It is challenging, adventurous, exciting and so on. Astronauts are sent to space on particular missions sponsored by a nation.
In order to fulfill these missions, proper training is required. Training includes knowledge about the mission to be fulfilled along with practical training of conducting oneself in space which is provided through simulation exercises. These exercises enable the astronauts to ascertain the potential conditions in space and prepare themselves beforehand.
Several options are available to become a part of the space industry. One can become a Pilot Astronaut or a Flight Engineer or else join the industry as a Researcher or Commander or a Mission Specialist. In case a candidate has a background in astronomy, he can also apply as an engineer, scientist or a space researcher in this industry.
For being an astronaut, a bachelor’s degree in Physical Science or Biological Science or Mathematics or Engineering is a must. For candidates who wish to apply as a Mission Specialist, a minimum of three years experience is needed.
A Doctoral degree can enable the candidate to secure a position directly in this field. Candidates who want to apply for the post of Pilot Astronaut or Flight Engineer have to clear tests of space missions and other missions prescribed by NASA.
Mission Specialists harbor the responsibility of understanding the aims and objectives of the mission along with the operating details of shuttle crafts and other equipments and features. Their role includes coordinating all the activities related to shuttle operations be it payload functions, crew management, carrying out space walk and experiments and sometimes performing extravehicular activities as well.
The commander of the shuttle is responsible for the safety of the shuttle and its crew members. Flight Engineers travel around the space station to perform various space shuttle operations. The Pilot aids the Flight Engineer by helping in tasks related to control and operation of shuttle. Though the career is highly rewarding in terms of pay packages and monetary benefits, the non-monetary benefits associated with the career adds to its prestige.