What Should A Student Do In High School To Become An Astronaut?

Many students dream of becoming an astronaut, exploring space, and discovering the unknown. However, becoming an astronaut requires high education, training, and dedication. If you’re a high school student with aspirations of becoming an astronaut, you may wonder what steps you can take to achieve your goal.

This post will discuss what a student should do in high school to become an astronaut.

Table of contents

Who Is An Astronaut?

An astronaut is a person who participates in a space program and is particularly prepared and outfitted for space travel.

NASA, also known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has employed astronauts in the American space program since 1959. Any crew member on a NASA spacecraft or the NASA Astronaut Corps member is referred to as an astronaut by NASA. From a wide range of applicants with various backgrounds, NASA chooses astronauts. Only a few applicants are chosen by NASA for the rigorous astronaut candidate training program out of the thousands that apply.

Although a master’s degree is required for NASA astronauts, other specializations, such as civilian teachers, doctors, and journalists, are now eligible to apply. Commercial astronauts have only recently been added, as privately sponsored space travel may soon become the norm.

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What Does It Take To Become An Astronaut?

To become an astronaut, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in an important STEM field, like biology, engineering, biology, physical science, computer science, or math. NASA also favours astronauts who are at least two years into a doctoral program, have a medical doctoral degree, or have completed a test pilot school program.

Here’s a step-by-step outline of how to become an astronaut:

1. Meet NASA’s basic requirements

Each candidate must satisfy a set of conditions that NASA sets for potential astronauts. These consist of the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a master’s degree in a S.T.E.M. field
  • Earn at least 1,000 hours in flight training
  • Pass the flight physical examination

Before contemplating becoming an astronaut, you must meet the requirements above. For instance, 1,000 hours of flight training certifies that you can operate the spacecraft and understand how it performs in certain conditions to ensure the safety of yourself and your crew.

2. Earn a degree

Astronauts can fall into any of the two categories: military or civilian. Both categories require a master’s degree to become an astronaut, which can mean at least six to eight years of higher education.

First, you must earn a bachelor’s degree, then expand on it with a master’s or Ph.D. program. Many military branches offer educational incentives or options, so consider the branch that might benefit you the most with educational opportunities.

Typical degrees include:

  • Aerospace engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Aeronautics
  • Electrical engineering
  • General Science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Technology

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3. Keep fit

The physical demands placed on astronauts are high. Thus, they put a lot of effort into maintaining their physical fitness. Make health and fitness a priority in your daily routine if you’re training to become an astronaut so that you’re ready for the job’s demands and the physical testing standards.

This entails following a balanced diet and exercise regimen to prepare your body for the demands of flight and physical training. The pilot must be in top physical condition since fluctuations in oxygen levels, air pressure, and “G-force,” or the force of gravity on an object, affect how the body responds.

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4. Train for flight

Flight training is a vital requirement for becoming an astronaut. Flying a spacecraft demands expertise, accuracy and a thorough understanding of aerodynamics, mechanical operation and weather or air patterns.

To that end, NASA mandates all candidates for its astronaut program to have at least 1,000 hours of flight training before applying. You can achieve this training easily by joining the military, particularly the air force. Alternatively, you can choose the civilian route, which may involve flying commercial or private aircraft while supervised.

5. Apply for NASA’s candidate selection

Once you can meet physical, educational and experience requirements, you can apply for NASA’s candidate selection.

Be prepared for a longer wait than you may with other programs, as the application evaluation procedure can normally take up to 60 days.

Each applicant must be carefully evaluated by NASA, who will look at their background and experience to see if they have the necessary skills to operate equipment and collaborate.

What Are The Duties Of An Astronaut?

Astronauts carry out various job duties based on their role in a mission. A commander makes crucial decisions and is in charge of the crew. The pilot works with the commander. Along with the commander and pilot, other astronauts fulfil clear duties based on their respective skills and specialities.

Astronauts carry out duties outside the spacecraft to keep space stations operating efficiently. They will clean, inspect the equipment, and fix anything broken.

They frequently come into public view only when an astronaut is about to leave Earth. However, the reality is that they spend the majority of their time outdoors. Astronauts devote their days (and even nights) to training and supporting other astronauts on missions when they aren’t in space.

The duties of an astronaut vary depending on their mission and their role within the mission, but some general duties include:

  • Training: Astronauts undergo extensive training in various areas, such as spacecraft systems, spacewalking, robotics, and scientific experiments.
  • Mission planning: Astronauts participate in planning and preparing their mission, including selecting experiments to be conducted and developing procedures for various mission activities.
  • Launch and landing: Astronauts are responsible for monitoring their spacecraft during launch and landing, including checking systems and performing any necessary actions.
  • Conducting experiments: During the mission, astronauts perform experiments and collect data in biology, physics, and Earth observation.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Astronauts must maintain and repair equipment and systems on the spacecraft as needed.
  • Communication: Astronauts communicate with mission control and other crew members to coordinate activities and provide status updates.
  • Exercise and health maintenance: Astronauts must exercise regularly to maintain their physical health in the microgravity environment. They also participate in medical experiments to study the effects of spaceflight on the human body.
  • Public outreach: Astronauts often participate in public outreach activities, such as speaking engagements and educational programs, to share their experiences and promote space exploration.

