So You Wanna Be An Astronaut


The gringa is excited over a recent news release from NASA. Can my dear reader guess what that would be? No, they didn’t offer me an astronaut training slot. They did, however, announce that they will soon be accepting applications for astronaut candidates. Anticipating future plans of more humans involved in space travel means training future astronauts. Never before in America’s history has spacecraft development been on the scale that it is now.

If the thought of living in the tropical paradise of Florida’s beaches during on-world missions and hurtling through the atmosphere as you launch into your off-world missions appeals to you, it is time to update your resume! Applications will be accepted from December 14, 2015 until mid February of  2016 with selected candidates being announced in the summer of 2017. Applications and resumes can be submitted for consideration at www.usajobs.gov.

The next generation of U.S. astronauts will serve on four different types of spacecraft: the International Space Station, two types of commercial spacecraft, CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon, developed by private U.S. companies, and the Orion deep-space exploration vehicle. The days of the shuttle are pretty much over and we are entering into a completely new mode of space travel.

These new modes of space travel also enable larger crews. This will result in NASA being able to double the amount of research time in space. This will naturally result in more technological developments being accomplished within shorter periods of time. We may be slowly marching at the moment, but very soon it will feel as if we are sprinting through the annals of progress.

Who is it that NASA is looking for as future astronauts? They need pilots, engineers, scientists, and doctors.  They want these candidates to come from the diverse citizen class of Americans, not the military. Yes! Regular folks will eventually be puttering about the Red Planet!

Future astronauts will participate in six month and year long missions. They will join the 300+ astronaut roster that currently fulfill challenging missions that not only further progress in deep space exploration but also benefit mankind that is still Earthbound. Right now there are almost fifty astronauts that are active. To achieve future goals many more are needed.

What kind of qualifications do you need? To start with, you need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, bio-science, mathematics, or physical science. You also need three years of experience in your field that shows steady progress toward a professional level. And, you need at least 1,000 hours of pilot command experience flying jets. If you can check all of that off your list, then get yourself in the best shape of your life because qualified candidates will also have to pass a grueling spaceflight physical.

Interested? Then check out this link… www.nasa.gov/astronauts.

And, if you apply and get a chance to fly with the big boys, you absolutely MUST drop the gringa a line. I want to know ALL about it!

How To Get A Job With NASA As A Research Assistant


If you have dreams of outer space like the gringa, just what opportunity is there at NASA? Who are they looking for? What qualifications should upcoming NASA employees plan to pad their resumes with? How much does such an interesting and dynamic job pay?

Over half of the jobs available with NASA are at the professional levels for engineers and scientists. If you plan to have a top notch job application for one of these positions, be sure to take as many classes as possible in mathematics, computer and aerospace engineering, meteorology, and even accounting.

About twenty-five percent of opportunities are for administrative staff. This kind of NASA role involves analytical skills, top notch researching abilities, specialization with information technology, and budgeting experience. These are college graduate level careers and critical for project management.

There is high level competition to get coveted aerospace industry jobs. One of the things to do to secure your best chance of getting hired at NASA is to find a mentor. Many universities have agreements with NASA for research assistants. Check this avenue out to help get a foot in the door for a shot at a job that has earning potential from $11,000 – $30,000 annually.

An example of a NASA research assistant job with a college is one that was recently advertised by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University. They announced an opening for a Research Assistant in the “Science Planner on the Science Operations Team of the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst” program. This is an ongoing NASA mission that has been operating since 2004.  Such a position requires a college degree in Physics or Astronomy.

Need scientists only apply? Well, not according to Angela Beaman who has a degree in Fine Arts. She got a research assistant position with NASA through the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University. The first thing she did was let a childhood curiosity about plants encourage an adult decision to pursue more knowledge. She showed up at the university’s horticultural center and simply started asking questions. That eventually led to a NASA fellowship studying the cultivation of basil through hydroponics. She explains that the most important trait to have in pursuing career dreams at NASA is determination which will see a person through a lifetime of continuing education.

As the gringa tends to her humble little patio garden, I consider how important these things are that we often take for granted. For space exploration to be possible at the “next level”, it’s not enough to know how to keep humans alive. We also have to know how to keep alive organisms that are life sustaining. Astronauts have to be able to provide some green stuff for long-term missions. This not only feeds their stomachs, but also their lungs as technology advances to create a self-contained biosphere that can sustain life through a long-duration mission. If you want to be a part, take some classes, ask questions, and get involved on any level.

Sources:

www.nasa.gov

https://www.quora.com/How-hard-is-it-to-get-a-research-assistant-position-at-NASA

http://www.careerbliss.com/nasa/salaries/graduate-research-assistant/

http://jobregister.aas.org/node/47927

Photo credit:

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/plantgrowth/careercorner/Angela_Beaman_Profile.html