For the first time in four years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now entertaining applicants for the new batch of astronauts as part of its expansion program.
“The agency will accept applications from December 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle,” it said on its official website.
The job is available to both men and women who have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in mathematics, physical science, engineering, or biological science, with more advanced degrees considered “more desirable.” Applicants must also have earned at least a total of 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft, which is equivalent to three years professional experience.
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet. Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space,” explained NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
Pushing for ‘new boundaries’
The growing space exploration milieu has encouraged the American space agency to expand and elevate its efforts in conducting groundbreaking discoveries in space. NASA, according to Bolden, is now planning to push for new boundaries in space exploration with a particular focus on confirming Mars’ potential as the second Earth.
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” Bolden added.
The lull in NASA’s hiring could be traced back to 2008 when the global financial crisis befell the country and stifled its economy. During this period, every aspect of the economy was put in a state of crisis, leaving the space agency without a choice but to make do of the smaller, diminished budget. Since 1999, the number of astronauts in the department has been reduced by one-third, a relatively high attrition rate that could never happen again due to the improved economic condition in the country.
Helping the agency are the institutions and corporations contributing to the research and development segment in the industry. In the early quarter of this year, tech innovator Thunder Energies Corporation (OTCQB: TNRG) launched the Santilli Telescope, the first and only optical instrument that could detect antimatter particles and galaxies. The company’s newest product has shaken the world of professional astronomy as it is the first time in history that the elusive negative particle’s verity has been proven outside a mathematical equation. The company revealed that the telescope is also available to amateur astronomers as it is to professionals.
“This is an exciting time to be a part of America’s human spaceflight program. NASA has taken the next step in the evolution of our nation’s human spaceflight program and our U.S. astronauts will be at the forefront of these new and challenging space flight missions,” said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA reassured that there would be more openings in the agency after its last recruitment in August of 2011. It was also the year when NASA retired the space shuttle to focus on sending astronauts to low-Earth orbit missions.
By 2018, the agency will add new members to its existing live-aboard station crew, and after two years, in 2020, it will begin flying on a deep-space capsule called Orion. The planned 2016 budget for the agency is $18.3 billion, which is a conservative proposal against Congress’s $18.5 billion. The final budget is expected to be approved by next week.