I've dreamed of shooting for the moon, but I'm not sure how, if any former NASA Recruitments or scientists see this, please tell me what I need to do. Question:

  • What were the qualifications to be chosen for the astronaut program at NASA?
  • What path would need to be followed to be considered for the program?
  • Would commercial options be more viable?
  • $\begingroup$ Needs one more vote to accept edit, which improves the question so hopefully it won't be closed and instead can be answered. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


It's easy. All you need are:

  • a PhD in orbital mechanics
  • the physique of an Olympic athlete
  • a distinguished career as a test pilot
  • a fluent command of Russian
  • a great deal of luck

Let us know how it goes!

Edited to add: Galvanised by uhoh's comments, I actually googled this ("NASA astronaut requirements"). The official list is not entirely dissimilar to my made-up one:

Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Possess a master's degree* in a STEM 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.

*The master's degree requirement can also be met by:

  • Two years (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) of work toward a doctoral program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field.
  • A completed Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.
  • Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.

The US citizenship requirement is obviously NASA-specific. And perhaps Russian is no longer a requirement (although every little helps).

But they left out the most stringent requirement: a great deal of luck -- they received 18,300 applications in 2016. Or perhaps it is enough to be the very best in every category (which would mean that my list is closer to the truth than the official one.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Which olympic sport's physique is required? Archery? Weightlifting? Curling? Luge? Equestrian? Table tennis? Water motorsports? Seriously, astronauts certainly need to be healthy but not necessarily ripped burly svelt or unusually large or strong. In fact since food, water & oxygen consumption is a major drain on crewed spacecraft resources and mission design there's increasingly awareness that astronauts with smaller metabolic footprints have some undeniable advantages. See my five comments under ...average masses of male and female astronauts? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also see Mass of food per astronaut per year for an extended deep space excursion? (answer: 235 to 260 kg/year) Basically 4x the mass of the astronaut. So a lower metabolic footprint is quite helpful for a long duration space mission like hanging out in a station or going to Mars. For a quick jaunt to the Moon it's less-so. Endurance is important over strength probably; space walks are quite challenging from an endurance point of view. so perhaps if you focus on the endurance sports this might be better, though still a little over-stated. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ It will be better though for this Stack Exchange answer if you cite some links or references where you source some of your information. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent! youtube.com/watch?v=cfqspb-yV_w $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 10:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.