Astronauts fly spacecraft or work as part of the crew.

What does an astronaut do?

Duties are usually split between maintaining and repairing the spacecraft, as well as conducting scientific experiments and research. You might be responsible for cleaning and maintaining life-support systems on board, such as air filters, oxygen production systems and water systems, or repairing scientific instruments, setting up experiments and collecting data.

What do I need to do to become an astronaut?

You’ll need to be physically fit as well as having technological and scientific skills, with at least three years’ experience in your field of expertise. Most astronauts are aged between 27 and 37 and are able to work well as part of a team, cope with confined living conditions and keep calm in emergencies. Psychological and medical tests form part of application process.

It is possible to apply to become an astronaut after gaining experience as a pilot of high-performance aircraft, such as a fighter jet. You will need to have logged over 1,000 hours of piloting aircraft.

Related skills

  • Discipline
  • Physical fitness
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Technical ability

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Maths
  • Physics

Desirable qualifications

  • PhD in physics, biology, engineering, maths, information technology or chemistry

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Training can take place at different centres around the world, in Japan and Canada, for example. One you’ve completed your training you might spend up to six months working on The International Space Station.

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