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How does one become an astronaut?

Posted by: Victor - Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:24 pm
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How does one become an astronaut? 
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Post How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:24 pm
Hello everyone. I am a student from Turkey and am 18 years old. I am currently preparing for university. I wish to become an astronaut one day. However I am not sure what sort of path I should take, should it be possible. My English is pretty good, and I intend to improve it even further. I assume I will have to become an American citizen and start my education from scratch there, as my marks in Turkey shouldn't matter much in America. I know that the maximum height limit is 75 inches long, and my height is exactly 74.8 inches long. I intend to take steps in order to stop my height growth. I also like sports and am bodybuilding. Could anyone help me, or direct me please? Any help would be appreciated!


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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:45 pm
Perhaps you should look into possibilities in the private sector, I think there will be greater opportunities in the future.

But anyways I think that engineers and scientists specialized in natural sciences will be the most attractive people to send into space.

I don't think that you need to worry about your hight if you want to go the commercial way to space.

Anyways, the most important advise is, what ever you choose to specialize in, make it something that interest you, you have to be very skilled at your subject for someone to be willing to pay you to go into space.


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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:05 am
If you wish to fly for Nasa, you would be well off to get citizenship and then join the US Navy or Air Force. The other option to fly on a Nasa ride would be to get a citizenship in a country that has a treaty with Nasa to be flown from time to time, like Canada or Japan, but their selection process will have strong bias toward natives.

If, instead, you would be willing to fly as a private astronaut, there are two courses. One is to gain the skills that a company wants in their private astronaut corps; this is probably a degree in engineering, perfect English, and perhaps a skill like being a pilot. It depends on the company.

The other, and possibly easier route, is to become rich enough that you can buy your own flight. At 18, if you decide to put effort into starting a company, perhaps you can be so by the time you are in your 30s. See Anousheh Ansari for such a story, or Simonyi, or any of the other folks Space Adventures have flown.

What all of these courses requires, though, is that you be the best at everything you do. It means feeling guilty every time you are out playing, rather than working toward the goal. It means working well with others, and kissing ass, or being so great at something that people put up with you being normal or weird.

There are about 1000 living astronauts. There are around 7 billion people on earth. If you are one in a million that is not good enough, you must be one in seven million.


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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:51 am
Another option might be ESA, although Turkey is not an ESA member as far as I know and thanks to the right wing idiots it may be difficult to get EU citizenship. Still, I have a colleague who studied at Delft university and is now a planetary scientist with a small experiment on ISS (mainly an education project IIUC). Not an astronaut, but closer than most of us I imagine :).

Regardless, I think you worry too much about the physical thing (John Glenn flew to space at age 77, astronauts are not body builders!), and not enough about education. Astronauts so far are either
  • Highly trained and extremely experienced military pilots
  • Engineer/scientists with multiple degrees including at least one PhD
  • Medical doctors
  • Very rich adventurers (private astronauts)
I'd say your chances are best if you become an engineer, or rich (or both). With the advent of drone warfare, there will be plenty of military pilots looking for a new challenge, and there are lots of medical doctors compared to engineers so you'd have more competition.

Something else to consider is that the chances of becoming an astronaut, even if you're very good, are slim. Pick something that you would enjoy doing for the rest of your life even if you never make it to space. If there's one thing we can learn from spaceflight it's to never put all our eggs in one basket.

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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:31 pm
Well I was wondering about the same question for a while.
My problem is that I do have the desire, but I screwed up a lot so far and I didn't work hard enough to have relevant skills by now.

A new option opened up when I realised that large amounts of people working together could potentially get all of themselves up there if they wish to go. Of course first it will be the talented and driven ones, but later the less fortunate ones could have a chance as well.

So I started to work on a crowd based space program. I found a couple out there already, but I think we are still missing some key components to really accelerate our advancements.

Most people I talk to think I am either naive or crazy or both. A lot of them seem to be quite pessimistic about human nature. I am quite hopeful. Probably too hopeful.

Anyway the problems I see at the moment with the current projects:
-hard to trust them: even I find it hard to convince myself that my donations will go to where it should go, and I definitely want to donate. I am still looking through the options to find the right spot.
-hard to find them: when I did my initial search for crowd based space programs, nothing came up. I know I suck at searching and I am quite impatient, but if an enthusiastic person like me took 2 months to find a couple of interesting projects, how will the not so enthusiastic enthusiasts get to the right places?
-I didn't even know to begin with that there were such projects out there: There is some serious problem with the way they are marketed. When I spammed space.com about my project, nobody posted in a reply with one of these websites or projects I found myself later. That means out of potential thousands of people nobody has actually heard of them.

But think about the buying power of 1 million people. Now think about that power being invested into research and development of technologies needed to get that million people into orbit.

If we had a project like that, I think you would have a good chance of becoming an astronaut quite soon. Probably within 30 years we all could be one. That is what I am aiming for.

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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:36 pm
box wrote:
Most people I talk to think I am either naive or crazy or both. A lot of them seem to be quite pessimistic about human nature. I am quite hopeful. Probably too hopeful.



Look at my sig :wink: :twisted:

I swing between optimism and pessimism on the subject and think its worth having a ago at even some of the long shot possibility's its a fact that if we don't get a viable backup population in to space sooner or later the human race will get a early collective Darwin award. But there is a lot of argument about how soon.

Stephen Hawking gives us a hundred and fifty odd years it could be sooner it could be later but if we don't go it is as inevitable as a tossed coin landing whether its heads, tails or sides. Me i am not so optimistic as Stephen the human race is very good at both cooperation and competition as is seen by the fact that we have already humiformed 43 percent of the earth's land mass and use the seas like they are our ever refilling piggy banks.

I think the metaphorical judges decision on if we get the early collective Darwin award will be this century as 8 to 10 billion of us fighting over an every diminishing set of resources is likely to release the nasty toys from the toy box that will dehumiform large sections if not all of earth.

The one glimmer of hope that i see that would extend human life on earth without going into space to Stephens optimistic length and maybe more is if we collectively get access to a new cheap form of large scale energy. A form of fusion is the possible candidate for this but we were supposed to have had this within 50 years more than 50 years ago.

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Post Re: How does one become an astronaut?   Posted on: Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:35 am
Well we certainly have an interesting century ahead of us. I am aiming for the moon for now, and if I get there before I die I would be pretty satisfied.

If I get there in the next 30 years, I will aim for either Jupiter or Saturn to visit.

At any rate I want to die somewhere off world, or die trying to get off world. :)

Now to achieve all that, we need to sell "space" to the masses and do it very soon. The moment we can get serious amounts of our resources spent on it instead of consuming useless crap, we will all have our free ride to pretty much anywhere in the solar system.

But to achieve that we need to sell "space" to the masses and trick ourselves into buying it instead of the usual useless crap we are buying now.

I have no idea how to do it, but I am trying to find out. :)

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