With enough work and effort, is it possible for a commercial pilot to become a NASA astronaut?

If a candidate astronaut who is a commercial pilot met all of the requirement apart from a type rating on any type of fighter jet, would he still be considered?


2 Answers 2


I googled it for you.

NASA astronaut requirements

have changed with NASA's goals and missions. A pilot's license and engineering experience is still one route a person could take to becoming an astronaut, but it’s no longer the only one. Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, U.S. citizens must meet the following qualifications:

  1. A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics.
  2. At least three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  3. The ability to pass the NASA long-duration astronaut physical. Distant and near visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 for each eye. The use of glasses is acceptable.

Astronaut candidates must also have skills in leadership, teamwork and communications.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Note the reference to US citizens here. I suspect from this question that the OP is a British citizen, the path to astronaut-hood will be different, even if the requirements might be similar. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2019 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ @CatchAsCatchCan and thus, as a non-citizen, he's never going to be hired as an astronaut by NASA... He might be hired by ESA $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Nov 26, 2019 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ OP has chosen the [NASA] tag. For ESA, see esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/… $\endgroup$
    – bogl
    Nov 26, 2019 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ One should note that, because of the highly competitive nature of the NASA astronaut application process, virtually nobody gets in if they've just met the stated minimum requirements. Case in point: during the Shuttle era and previous, very, very few astronaut pilots were admitted who were not graduates, or enrolled, in a U.S. military (Air Force or Navy) test pilot school. $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Nov 27, 2019 at 17:16

There was a lawsuit many years ago that an airline pilot filed against NASA. He was upset that only military pilots would be considered to become astronaut pilots. NASA won, didn't change their procedures, and to this day, you still need to be military-trained and have served to be considered for a pilot astronaut position at NASA.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you add some references to back up your assertions? Otherwise this post is Some Internet Person Saying Something. $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2020 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you are thinking of the Mercury 13, but have the details wrong. It was a Congressional hearing, not a lawsuit; they were women pilots, not airline pilots; most flew for the military in WWII, but were never test pilots. And then there is the related, complex, and fascinating story of Jacqueline Cochrane, too long to detail here. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Jul 10, 2020 at 1:15

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