Want to become a NASA astronaut? Here are 9 things you need to know

Want to become a NASA astronaut? Here are 9 things you need to know
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley, left, and Bob Behnken. (Bill Ingalls/AP)

With the countdown to liftoff on for the first manned launch from the Space Coast in nearly a decade, many might be dreaming about the future of spaceflight and what it would be like to blast off into space.

As NASA continues to expand human exploration in our solar system, officials said they will need more than the currently active astronauts to crew spacecraft bound for multiple deep-space destinations.

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Want to be one of them? Here are nine things you should know, according to NASA:

  1. To become an astronaut, NASA says you must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. You also much have a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, from an accredited institution.
  3. If you don’t have a master’s degree, NASA says that requirement can also be met by two years of work toward a doctoral program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field; a completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree; or completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.
  4. NASA says astronauts also must have at least two years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  5. According to NASA, astronaut candidates must also have skills in leadership, teamwork and communications.
  6. In 2016, NASA said it received a record-breaking 18,300 applications.
  7. NASA said its Astronaut Selection Board reviews the applications and assesses each candidate’s qualifications and then invites a small group of the most highly qualified candidates for interviews at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
  8. Of those interviewed, about half are invited back for second interviews. From that group, NASA said its new astronaut candidates are selected.
  9. NASA said those candidates report for training at Johnson and spend the next two years learning basic astronaut skills like spacewalking, operating the space station, flying T-38 jet planes and controlling a robotic arm.
Video: NASA, SpaceX making final preparations ahead of historic launch from Kennedy Space Center