Help Wanted: NASA Astronauts. Must Be Willing to Travel

Astronaut Shannon Lucid. Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri Reports:

If you want to become an astronaut, persistence counts. Clay Anderson applied 15 times before he even got a job interview. Anderson says he first applied in 1983, right after he got his Masters Degree. He was accepted in 1998 and now is a veteran of two spaceflights, with 167 days in space and 38 hours of spacewalking time to his credit.

NASA currently has 59 “active” astronauts and is looking for somewhere between 9 and 15 new ones.

The space shuttle fleet retired earlier this year, but NASA still needs astronauts for its International Space Station, and missions that are on the drawing board but not funded yet. Travel to an asteroid, or perhaps Mars are possibilities that NASA hopes to accomplish with its new launch systems.

Shannon Lucid set a United States single-mission space flight endurance record for her time on the Russian space station Mir when she flew on it in 1996. She traveled 75.2 million miles in 188 days, 4 hours and 14 seconds. Lucid, now 68, goes to work every day to serve as capsule communicator in Mission Control for the crew on the space station. She keeps lobbying NASA to let her fly again.

If you think you have the right stuff, NASA will recruit its next astronaut class through the federal government’s website.

How much does an astronaut earn? Salaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are based on the Federal Government’s General Schedule pay scale for grades GS-12 through GS-13. Each person’s grade is determined according to his/her academic achievements and experience. Currently, a GS-12 starts at $65,140 per year and a GS-13 can earn up to $100,701 per year.

Military Astronaut Candidates who are assigned to the Johnson Space Center and remain in an active duty status for pay, benefits, leave, and other similar military matters.

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