I am writing a short film about an astronaut during re-entry to earth. Part of the conflict I wrote is that the astronaut could not pass the mental tests required. Could anyone tell me any tests people need to pass before going to space?

Specifically if possible: How does NASA determine if a person can maintain control and focus during very stressful situations?


1 Answer 1


From here (images too sloppy to copy text from)

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The link has some statistical results.

A more recent (1985) description can be found on pages 23-25 of this paper; again, the text is not readily copy-able. It does say, in reference to the Mercury tests

The 15 tests used for astronaut selection primarily examined the neuropsychological and personality traits of the applicants. A multi-modal approach, using self-report, projective techniques and biochemical assays, was employed to obtain only the most qualified astronauts and to eliminate individuals having psychopathologies (Flinn et al., 1963).

  • $\begingroup$ Are these still the standard nowadays? I don’t see how a rorschach test would be helpful at all. I’m also baffled by what a “draw a person test” might reveal to make it psychologically relevant to space flight. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Paul What are your qualifications for drawing up a battery of tests for astronaut candidates? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely none! :). That’s why I ask. I’m curious to know the motivations for the various tests. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ The mercury tests were a bit overblown, because it was a novel environment nobody knew what to expect to they did every test in the book. Nowdays it isn't as stringent but I would love to see the criteria for one of my own book projects. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 9:13

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