Feeds

NASA to recruit fresh batch of astronauts

Fancy going into space once every ten years?

Application security programs and practises

Ever wanted to get into space, armed with your three PhDs or test pilot's licence, but nothing suitable comes up in the Jobcentre search? Well luckily for you, NASA is hunting for a new class of astronauts - but, be warned, new recruits may wait a long time to get into space.

NASA is seeking astronaut candidates who will undertake long-duration missions to the International Space Station and future, possible, deep space exploration. They want to spend two years training up science, maths and engineering boffins who have dreamed of following sci-fi heroes' flight paths into space and pilots who have "extensive experience flying high-performance jet aircraft".

NASA astronauts, picture credit: NASA

Worst game of Twister ever. Picture credit: NASA

Additional requirements on the job description sheet include the ability to pass the NASA long­-duration space flight physical, be between 62 and 75in tall, and possess some serious academic credentials - at least science postgraduate level. Oh, you also need to be a citizen of the United States.

In the years since the first manned space flight in 1961, NASA has only approved 330 astronaut candidates. There are 88 astronauts active in America today.

However, with US government retrenching on space spending, unless there is a substantial cash injection from somewhere, long-distance missions to Mars or beyond could be as far off as the 2030s. Even trips to the Moon have been kiboshed for the foreseeable future.

So it could well be that these novice 'nauts never get to go beyond the International Space Station, and not even frequently at that. The six-person station is also the sole space job provider for almost every astronaut on Earth: those of the US, Europe, Canada, Russia and Japan. Station crews change over on a four to six month cycle, meaning that on average - if the ISS is the only generator of manned missions on offer outside China - an astronaut can only expect to go into space every decade or so.

However it is crucial to keep astronauts trained and skilled up should funding suddenly rain down on the space agency, something that NASA head Charles Bolden stressed back in 2010 when the cuts were announced.

Bolden told reporters:

When we talk about going to distant places like Mars, the moon, an asteroid, we will not be able to take someone off the street, train them for a few weeks and expect them to go off and do the types of missions we will demand of them. We can’t do that today. To me, that requires a professional cadre of astronauts.

Applications are now open and training begins in August 2013: see here for more info. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.