NASA looking for a few good astronauts

NASA today said it is accepting applications for the 2009 Astronaut Candidate Class. Those selected could fly to space for long-duration stays on the International Space Station and missions to the moon and who knows maybe Mars. To be considered, a bachelor's degree in engineering, science or math and three years of relevant professional experience are required. Typically, successful applicants have significant qualifications in engineering or science, or extensive experience flying high-performance jet aircraft - a requirement that might slim the field some.

Teaching experience, including work at the kindergarten through 12th grade level, is considered qualifying. Educators with the appropriate educational background are encouraged to apply. After a six-month period of evaluation and interviews, NASA will announce final selections in early 2009. Astronaut candidates will report to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in the summer of 2009 to begin the basic training program to prepare them for future spaceflight assignments.

NASA says applicant should be aware that selection as an astronaut candidate does not ensure selection as an astronaut. Final selection as an astronaut will depend upon satisfactory completion of a training and evaluation period that lasts approximately two years at Johnson Space Center. Astronauts are responsible for many other technical duties and training at NASA when they are not training for a specific flight or conducting a mission. The duties can include scientific research, mission control communication with on-orbit crews, robotic training, spacewalk training, aircraft operations, technical design and engineering, and wilderness training.

NASA usually selects a new class of about 100 astronauts every other year, but is not required to do so. It has cancelled such hirings in 2001, 1988 and 1986All U.S. citizens, both civilian and military, who are qualified and super-motivated can apply for these positions.NASA will accept applications through July 1, 2008. To apply go here.

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