NASA accepting applications for astronaut program

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Your childhood dreams of walking in space could become a reality as NASA revealed Wednesday that they are accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates starting Dec. 14.

According to NASA, they are seeking pilots, engineers, scientists and medical doctors, among others to continue work on the International Space Station and to conduct deep space exploration.

"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," Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator, said in a statement.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degrees are more desirable.

Future astronauts must also have three years of related professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet.

And finally, candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical.

According to NASA, salaries are based on the Federal Government’s general schedule pay and usually start around $65,000, but can grow upwards of $100,000. Military astronaut candidates retain active duty pay, benefits and leave.

"This is an exciting time to be a part of America’s human space flight program," Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement. "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."

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