There are people who love to do things which are out of this world, if you are one of them, I mean literally, then becoming an astronaut can easily be your dream job. Astronauts are not only the people who go into space and look at other celestial bodies or look for life on other planets, they have a life which is a little more complex than that. Firstly, they are scientific experts, they really know their thing, then they have to be physically fit otherwise their chances of being sent on a space mission will crash against the earth and thirdly, one needs to be the best not only in their country but amongst people from other countries as well. This is not impossible, it might be difficult but definitely not impossible. Let’s see how can one prepare him/herself to become an astronaut-
Do you have it in you?
There are a couple of qualities and skills that a person needs to possess in order to make sure he can think of becoming an astronaut, some of them are-
- You need to be physically fit, there are examinations, mentally strong and should have great stamina.
- You should qualify the criterion of height, a particular level of height is required for people to become an astronaut.
- You should possess great mathematical skills, and I am not talking about addition, multiplication etc.
- You should have good communication skills, you must be good at English because there are very high chances that people you will be working with will not even be from your own country.
- You should have a good academic career and team spirit because all the space missions are done in teams, and you should be able to work under high pressure and in cramped environment.
In India, you will have to start focusing on your career once you pass 10th grade. One should choose Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as core subjects in 12th.
After you are done with 12th grade and you have gotten good grades, you need to focus on a good Bachelors degree from a recognized university. One could choose a course in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, or Aerospace Engineering.
To be able to get a post graduation degree and a doctorate, you need to do well in your undergraduate degree. Post graduation and doctorate will basically be specialization in your stream.
After you are done with graduation, you can sit for the exam, which is held by NASA for the recruitment of scientists and astronauts. Or in order to join ISRO one needs to clear the Joint Entrance Exam which is held by the IITs.
And in order to be a mission specialist, you will need 3 years of related and responsible experience.
Job and pay package
Once you get through NASA or ISRO, your fight for a good job is over. However, there are a couple of designations that you will get at and the pay package will keep increasing with the increase in the level of hierarchy. Astronauts are usually very well paid and can be paid in US dollars if you work for NASA. There are Astronaut Trainees and Working Astronauts who work under the Senior Astronaut so the pay also differs accordingly.
As it seems, becoming an astronaut can be very exciting, your job becomes your life and you let your passion drive you and take charge of your life, but not to forget this is one field which has its own pros and cons. The life of an astronaut is not an easy one, they barely have any family life and the circumstances under which they are trained are equally strenuous. Once you become an astronaut, you could face problems in the space and be in danger because of micro-organisms or extra-terrestrial life. Hence, one should weigh the pros and cons before making up their mind and if your are somebody who chooses to become an astronaut over everything else, then you sure are in for a ride.