National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Steve Robinson

Astronaut Training and Selection

July 12, 2007

 Astronaut Steve Robinson and Head of Astronaut Selection Duane Ross informed us that solicitations for astronauts will begin again this fall. Applications will be accepted online from September 4, 2007 through July 1, 2008. There have been 321 astronauts in history. Between 1978 -2004, NASA has received 37,400 applications and of these, 248 applicants were selected. 

About half of astronauts (especially pilots) have prior military experience. Of the mission specialists selected, most are engineers. NASA is looking for smart, courageous people that excel in their field. There are no longer any age restrictions. A baccalaureate degree and at least three additional years of professional technical experience are required.

All candidates are ranked within their own discipline such as physical science, biological science, engineer, etc. The top 100 highly qualified people are called in for interviews and psychological and medical evaluations. The interview’s purpose is to find out about each applicant’s personal traits. NASA looks for people that have operational capability as well as people who are flexible, nice, have humility, and would represent NASA well.

—Jennifer L. Jones