I am a pure/applied mathematics student at Tehran University. About 2 or 3 years later I will get my bachelor's degree and start studying master's in applied math or theoretical physics. And maybe I will apply for an American or Canadian university to continue my way.

So wanna ask you if I want to be an astronaut, what should I do to be a candidate in the space organizations? Can anyone help me?

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    $\begingroup$ Too broad?? I think, "too narrow" would match the reality better. However, explaining how narrow is it, could be an acceptable answer. I suggest "leave open". $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ You may look for some astronauts' formation and career. You can see there are quite different formation (some have a PhD in biology, others are former test pilots,...) $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/q/10548/6944 $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


Currently, if you want to become an astronaut for a traditional space agency (i.e. NASA, ESA, Roscosmos) you basically need to be a citizen of that country or in ESA's case, a citizen of one of the ESA Member States.

In the USA, the most reliable method of becoming a NASA astronaut is to be a military test pilot and eventually cross over to NASA. If you want to apply as a flight engineer or scientist, you need to be very lucky and distinguish yourself in your field somehow.

Realistically, if you want to be a space agency sponsored astronaut, you need to be extremely lucky, dedicated, and skilled. Setting your career goal as "become an astronaut" isn't a wise move as it's setting yourself up for failure.

The easiest way to become an astronaut today is to become rich. It's a pretty safe bet to say that in 20 years, space tourism will be far bigger than today and even now, if you've got a couple dozen million dollars laying about, it's doable.

  • $\begingroup$ And even if you do get into the position that may land you astronaut, you need so many physiological qualifications too. You can't be hitting 150 bpm during a rocket launch. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ ESA os not an EU agency, there's overlap but not all EU members are in ESA and, conversely, not all participants in ESA are EU countries. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for you help $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Is test pilot still an extremely common background for NASA astronauts? I thought it was less important in the shuttle and post-shuttle era. e.g. STS-127 in 2009, only 2 of 6 American crew members were test pilots; the others had multiple engineering and/or MD degrees. $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2019 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I made an update to address Diego's comment. Here's the source for the fact that only ESA Member State citizens can be astronauts: esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/…. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Feb 20, 2020 at 16:50

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