So You Want to Be an Astronaut? Here's What it Takes

Astronaut Career path

Becoming an astronaut doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of education and experience to meet the necessary qualifications. It's perhaps one of the most challenging career paths one could take. However, if it's truly your passion, then go ahead and make it big. Let's dive into the article to know the here route to become a successful astronaut.

Eligibility Criteria and Higher Studies

Aspiring candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from a reputed institution in biological sciences, engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences degree. Besides, it's also necessary to be an experienced pilot with over 1000 hours of in-command time on a jet aircraft.

Curriculum and Core Subjects Some of the core courses in Biological Sciences are:

Biology (35 credits)

Core courses
  1. BIOL 141 Foundations of Biology: Cells, Energy & Organisms
  2. BIOL 142 Foundations of Biology: Ecology & Evolution
  3. BIOL 302 Molecular and General Genetics
  4. BIOL 303 Cell Biology
  5. BIOL 300L Experimental Biology Laboratory
Elective courses (four lecture, two laboratories)
  1. One Column A elective
  2. One Column B elective
  3. One Column A or B elective
  4. One BIOL 4XX Lecture course (except BIOL 430, 442, 495, 497H, 499 or 499H)
  5. Two Upper Level Laboratory electives
Column A electives
  1. BIOL 275 Microbiology
  2. BIOL 304 Plant Biology
  3. BIOL 305 Animal Physiology
  4. BIOL 306 Molecular Biology
  5. BIOL 307 Human Physiology
  6. BIOL 313 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  7. BIOL 430 Biological Chemistry
  8. BIOL 442 Developmental Biology
  9. BIOL 495 Seminar in Bioinformatics
Column B electives
  1. Any BIOL 4XX lecture course (except BIOL 430, 442, 495, 497H, 499, 499H, or 499L)
  2. CHEM 352 Organic Chemistry II and CHEM 352L Organic Chemistry Lab II (must take both)
  3. CHEM 437 Comprehensive Biochemistry I
  4. CHEM 438 Comprehensive Biochemistry II
  5. GES 406 Aquatic Ecology
  6. GES 408 Field Ecology
  7. GES 413 Seminar in Biogeography
  8. Laboratory electives
    1. Any BIOL 3XX or 4XX Lab course (except BIOL 300L or BIOL 499L)
    2. Students may replace one upper level Biology lab with two semesters of BIOL 499, plus one semester of either BIOL 499L or BIOL 497H

    Chemistry (15 credits)

    1. CHEM 101 Principles of Chemistry I
    2. CHEM 102 Principles of Chemistry II
    3. CHEM 102L Introductory Chemistry Lab I
    4. CHEM 351 Organic Chemistry I
    5. CHEM 351L Organic Chemistry Lab I

    Physics (8 credits)

    1. Physics 111 Basic Physics I (or PHYS 121)
    2. Physics 112 Basic Physics II (or PHYS 122)

    Mathematics & Statistics (11-12 credits) 

    1. MATH 151 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
    2. STAT 350 Statistics with Applications or STAT 355 Intro to Probability and Statistics for Scientists/Engineers
    3. MATH/STAT/CMSC elective
    MATH/ STAT/CMSC elective
    1. MATH 152 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
    2. MATH 221 Introduction to Linear Algebra
    3. STAT 414 Environmental Statistics
    4. STAT 420 Statistics for Bioinformatics
    5. STAT 454 Applied Statistics
    6. CMSC 104 Problem Solving and Computer Programming
    7. CMSC 201 Computer Science I for Majors

     

    Careers Related to the Field

    Some of the careers related to the field are:
    1. Aerospace Engineer
    2. Operations Technicians
    3. Astronomers
    4. Physicists

    Salary

    According to the current pay scales, an astronaut can earn a salary ranging from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. Rs.11 lakh per annum. 

    Top Universities

    Some of the top universities and colleges in India are:

    1. Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
    2. Bihar Institute of Technology, Sindri (Ranchi).
    3. Mohammad Sathak Engineering College, Kilakarai.
    4. Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
    5. Siddhartha Institute of Aeronautical Engineering and Information Technology
    6. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
    7. Bangalore Institute of Aeronautical Engineering and Information Technology, Bangalore
    8. Indian Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, Dehradun
    9. Guru Gram Institute of Aeronautical Engineering & Technology
    10. Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai

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