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All active astronauts are employed by NASA, although some payload specialists may also be employed elsewhere, such as at a university or private company. All are NASA-trained and paid. Within the NASA program, astronauts may be classified as civil service employees or military personnel, depending on their background. Astronauts who gain astronaut status through their military branch remain members of that military branch and maintain their rank. Astronauts who go to college and test into the program are civil service employees.

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