Average salary for NASA astronauts and requirements you need to apply

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We all dream of going up to space but for those that do it is extremely dangerous. So how much are astronauts paid for the job?

You can’t start your career as an astronaut, you have to have had years of experience before you get the chance to leave the Earth.

Astronauts typically begin their careers as test pilots, flying super fast jets.

They need to have three years’ experience doing this, or log 1,000 hours.

Not only this, but they also need to have a master's degree in science, engineering, or maths, and then they must pass a demanding selection process.

Prospective astronauts must be able to pass a gruelling physical exam, and then undergo interviews where their leadership, teamwork and communications skills will be carefully assessed.

In its 2017 recruitment round, NASA hired just 12 out of 18,300 applicants for its astronaut class.

After going through all this training and preparation you would expect a well-paid job, and as an astronaut this is exactly what you'd get.

NASA pays its employees on a scale called the Federal Government’s General Schedule.

This is broken down into ‘grades’ known as GS-12 and GS-13 and each grade has 1 to 10 ‘steps’ to progress through.

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The starting salary is $66,167 (£57,110) per year for GS-12 step 1.

Once you reach GS-12 step 10, you could be earning $81,021 (£70,326) per year.

Astronauts that have reached GS-13 step 10 are earning $102,288 (£83,625) per year.

The General Schedule is only a guide, however, and it's thought many astronauts earn much more.

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A recent job listing had a salary range of $104,898 to $161,141 per year, as it's thought NASA adjusts its salaries so it can remain competitive in the local area. In Houston, Texas, for example, salaries are thought to be around 30% higher than the General Schedule.

Most astronauts are not trained for the Moon, and the majority go up to the International Space Station.

Two astronauts are set to do just this, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, for SpaceX on May 27.

NASA and SpaceX released a statement on the launch, “The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station.

“This certification and regular operation of Crew Dragon will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station, which benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars with the agency’s Artemis program.”

  • Nasa
  • Spacex
  • Mars
  • Science

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