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 How To Become An Astronaut? 

Date of Publish - Tuesday, 10th October 2017

An astronaut is someone who is given training by the spaceflight program to work as a pilot or as his team in a spacecraft. They travel to space where they conduct experiments or repair/replace parts of satellites.

Qualifying exam

Aspirants who wish to become astronauts’ needs to have a bachelor’s degree in biological science, engineering, mathematics or physical science from a recognized university. They then need to obtain any one of the following degrees from renowned institutes like IISC or IIT.

Candidates can go for:

  • PhD (Astrophysics).
  • PhD (Geophysics).
  • PhD (Metaphysics).

After graduation, the candidates can appear for the entrance exam, which is held by the NASA for the recruitment of scientists, astronauts etc. Candidates can also find employment in ISRO. There are many openings in ISRO, which are conducted for the recruitment of scientists and engineers. In order to join the ISRO, the candidates need to clear the ‘Joint Entrance Exam’ set by the IIT’s.

Who is eligible to apply?

Citizenship: Candidates who wish to join ISRO need to be citizens of India

Age Limit: Candidate should be at least 21 years at the time of joining. The age limit is flexible for candidates belonging to the SC/ST category.

Qualification: Graduates from a recognized board or university.

How to prepare for exam and interview

Candidates need to pass the screening test first. They should submit the application online. Next they need to undergo tests in professional and psychological aptitude assessment, which includes behavioral and logical skills. After that they will go through a Medical evaluation. The final stage is an interview where the candidate will be judged before he/she is selected. The candidates should remember that only 2 or 3 people out of scores of candidates would be chosen at the end. So, they need to be prepared for the toughest competition.

Difference between Astronomer and Astronaut

Astronomer and Astronaut are related job profiles in matters associated with space and universe. Astronomers are space scientists, who carry out research on content, motion, and matter of celestial bodies, planets, etc. Applying principles of physics and mathematics carries out the studies. Those who are trained to command, pilot and travel in space are simply referred to as Astronaut. They are professional space travelers who are responsible to carry out certain space missions. Both the jobs require high educational qualifications and expertise in the work area. By gaining experience in the profile, both the professionals can move in to high-grade positions with increased responsibility.

Astronomer and Opportunities

Since the job of Astronomer includes a lot of research, most of the firms prefer doctorate degree holders for the position of the same. The candidate has to pursue graduation and post graduation in astronomy in order to obtain higher studies in the area. They should possess sound knowledge in areas of Physics, astronomy, and mathematics. Upon completion of the course, the candidates can find opportunities in academics, observatories, planetariums, museums and with most reputed organizations like National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), VSSC, etc.

Astronaut and Opportunities

Those who have completed bachelor’s degree in any of the areas of biological science, engineering, mathematics or physical science are eligible to apply for the post of astronaut. Those who possess doctorate degree in any of the areas of astrophysics Graduates from geophysics or metaphysics are also eligible to apply for the position. Most of the reputed organizations such as ISRO, NASA, etc. carry out entrance exams for the selection of candidates for the position of Astronaut.

Key differences between Astronomer and Astronaut

  • Astronomers are responsible for carrying out scientific research on celestial bodies and universe where as Astronaut are professional space travelers who usually carry out a unique mission to the space.
  • The job responsibility associated with Astronaut is much more challenging when compared to that of the Astronomer.
  • Those who are interested in research can choose the role of Astronomer where as those who are passionate to have an adventurous profession can select the profile of astronaut.

Anyway, both the profiles offer good career growth and lucrative salary packages to skilled and hardworking candidates. The job also offers fame and prestige for those who can make a mark in this area.

Difference between Astronaut and Cosmonaut

Both Astronauts and Cosmonaut are the professionals who work in the same field. Even though they work in the same field, their work nature is dissimilar. Astronauts are those people who are trained in piloting a spacecraft or servicing the same. Cosmonauts are the individuals who carry out their work outside the earth’s environment.

Astronaut Course and Career opportunities

Astronauts are the professionals who are trained to be a part of the space flight. They are properly trained in piloting the spacecrafts. In short, the astronauts should be very skillful in commanding the spaceflights and also should serve like a crew member. They will have enough knowledge about the life in space and the human relationship with space. It is a very rigorous process to become a successful astronaut. The first requirement is to pursue a proper course and they should have relevant work experience. However they should have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics or physical sciences to enter in this field.

The professionals from all sorts of backgrounds such as scientists, teachers, private citizens, military persons, etc. can become an Astronaut after acquiring the formal training. They should also fulfill the physical requirements. Candidates should have the particular height, eyesight, medical fitness, etc. as prescribed by the concerned organizations. Those satisfying these requirements will be given rigorous training which is for duration of two years.

Key differentiators between Astronaut and Cosmonaut

  1. Astronauts are the part of the spaceflight who performs the piloting of spacecrafts and serve as a crew member whereas Cosmonauts are those people who perform outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. Individuals from all sorts of background such as teachers, scientists, military persons, etc. can become Astronauts after acquiring the concerned rigorous training whereas those interested to become Cosmonauts should complete their education in the related field and training process.

Although Astronaut and Cosmonaut are the people who play the significant role in a spacecraft, their job nature and profile are different in certain aspects.


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