What does it take to become an astronaut?

I have a confession to make, I haven’t been as caught up in the excitement surrounding Major Tim Peake going into orbit as maybe I should’ve been. But thinking about it now, it is a huge achievement to become only the second Brit in space (let’s not forget Dr Helen Sharman who visited the Mir Space Station in 1991) and perhaps I haven’t been giving him the attention he deserves. It becomes even more impressive when you look at some of the hoops you have to jump through to become an astronaut. I’ve listed a few of the requirements below…

  • First off, you’ll need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in engineer, biological/physical/computer science or maths. Not too bad so far.
  • You will also need to have AT LEAST three years of ‘related, progressively responsible, professional experience obtained after degree completion OR a minimum of 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft’. Take your pick.
  • On top of this there’s a whole host of physical requirements including, but not limited to, having perfect natural vision (none of laser enhanced muck here thank you) and being the exact right size to fit into one of those dashing suits. Height could be a problem for a lot of you here, the previous maximum stands at 5’11. You will also need to be physically fit enough to withstand the rigours of space travel.
  • Previously astronauts have had to be under the age of 40, but Major Tim is 43 so they might have relaxed that one…

All of these requirements and we haven’t even considered the competition you’ll be facing! The average IQ of astronauts on the Apollo missions was apparently 136, which is quite high. And you’ll need to be able to cope with ‘a high level of stress’. Their words, not mine.

All in all it sounds like a tough process, although I guess the view from the office would be pretty good…

If you don’t fancy being the next astronaut in space call us on 020 7419 0909


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