- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Amazingly enough, NASA will soon be hiring astronauts again, what with space flights to Mars on the far horizon, and a push to return human spaceflight launches to American soil. The federal space agency notes there are more human spacecraft in development in the U.S. “than at any other time in history,” and will begin accepting applications on Dec. 14. And the rides here?

The next class of astronauts may fly aboard the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle. NASA seeks pilots, engineers, scientists, medical doctors. No call for journalists at the moment, though.

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” says an optimistic Charles Bolden, NASA administrator.

The age of astronaut hires have ranged all the way up to 46; the average age is 34. But now that 70 is supposed to be the new 50, older people could have a chance. Well, maybe. U.S. citizenship is a must and both military and civilian applicants are welcome.

Salaries for civilian candidates are based upon the federal pay scale for grades GS-11 through GS-14. “Currently a GS-11 starts at $66,026 per year and a GS-14 can earn up to $144,566 per year,” NASA states in an advisory. There are educational and medical dimensions to the application as well — but the journey essentially begins here: Astronauts.NASA.gov


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