I'm a 16-year-old Bangladeshi girl. I want to be a NASA astronaut. Currently my height is 5 feet 6 inches and weight is 40 kg. I have eyesight problem. Does that matter for becoming an astronaut?

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    $\begingroup$ NASA astronauts must be US citizens. Here are the other requirements nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/postsecondary/features/… $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 6 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ NASA won't be the only game in town for too much longer. Prepare as if you were going to get the job - it will be worthwhile either way. $\endgroup$ – Chris B. Behrens Mar 6 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisB.Behrens from a global perspective, NASA hasn't been the only game in town for decades. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 6 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ Some astronauts in space wear glasses, even in a space suit. I’m not sure what the eyesight threshold to prevent being an astronaut. It probably varies with the sponsoring agency. I’m guessing that if your eyesight can’t be corrected by some means (e.g. lenses, surgery, etc...), it is probably a disqualifier by some agencies (maybe NASA too). $\endgroup$ – Paul Mar 6 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: That is a commercial space flight, so it has no bearing on what it takes to qualify as a professional astronaut. $\endgroup$ – TonyK Mar 7 at 0:29

tl;dr From Space With Love has compiled detailed requirements from various space agencies.

Your height is good. Eyesight is not a problem as long as it can be corrected to 20/20. Glasses are fine. Speaking perfect English is required.

Right now to be a NASA astronaut you need to...

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Possess a master's degree (or equivalent) in a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, from an accredited institution.
  • Have at least two years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  • Be able to pass the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical.

But these requirements change. NASA has reading and videos about How To Be An Astronaut. Including 10 Ways Students Can Prepare to #BeAnAstronaut.

That's not the only way to ride into space with NASA, and NASA is no longer the only game in town.

Be a NASA Specialist

NASA will, from time to time, select non-astronauts who had special skills related to the mission: specialists. When they were flying the space shuttle they were payload specialists. These people were not required to be US citizens and did not need the pilot experience. I don't believe they are currently selecting non-astronauts as specialists, but things change.

Be an Astronaut For Another Country

NASA is not the only way to get into space. Other countries have their own human space flight program, and even if they don't have their own they can get a ride with someone who does.

Currently, Russia and China have human space flight programs. India is working on their own. Iran has proposed their own.

Right in the name, the International Space Station (ISS) is international and, as of this writing, has been visited by 242 people from 19 different countries. Mostly the US and Russia. Not Bangladesh... yet.

Be an Astronaut For a Private Company

Getting to space is hard, but it's getting easier. Getting into space is no longer limited to the US, nor even to governments. Private companies are launching rockets and developing their own spaceships.

SpaceX has their Crew Dragon which is working to take people to the ISS, Boeing is working on their Starliner, Virgin Galactic is working on Launcher One, Blue Origin is working on their Blue Moon lunar lander.

It's not all the US. In New Zealand, Rocket Lab has been launching small rockets and just announced their Neutron rocket capable of sending humans into space (and the CEO literally ate his hat).

All this has happened very quickly! In 2008 SpaceX put the first privately funded rocket into orbit. Now they're flying people to the space station. They went from crashing rockets to landing a starship... umm, almost. By the time you have your master's degree, there will be many companies sending people into space.

Be Rich

You can buy your way into space. It's very, very expensive, and you still need to be in good physical shape. Space Adventures will get you into space, even onto the ISS, or a trip around the Moon, if you pay millions.

A bit cheaper is Virgin Galactic. If all goes according to plan they will soon take bookings to fly into space (not into orbit yet) for about $US 250,000.

Get a STEM Degree

Space is hard. Less than 600 people have been into space, mostly from the US and Russia.

But space is getting easier! Right now, the best thing you can do is to get a STEM degree, keep practicing English, stay in good physical shape, try to get an aerospace internship, play space simulation games like Kerbal Space Program, and Keep Looking Up!

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    $\begingroup$ This answer is better than what I was going to say. But just because you get into space with aerospace, I'm not sure that's the best study for a future astronaut. Study the kinds of things they do up there, like botany, medicine, materials science, and pursue a career on Earth that you can point to as a qualification to do science in space. $\endgroup$ – Greg Mar 6 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ Note that fluency in English isn't exclusive to space travel - it's the universal language of aviation. $\endgroup$ – Vikki - formerly Sean Mar 6 at 23:58
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    $\begingroup$ @duofilm That's an "or". You can have two years of "related professional experience after degree completion". $\endgroup$ – Schwern Mar 7 at 3:22
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    $\begingroup$ I would be a huge disclaimer on the link to "From Space with Love." That looks like an ad to me: they sell a slide deck that should provide insights into the ESA selection process, but they remind the purchasers that they are not affiliated with ESA and have no insider knowledge. $\endgroup$ – ChrisR Mar 7 at 4:27
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    $\begingroup$ One very important point that was missed: be very very lucky. This is roughly on the same order of magnitude as being a professional sports star-- even with the right skills and qualifications it is still much more likely that you are rejected than accepted. Of course this could change but it still emphasizes that you should not plan your life around it and instead do something you like and hope it can tie into space in the future. $\endgroup$ – eps Mar 8 at 13:46

How about ESA?

This sentence catches the eye:

Applications from women are strongly encouraged

There is a single space station right now. Both NASA and ESA astronauts work at ISS.

Low body weigth and height (to some extent) are actually an advantage in aerospace. You will probably not be exactly the same in the years to come anyway.

Eyesight (if problems are moderate and correctable) is not a big issue.

What matters is:

  1. Education. Any math-intense field will do. Get a degree. Become a scientist or a high-profile engineer. The education can help you in becoming a citizen of a country with a manned space program as well.

You can try to become an airspace pilot instead. Being an experienced pilot can be a substitute for a science degree for going to space, but this will get less important in the years to come. And it takes generally as much years and effort in general.

  1. Health. An astronaut spends extended periods in space in a rather demanding environment and away from medical services. Most teenagers are negligent to their health and they sorry pretty much at later age, even if they are far from an astronaut carrer.

  2. Don't get in any trouble with the law.

Anything else is quite probable to change as a requirement for an astronaut in the next 10 or 15 years when your probable astronaut carrer is expected to start.

P.S. Try to learn what exactly astronauts do. Most people have quite a romantic image of their work.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 23 at 14:50

NASA is a US government agency - only US citizens can be NASA astronauts, and that's not likely to change. (Of course you could move to the US and become a citizen, but that's difficult and takes a long time.)

However being small is an advantage, and being female is an advantage. If your vision can be corrected with glasses, and if you're smart and work really hard, you can definitely be an astronaut. You were born at just the right time - there will be more astronaut jobs in the next 20 years than there ever have been before. By a lot!

Go to university and get a PhD in engineering - something related to space. Be good at it - top of your class!

By the time you graduate with that PhD there will be lots of companies hiring commercial astronauts - to construct and maintain things in space, to operate complex equipment in space, and more.

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    $\begingroup$ Become a US citizen may be difficult and take a long time, but still less difficult and less time than becoming an austronaut. It's not a significant obstacle to clear. $\endgroup$ – Zeus Mar 9 at 1:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Zeus Becoming a US citizen (less difficult) will not get you an astronaut job. Doing the other things I suggested (very difficult), will. Doing both still doesn't get you to be a NASA astronaut. I suspect there will be very few NASA astronauts (where you have to be a US national) vs. commercial astronauts (where it doesn't matter). $\endgroup$ – nerdfever.com Mar 10 at 19:03

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