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Old 09-17-2017, 01:14 AM
 
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My daughter is currently a sophomore in HS and really wants to become an astronaut or as close to that as she can get.
Google search was not very informative so I thought of give it a shot on this forum...what classes at HS will help her, what extracurricular activities during her HS years would help and what degree one seeks for in the University level? And any specific colleges or Universities that have degrees that major in anything to do with being an astronaut or close?. Thank you
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:47 AM
 
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airforce or army with mos 40a or 40c
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Old 09-17-2017, 06:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunseaker View Post
My daughter is currently a sophomore in HS and really wants to become an astronaut or as close to that as she can get.
Google search was not very informative so I thought of give it a shot on this forum...what classes at HS will help her, what extracurricular activities during her HS years would help and what degree one seeks for in the University level? And any specific colleges or Universities that have degrees that major in anything to do with being an astronaut or close?. Thank you
I personally know two astronauts, both female, one from the latest class just announced this past summer and one from the previous class announced 4 years ago in 2013. I worked with both down in Antarctica.

The first from the 2013 class, had a BS and MS in engineering from NC State and worked for the same contractor as myself, down in Antarctica for years. She also worked in Greenland and was working for NOAA out in American Samoa when she was chosen.

The other from the 2017 class, got her BS and MS from UNC-Chapel Hill in biological sciences and was getting her PhD at Penn State in maybe astrobiology or something like that. She has to go to astronaut training for the next 2 years, but will finish her PhD after that. She worked down in Antarctica for a scientist for a few summers and also worked with NASA at a site up in British Columbia for years. She's interested in finding microbes on other planets.

While it seems NASA still likes to choose half the class from military officers with MS/PhD/MD degrees, if your daughter doesn't want to join the military, I would recommend, getting her BS and MS in engineering/biological sciences or even PhD if she can, and try to get research experience in very remote/unusal places. I think the minimum for being an astronaut is an MS. She can also go after her MD, they seem to choose a doctor every class or so. Astrobiology seems to the hot/sexy degree/major out there, but very few schools, I believe, offer that major currently.

I also know of a third person, a male, who also worked down in Antarctica over multiple seasons and currently works for NASA in Houston as an engineer. He has a BS and MS in aerospace engineering and has tried, over the last 3 astronaut cycles to get in, and still hasn't made the final cut. I'm not sure how far he got each time. There's many reapplicants, who make it pretty far the first or second time but are not picked, then 4 years later, they reapply and are finally chosen with that class. I'm not sure there is any "blueprint" out there to becoming an astronaut, except having a science background. They say becoming an astronaut is one of the hardest occupations to get into, because they select so few and it's only usually every 4 years or so.

Obviously, if you make it to the final 24 or 30 people, before the final cut, all of those people are definitely qualified to become an astronaut and each could easily be chosen as a finalist, but sometimes it just comes down to personality and the type of person you are.

Last edited by cjseliga; 09-17-2017 at 07:05 AM..
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:22 AM
 
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This is from NASA

https://astronauts.nasa.gov/content/faq.htm


Their site also mentions completing a military water survival course and scuba training.

Obviously, beside brain power, physical conditioning is important.

While space travel is no longer strictly the domain of military pilots/test pilots, being in these fields indicates the ability to successfully pass long term courses of instruction that are physically and mentally rigorous.

Your daughter also need to spend time just being a kid, or she will be burned out before she even finishes her undergrad.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:54 AM
 
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In high school, she'll want to take higher math --- calculus, AP classes, etc. Physics and chemistry if offered. In college, major in a key STEM degree -- engineering, physics, astrophysics, perhaps geology (though geology isn't a real science according to Sheldon). Part of what she need to decide if she wants to compete as a pilot astronaut or mission specialist type position. If pilot astronaut, she should go for ROTC or one of the academies, preferably AFA since they have a space related project as part of the degree if you go that path. Then go to flight training, become a pilot, etc. Then get a STEM masters. If she doesn't want to be a pilot, then head for a STEM PhD in a space related field. After that it's do space related research or job and apply when the recruitment announcement comes out. It's a stiff competition and has much to do with what they are looking for at the time (IE more pilots or more scientists? What kind of scientists? What missions are they planning for the long term? etc)


While in college, participate in the appropriate professional society of the discipline. Be an outreach ambassador for the school. Basically fully develop herself as someone who can talk knowledgeable to public audiences, present herself well, and translate scientific and technical concepts to the public. Because while half an astronaut's job is technical, the other half is being the public face of NASA.
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:08 PM
 
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There was an article on the CNN website today on this very topic:

Want a job as a NASA astronaut? Read this
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:27 PM
 
15,592 posts, read 13,056,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunseaker View Post
My daughter is currently a sophomore in HS and really wants to become an astronaut or as close to that as she can get.
Google search was not very informative so I thought of give it a shot on this forum...what classes at HS will help her, what extracurricular activities during her HS years would help and what degree one seeks for in the University level? And any specific colleges or Universities that have degrees that major in anything to do with being an astronaut or close?. Thank you
Military academy with an engineering or science degree is her best bet.

Do they JROTC at her school?
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Old 09-17-2017, 02:33 PM
 
Location: USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
Military academy with an engineering or science degree is her best bet.

Do they JROTC at her school?
^^^^^This. My guess is next year she'll want to be a doctor, then after that a marine biologist, and then after that.......... Then she will discover boys........
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
33,878 posts, read 32,217,705 times
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Originally Posted by Pilot1 View Post
^^^^^This. My guess is next year she'll want to be a doctor, then after that a marine biologist, and then after that.......... Then she will discover boys........
When I was in school in the 1960s, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I remembered I can't even ride backwards in a train or car and get nauseous on any amusement park ride faster than a merry-go-round. I can't watch TV shows or movies where the camera stays on the middle line in the road or the sun peeks through the treetops while the car moves. That was the end of that.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:58 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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One thing from personal experience: every military aviator wants to be an astronaut, at least for a little while.

The original classes of astronauts were primarily military test pilots with college degrees, not all were engineers. Chuck Yeager wasn't qualified because only had a high school diploma.

Starting with the Apollo program NASA still wanted that but then through today the emphasis became people with advanced degrees, primarily engineering with some biology.

Going back to my very first comment about everyone wanting to be an astronaut. During USN Flight School the Navy usually brings in some astronauts to talk to the class. Even back in 1981 when I did the Flight School thing, that was before the Shuttle flew, those guys were so smart they scared you.
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