Here's an e-mail I sent to a young high school student with all sorts of personal opinions expressed. These are MY opinions, and I expect to be flamed on some of them. Ozzie From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Oct 29 18:22:13 1996 Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 18:19:56 -0500 (EST) From: Ozzie N4SCY <email@example.com> Reply-To: Ozzie N4SCY <firstname.lastname@example.org > To: KMerkel175@ Subject: How to become an Astronaut - OPINIONS On 1996 October 18, KMerkel175@ wrote: > The thing i want to know is: > How can i become an Astronaut.It's been my dream since i was a child, > and i want to know what i must do when i want to become an > Astronaut.Please send me your answer. > Thanx > Meik Dittrich >Hi Meik, Here's the Official NASA Answer to your question:
> How can I become an Astronaut? > Any adult man or woman in excellent physical condition who > meets the basic qualifications can be selected to enter > astronaut training. > > For mission specialists and pilot astronauts, the minimum > requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering, > science or mathematics from an accredited institution. Three > years of related experience must follow the degree, and an > advanced degree is desirable. Pilot astronauts must have at > least 1,000 hours of experience in jet aircraft, and they need > better vision than mission specialists. Competition is > extremely keen, with an average of over 4,000 applicants for > about 20 openings every 2 years. > > Astronaut recruiting occurs periodically. For more information, > write to the Astronaut Selection Office, NASA Johnson Space > Center, Houston,TX 77058.Now if I thought this was all you needed to know, then I would just end my message here. After all, these are The Rules. What I suspect you're looking for is ADVICE on how to become an Astronaut. First comes some advice I've got concerning rules:
What NASA has said are The Rules for becoming an Astronaut. We have to look at them with a creative eye. So, lets look at what this means from a practical standpoint. It means you're NOT going to fly on a Falcon or Vulcan in the next week or three. It will mean years of getting enough "experience points" to measure up to the standards NASA has set for the Astronaut Corps. Let's break down what they're telling you:
You can't break The Rules, but once you know what
they are, you can abuse the heck out of them!
> Any adult man or woman in excellent physical condition who > meets the basic qualifications can be selected to enter > astronaut training.
Hyperlinks used in Ozzie's Lecture at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
OOPS! I FORGOT!!
If you would like Ozzie to lecture your group on space related topics, call him at:
> For mission specialists and pilot astronauts, the minimum > requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering, > science or mathematics from an accredited institution.OK, this requirement is for BOTH mission specialists (who have the most interesting jobs once the spacecraft acheives orbit), and pilots (who better know something more than just being a "joystick jockey" if they're going to spend a week or two doing more than twidling their thumbs).
> Three > years of related experience must follow the degree, and an > advanced degree is desirable.So you're going to have to get into the Research Communitty where all that experience comes from. Don't worry here, since there are some really interesting people in the research communitty. These are all the folks that Bill Nye (The Science Guy) talks to all the time. The trick here is to pick an area that you're interested in anyway, so all this research you're going to be doing looks like work to someone else, but is fun for you. We're going to need all sorts of people experimenting on board the International Space Station. If you're leaning towards the Mars Landing missions, though, you might look into the areas of geology and chemistry so you can analyze what's found there.
> Pilot astronauts must have at > least 1,000 hours of experience in jet aircraft, and they need > better vision than mission specialists.When reading the rules, you don't necessarily follow them in the order given. Here, check the "vision" criteria first. If you're already wearing glasses, look at the research road, because pilots need to see better than that. But if you can see OK, this means that IF you're going to get "behind the stick" of a Spacecraft, you're going to have to join a Military Aviation program - the only place a young person can find "stick time" behind the joystick of a jet. Start looking at those recruiting posters with a new eye. Remember that to get into a Military Acadamy (a route that meets the Jet Jockey requirements, AND gets you through the college requirements - ABUSE those rules!), you need to get a recommendation from a Congressman or a Senator (go find out from your school guidence councilor what the rules for admission are). Do you live near an airport? Is there a chapter of the Civil Air Patrol nearby? This civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force provides Search and Rescue services using private aircraft, and are always happy to have a young cadet around to help out, and start to learn their way around an aircraft. Many Air Force Acadamy Cadets reach Colorado Springs with small aircraft experience and even a Pilot's License thanks to the Civil Air Patrol. I suspect that even Annapolis would smile on a Midshipman with this sort of experience.
