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Be All You Can Be – Be An Army Astronaut!
by U.S. Army Ronald Bailey, Space and Missile Defense Command
March 13, 2024

Active-duty Soldiers can compete to join the ranks of an elite Army group comprising 19 astronauts and payload specialists who have been selected since 1978 to serve at NASA.

January 25, 2020 - NASA astronaut U.S. Army Col. Andrew Morgan shows photos of his wife and children attached to his space suit during an extravehicular activity space walk to repair the International Space Station's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Morgan conducted the repairs with European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. This EVA marked the ninth for Expedition 61 and Morgan’s seventh, setting an all-time record for U.S. astronauts for a single spaceflight. Morgan is the commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Army astronaut detachment at Johnson Space Center, Texas. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from NASA courtesy photos.)
January 25, 2020 - NASA astronaut U.S. Army Col. Andrew Morgan shows photos of his wife and children attached to his space suit during an extravehicular activity space walk to repair the International Space Station's Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Morgan conducted the repairs with European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. This EVA marked the ninth for Expedition 61 and Morgan’s seventh, setting an all-time record for U.S. astronauts for a single spaceflight. Morgan is the commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Army astronaut detachment at Johnson Space Center, Texas. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from NASA courtesy photos.)

The Army will convene a candidate board to select Soldiers for nomination to NASA. Although Army astronauts have historically been commissioned officers, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s NASA Detachment encourages any active-duty Soldier who meets the basic requirements to apply, regardless of rank or military occupational specialty.

“There is absolutely no impediment to a junior-enlisted Soldier, non-commissioned officer, or warrant officer applying to become an Army astronaut, so long as they can meet NASA and the Army’s education and other requirements,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Holtz, executive officer of the NASA Detachment.

If selected by NASA and the Army, astronaut candidates will undergo a rigorous two-year program to prepare them for spaceflight. They will be assigned to the NASA Detachment at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Commissioned officers will also become FA-40C space operations officers.

“Soldiers bring a unique and highly valued skillset to the astronaut office,” said Col. Anne McClain, an Army astronaut and commander of the NASA Detachment. “Army astronauts provide Army space expertise and leadership to low-earth orbit and lunar spaceflight missions, NASA programs of record and deep space exploration initiatives. This is why it is important to reach the greatest number of potential astronaut candidates within our ranks for NASA’s next astronaut class.”

The application process to become an astronaut candidate is strict. All applicants, military or civilian, must apply directly to NASA ... Click here for basic eligibility criteria for all astronauts.

Active-duty Soldiers must also submit their applications to the Army Astronaut Candidate Board through the Army/NASA astronaut liaison, Keira Hardy (keira.d.hardy.civ@army.mil). Those applications must include copies of the resume submitted to usajobs.gov, current Soldier Talent Profile, the Soldier’s last Army Combat Fitness Test card, and their last two evaluation reports (or counseling statements for E-4 and below).

Applicants may also submit any other evaluation report that covers pertinent experience they would like to highlight, such as significant leadership time, time in combat, etc. The board will not accept letters of recommendation.

“It’s vitally important that Soldiers interested in applying to become an Army astronaut thoroughly review and comply with NASA’s requirements, as well as the Army’s military personnel message to have their applications in order and submitted before the April 2 deadline,” said Keira Hardy, Army astronaut liaison at the Johnson Space Center. “Both the Army and NASA have very specific guidelines for applicants, and failure to meet those guidelines could be the difference between being considered or eliminated right from the start.”

Soldiers currently serving in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard who are interested in applying are encouraged to engage with their chain of command about their application and potential selection.

 NASA | U.S. Army | Army National Guard | U.S. Department of Defense

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