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How much does an astronaut earn in the United States?

How much does an astronaut earn in the United States?

How much does an astronaut earn in the United States? Surely more than once you have wondered how much an astronaut earns, because the preparation, the fame, the space adventure, and the money that being an astronaut implies, make this profession a highly admired career, with which millions of people from all over the world dream. world. However, the percentage of men and women who can work as astronauts is very low; Which is why the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is always looking for military and civilian candidates for new astronaut positions.

An astronaut is a highly trained individual who directs, pilots or serves as a crew member of a spacecraft and participates in other activities related to space exploration. Most American astronauts are considered civil servants, meaning they are government employees. They are required to attend meetings, write reports and attend training sessions. They possess a variety of specialized skills unique to their position and have opportunities to travel and work in space, although those opportunities are rare.

If being an astronaut is your aspiration, in this article we explain the details of this unique career where the levels of education obtained, the experience accumulated and the individual skills you acquire, both as a military or as a civilian, are highly considered when they offer you a salary. to the applicant.

How much does an astronaut earn?

The average salary range for an astronaut is between $47,248 and $91,084 per year, according to Glassdoor Salaries based on 2,984 salaries reported to that website.

In addition, the federal government uses a General Program pay scale to determine where each federal employee qualifies for wage compensation purposes. Each pay grade is associated with a specific level of education, experience, qualifications, and skills. The General Program applies to five different general job classifications: professional, managerial, clerical, technical, and other occupations. Astronaut pay grades correspond to the federal government’s G-11 through G-14 pay grades.

military astronaut salary

Military astronauts are considered on active duty and are paid accordingly. Your salary, benefits, and leave are based on active duty status. For example, captains earn between $44,544 and $72,468 in the Air Force, and colonels earn between $70,440 and $124,692. Military astronauts have usually tested pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force.

Mission Specialist Pay

If you are a civilian, by becoming an astronaut candidate you become a federal employee. On the federal government pay scale, your status ranges from GS-11 to GS-14, depending on your experience and academic achievement. That translates to a salary of between $53,000 and $116,000 a year, with raises following standard federal rules.


Astronauts can get many benefits from their work. These are some of the benefits and dividends offered:

  • Healthcare.
  • Thrips.
  • Paid vacations.
  • Challenging and interesting work.
  • State-of-the-art training facilities.
  • Housing allowances up to $1,845 per month.

Aviation career incentive pay.

What skills must astronauts possess?

Astronauts must possess a variety of hard and soft skills to be successful in their positions. Some skills you should have are:

advanced intelligence

To aspire to be an astronaut you must possess educational requirements and exceptional intelligence to be successful. You need to have a creative intellect and an abiding curiosity to solve and handle complex and unexpected problems.


As an astronaut, you should be able to adapt quickly when you are required to move from one task to another quickly. You must be willing to adapt to new procedures and standards that are implemented. You will also work with professionals from various countries, and you must quickly adjust to other environments and cultures.

mental toughness

As you can see in documentary videos about the life of astronauts in capsules and space stations, you have to live for months, in very small spaces, with people you don’t know well, as well as spend long periods away from your family, friends and outside from Earth’s orbit. Therefore, you must be of sound mind and be able to cope with the trials that you will face in your astronaut career, including fear and isolation in space.

physical resistance

Astronauts must pass physical fitness tests as well as military water survival training. This will test your ability to float on water while wearing the flight kit and to swim a specific distance without stopping. To prepare for certain types of space training, you must be qualified in SCUBA. Your body should withstand and respond well to tests with a variety of atmospheric pressures. You must also be prepared for zero gravity training and its effects.

critical thinking skills

The astronauts have difficult problems to solve. It is not science fiction. In real life as an astronaut, you must evaluate your work and the work of others carefully and critically to ensure that each task is completed correctly.


When you travel to space, you will need self-discipline, both to work alone and to live together aboard the space station and complete the assigned tasks in due time.

Different leadership in the crew

As part of the crew of a space flight, you will find people with different positions and functions that allow you to successfully complete a space mission.

crew commander

This team member is in charge of the ship, its crew, and payload as a whole. The commander is specifically responsible for the safety of the crew and the success of the mission. He must know how to operate the ship with the help of the astronaut pilot and be familiar with all the systems on board.

The commander helps the crew deploy equipment in space and uses remote devices to recover satellites and other objects. The commander will spend the majority of their career in physical training and/or refresher training, with only a small percentage of the career spent in space flight.


Piloting the space shuttle or other spacecraft is the job of the astronaut pilot. The pilot often has military test pilot experience and is at the main controls during launch and re-entry into the atmosphere.

The pilot often acts as the primary navigator for extravehicular remote devices, as well as for the shuttle itself. The astronaut pilot also spends much of his time training and studying, while spending only a fraction of his career in space.

Coordination of activities

Some astronauts are responsible for coordinating a variety of activities on the ship or space station. These duties are performed by astronauts called mission specialists, who have extensive knowledge of spacecraft systems and specialize in the details of a particular mission. Activity coordinator astronauts are directly responsible for the mission’s payload and experiments.

extravehicular activity

Mission specialists are the astronauts who exit the spacecraft and participate in extravehicular activities, also known as spacewalks.

How to become a quest specialist

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration receives thousands of online applications for astronaut training, but there are not that many positions. To be eligible, you must meet the NASA astronaut requirements:

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