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Studying Abroad

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Alisha Mashruwala is a Partner at OnCourse and a Harvard graduate, and is also a Psychology major with a minor in Economics

My daughter wants to become an astronaut with NASA. She is currently in Grade X. What subjects does she need to study in school (IBDP Curriculum) to pursue training for becoming an astronaut later on? Also, what should her college education be in order to pursue her dream?
-Keval Patel

In order to pursue a career as an astronaut, please consider the following subjects requirement during school (Grade XI and XII):
HL (Higher Level): Math, Any two of: Biology, Chemistry, And Physics (a lot of students prefer Physics and Chemistry option);
Standard Level (SL): Economics/Business/Psychology, English, Hindi/Other Foreign Language.

The college level training depends on the level of Astronaut Training at NASA. There are different levels of astronauts in Space Training at NASA:
a) Commander and Pilot Astronaut Duties: Pilot astronauts serve as both Space Shuttle and International Space Station commanders and pilots. During flight, the commander has onboard responsibility for the vehicle, crew, mission success and safety of flight. The pilot assists the commander in controlling and operating the vehicle. Most Commander and Pilot Astronaut Duties are available only to US Citizens.

b) Mission Specialists: Mission specialist astronauts work with the commander and the pilot and have overall responsibility for coordinating operations in the following areas: systems, crew activity planning, consumables usage, and experiment/payload operations.

c) Payload Specialists: Payload specialists are persons other than NASA astronauts (including foreign nationals) who have specialized onboard duties; they may be added to shuttle crews if activities that have unique requirements are involved and more than the minimum crew size of five is needed.

Basic requirements for an Astronaut Pilot include the following:1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of academic preparation is important.2. At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable.3. Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:

Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye.
Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.

Height between 62 and 75 inches. Basic requirements for a Mission Specialist include the following:
1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. Degree must be followed by at least three years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for part or all of the experience requirement (master's degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience). Quality of academic preparation is important.

2. Ability to pass a NASA space physical, which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:

Distance visual acuity: 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye.
Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position.

3. Height between 58.5 and 76 inches.Basic requirements for a Payload Specialist include the following: Although payload specialists are not part of the Astronaut Candidate Program, they must have the appropriate education and training related to the payload or experiment. All applicants must meet certain physical requirements and must pass NASA space physical examinations with varying standards depending on classification.To find out more about the requirements for becoming a NASA Astronaut, please visit the links below. http://www.nasajobs.nasa.gov/astronauts

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