Can I Become An Astronaut In High School?

While it is not possible to become an astronaut in high school, it is certainly possible to start taking steps towards a career as an astronaut.

To start working towards a career as an astronaut, focus on your education and pursue a degree in a STEM field. Look for opportunities to gain experience in your field, such as internships or research opportunities. You can also participate in extracurricular activities like robotics or rocketry clubs to develop your skills and interests.

Astronauts are highly trained professionals with advanced science, engineering, or medicine degrees. They often have years of experience in their field before being selected for astronaut training.

What Courses Do I Need To Take In High School To Become An Astronaut?

To become an astronaut, you must have a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Here are some courses that can help you prepare for a career as an astronaut:

  1. Math: Courses in calculus, linear algebra, and statistics are important for developing strong quantitative skills.
  2. Physics: Courses in mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics are important for understanding the laws of motion and energy.
  3. Chemistry: Courses in organic and inorganic chemistry are important for understanding the properties and behaviour of matter.
  4. Biology: Courses in anatomy, physiology, and microbiology are important for understanding the human body and how it responds to spaceflight.
  5. Engineering: Courses in aerospace, mechanical, and electrical engineering are important for understanding the design and operation of spacecraft and their systems.
  6. Computer Science: Computer programming and data analysis courses are important for understanding spaceflight software and data systems.

In addition to these courses, developing strong communication, leadership, and teamwork skills is important. You can participate in extracurricular activities such as team sports, student government, or volunteer work.

Remember that becoming an astronaut is highly competitive, so it’s important to focus on maintaining a high GPA, gaining relevant work experience, and participating in activities demonstrating your commitment to space exploration.

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What Should A Student Do In High School To Become An Astronaut?

As a high school student wishing to become an astronaut, you must focus on STEM subjects.

Take the most challenging courses in these areas that are offered to you. The following courses are possible but not required: AP Calculus BC, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry. Show leadership qualities and an interest in STEM outside the classroom, too! This can involve undertaking an individual study, registering for a summer STEM program, or participating in extracurricular activities that hone your technical and programming abilities.

You can also take classes on coding, app development and robotics. Finally, work on honing additional skills, such as communication and critical thinking. Practically any occupation will benefit from these soft skills, and problem-solving, quick thinking, and good communication are essential for astronauts. Therefore, don’t overlook classes like English and foreign languages that will aid in developing these key skills.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Astronaut?

After six years of schooling and two years of skilled experience, astronauts must undergo two years of compulsory basic training. All of this adds up to about ten years of preparation.

After that, astronauts may need to wait for months or years before taking up their first space mission. Before leaving Earth, astronauts must finish advanced mission training, equipping them for space exploration.

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Are There Physical Requirements Needed To Become An Astronaut?

Candidates for astronaut positions must have 20/20 vision naturally or with corrective lenses. To endure the effects of microgravity on blood circulation in the body, they must have a healthy blood pressure level that does not exceed 140/90.

According to NASA, candidates must be between 62 and 75 inches tall, or 157.48 and 190.5 centimetres. To reach controls, astronauts must be tall enough, but not too tall, that their spacesuit or other areas within a spacecraft or on the space station are too small.

To become an astronaut, candidates must also be in peak physical condition to pass the NASA long-duration flight. Astronaut training is notoriously difficult and lasts for two years. The atmospheric variations they encounter in space are exposed several times daily to adapt trainees to these conditions. They practice swimming and treading water while wearing bulky space suits in antigravity rooms and water.

Is It Difficult To Become An Astronaut?

It is not easy to become an astronaut. Even if NASA accepts your application, it’ll take some time before you eventually fly a spacecraft.

NASA selects a new class of astronauts every four years or so, and many individuals apply. In 2013, 6,000 people sought to become astronauts; NASA chose eight. In 2017, a record 18,300 people applied; only 12 were approved — an acceptance rate of less than 1%. For NASA’s class of 2017, only 12 out of 18,300 astronaut applicants were selected, representing an acceptance rate of less than 1%.

You must first finish two years of basic training. That covers both in-class learning and physical training.

FAQs On What Should A Student Do In High School To Become An Astronaut

Is It Difficult To Become An Astronaut?

It is not easy to become an astronaut. Even if NASA accepts your application, it’ll take some time before you eventually fly a spacecraft.

How Long does it take to Become an Astronaut?

After six years of schooling and two years of professional experience, astronauts must complete two years of compulsory basic training. All of this adds up to about ten years of preparation.

What Courses Do I Need To Take In High School To Become An Astronaut?

To become an astronaut, you must have a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. You must take courses in Chemistry, Physics, Math, Biology, Engineering and Computer Science.


Becoming an astronaut is a long-term goal requiring high dedication and hard work. If you’re a high school student with dreams of exploring space, there are several steps you can take to start your journey. By focusing on your academics, developing your science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, and seeking relevant experiences and opportunities, you can pave the way for a successful career in space exploration.


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