Astronauts conduct experiments and gather information while in space flight, including on the International Space Station. They also conduct experiments with the spacecraft itself to develop new concepts in design, engineering, and the navigation of a vehicle outside the earth's atmosphere.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Commanders, Flight Engineers, Mission Specialists
Duties Conduct experiments and gather information while in outer space; fly spacecraft
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) All NASA astronauts work at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience At least three years of related experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot in-command time in jet aircraft
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Leadership
  • Math
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements Must pass a NASA space physical and meet requirements for blood pressure, height, and vision
Employment Prospects Poor
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Manager at NASA or in the Private Aerospace Industry
  • Mission Commander
  • Astronaut
  • Astronaut Candidate

Related Industries

Become a Vault Basic Member

Complete your Vault Profile and get seen by top employers