> Competition is > extremely keen, with an average of over 4,000 applicants for > about 20 openings every 2 years.But you know what? Many of today's Astronauts were not only part of the other 3,980 applicants, they were part of that group a number of times! They kept applying. Perserverance is an admirable trait in an Astronaut Candidate, and it's encouraged. Does this make us look like we're setting out with a "conspiratorial" plan to get us where we want to go (like Space)? Well, it is. If you're going to get there, it will take LOTS of planning, and some hard work to make the plan work. The trick is to make the work seem like fun by finding fun, interesting people to work WITH. Meik, let's take a minute to look at the every day tasks of an Astronaut. I live down here, and I've met some of them, and I have a few of my own unprofessional obervations of what a NASA Astronaut is like. First off, they're just people. They really are just like you and me. But they are a little pickier than most people. They tend to be fanatical about things being "just right". This is because you can't just pop out to the local drug store if you forgot to pack enough film for the camera, or M&M's for snacking on. Not only that, but there is an interesting sidelight that I always liked in a science fiction novel ("Protector" by Larry Niven) in which the fellow from Earth is visting the Astroids, and is surprised that everything in his hotel room (like the air conditioning, elevators, and support equipment) works and is maintained, "as if someone's life depended on it".
ASCAN (Astronaut Candidate) |
(Meant to be humourous, but like most humor conatins the ring of truth) 1. Keep smiling, but not grinning 2. Keep your humor harmless, pure and perfect. People don't understand irony. 3. Keep your weaknesses to yourself. If you don't point them out to others, they will never see them. 4. Never complain; make survival look easy. 5. You are expected to say something nice after each flight, class, or simulation. 6. If you can't say something nice, lie -- nicely. 7. In particular, practice saying, "Thanks for pointing that out, sir. I'll really work on that." 8. Be aggressively humble and dynamically inconspicuous. Save your brilliance for your friends and family. 9. Remember -- whatever's encouraged is mandatory. Whatever's discouraged is prohibited. 10. Nothing is sometimes a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. REVIEW THIS LIST DAILY
Oops, almost forgot that last one. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the technical society of aerospace engineers. Call them at 1-800-639-2422 and ask them to send you a Student Membership packet. Find out if there is a Student Chapter of AIAA (pronounced A, I, Double A) at a college near you, then call and find out when they have meetings. Even if you are not a student of the college itself, as a fellow member of the AIAA, they'll be glad to have you attend their meetings. What you'll find is that if you show an interest, people will be happy to have you hang around and learn what you can. And remember, While I'll eventually want a patch from your first space mission, I really want a patch from your Astronaut Class in Houston! Good luck,
- Start Jogging
- Study Astronomy
- Learn the Phonetic Alphabet
- Get a Ham Radio license
- Join the Civil Air Patrol, or the Scouts
- Become a Student Member of the AIAA
Ozzie N4SCY mailto:email@example.com Robert Osband +1 321 543-8633 (321-Liftoff) PO Box 321 mailto:Ozzie@SpaceyIdeas.Com Titusville FL http://spaceyideas.com/ozzie/ 321 is MY Area Code! USA 32781 http://SpaceyIdeas.Com I asked for it, they approved it, so it's Originator of the Idea that MINE, right? (But I "The Countdown Capitol of the World" share) Should Get AREA CODE 3-2-1 http://321liftoff.net/areacode
Learn Russian!If you want to fly on board the International Space Station, You'll probebly have to work with our Russian partners. This means communicating with them. If you start learning Russian when you're younger, it will be easier to pick up, and will stand you in very good stead come selection time IMHO (In My Humble Opinion). Do you play a musical instrument? Guitar is good, since you can play it, as well as sing at the same time. Another good hobby to take into orbit with you - especially if you're planning on a long duration mission. What do you know about soccer - especially at the International level? You're going to need something to talk about with those astronauts from other nations. It's a good "common subject" to bone up on. Ozzie 2000-01-24 This doc: http://SpaceyIdeas.Com/astronaut.html