NASA astronauts have to go through a demanding and grueling selection process before they can go out into space.
As entrepreneurs like SpaceX founder Elon Musk launch into space increasingly powerful rockets, they bet on a new space race and they prepare to send astronauts to the moon, it becomes more and more interesting to join the ranks of NASA.
But To become an astronaut, the first thing you must do is pass a rigorous list of requirements, including being a US citizen, possessing a college degree in science, engineering or mathematics, and three years of professional experience or 1,000 hours as a jet pilot.
The person concerned has to pass then a grueling selection process which is about 74 times more difficult than entering Harvard University (USA). NASA selects a new promotion of astronauts every 2 years. In 2019, the last call, only 11 of the more than 18,000 applicants got it.
Then,how much NASA pays its astronauts for the extensive experience and training needed in addition to the risk of putting life in danger?
According to a pulled apart FAQ on the NASA page, the annual salary of an astronaut “is based on the Federal Government salary scale for categories GS-12 and GS-13“.
“The category [profesional] of each person is determined from their academic achievements and experience“, adds the space agency.
These categories are used to determine how much different white-collar workers in many of the United States government agencies should charge. Each category is further divided into 10 subcategories based on performance and years of service.
The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for base salaries of the agencies as well as of the low, so the numbers change every year.
How much the United States pays its astronauts
In 2021, according to the OPM salary scale, a new GS-12 category astronaut and sub-category 1 experience would earn $ 66,167 per year (about 54.5400 euros at the current exchange rate). After several years of adequate performance, the same astronaut could become part of subcategory 10 in group GS-12; that is, 86,021 dollars per year (about 70,766 euros per year).
Meanwhile, the most qualified astronauts with a GS-13 professional category they could earn up to $ 78,681 per year in subcategory 1 (about 64,728 euros per year) and after a few years reach up to 102,288 dollars per year in subcategory 3 (about 84,149 euros per year).
However, astronauts are not limited to the GS-12 and GS-13 categories for their entire career, but rather pThey could rise to the top of the scale — GS-15, subcategory 10 — and earn up to $ 142,000 a year. (about 116,800 euros per year) according to their position, responsibilities and performance within the astronaut corps.
“When a civilian is selected for the Astronaut Program, his category can in principle be GS-12 and GS-13“, he explains to Business Insider by email the exastronaut William “Bill” McArthur. “As an active astronaut, between 2001 and 2007, my professional category was at the highest level of the civil scale“.
This article was published in Business Insider Spain by José Carlos Sánchez.