
Dec 17-19
Group 4a
Group 4b
Jan 12-14
Jan 14-16
Group 5a
Group 5b
Jan 19-21
Jan 21-23
Group 6a
Group 6b
Jan 26-28
Jan 28-30
total: 120

Note that at least two other applicants with earth science backgrounds have already been asked to interview (1, 2). I'll just have to be patient a while longer to see if I get to join them.


Christie said…
Brian, I really enjoy your site. I don't know how you find the time with a 1 yr old and work to post such quality writings. But what I particularly appreciate is your postings regarding your journey to be hired by NASA. I too have applied and find solace in your updates. Thank you for sharing! Good luck!!! Christie
Anonymous said…
Brian, I want to echo what Christie said. Thank you for keeping us up to date through this long, crazy process! As a follow-up : it is true, then, that not all invites have been made (there are still some people yet to be invited)?
BrianShiro said…
Thanks for the kind words (and, yes, it is difficult to do *anything* when there's a 1-year-old in your life :).

Yes, my understanding is that not all interviewees have been invited. My best guess is that perhaps 40% of the slots remain open.
Anonymous said…
I hope that part about not all interviewees getting the call yet's true - finally took care of my prescreen yesterday (been out of town/country for work)...
Anonymous said…
From what I've heard, not only have not all interviewees been contacted, but neither have all highly qualified applicants. Good luck everyone.
Anonymous said…
I heard from AHX that ALL the Highly Qualified Applicants have been contacted and that all the reference forms and the medical requests were posted the week of November 17 and that if we had not heard by the end of November then we were not in the HQ group. Today is December 9th. Is there any information to believe that not ALL HQ candidates have NOT yet been contacted. Is there still hope?
BrianShiro said…
My understanding is also that all High Qualified applicants were notified by the end of November. However, there's always hope someone could have fallen through the cracks and be notified later.
Anonymous said…
They sent the first forms out in October.
Anonymous said…
Brian, have you heard anything regarding the exact dates of the second (finalist) interviews?
BrianShiro said…
No, I haven't. All I know is that NASA plans to select the finalists in February following the first round of interviews and will invite about 40 people for the second interviews after that in late February or March.
Anonymous said…
As a 56 yo Ph.D. radiation biophysicist, I see an extremely faint glimmer of hope. (Perhaps magnitude -12) This is the third time that I have applied to this program. I appreciate your clear information.

Popular posts from this blog

New CSA, ESA, and JAXA Astronauts

Insider tips on NASA's astronaut selection

The Astronaut Hopeful's Manifesto