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Astronaut

Astronauts fly spacecraft and do experiments in space.

Potential salary

£40,000 to £80,000

Employment by 2024

+2.64%

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • leadership skills
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Your duties could include:

  • cleaning and testing air filters and air quality
  • repairing, maintaining and testing oxygen production systems
  • cleaning and maintaining water systems and testing for bacterial growth
  • packaging and disposing of waste
  • replacing worn or broken parts on the spacecraft
  • installing or repairing scientific instruments and equipment
  • setting up, carrying out and monitoring experiments
  • taking samples, like blood, from astronauts to assess their health
  • communicating with Earth by satellite to transfer data and send reports

You could work at a training centre.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding, cramped and you may spend nights away from home.

You’ll have several years’ training before you’re ready to be selected for a mission. It may take you years to be selected for a space flight. Once you’re selected, you’ll get mission specific training. Your flight in space could last between 6 months and a year.

With experience you could be selected for other missions. You could also move into management, teaching, research or set up your own consultancy business.

You can discover more about how to become an astronaut from the European Space Agency and SpaceCareers.uk.

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