NASA is recruiting applicants for its next astronaut candidate class. A bachelor’s degree in engineering, science or math, and three years of relevant professional experience are all that’s required to apply. You could be one of the lucky eight or twelve candidates in the class of 2013.

You might be assigned to long duration missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Space Station is manned by individuals from NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the European Space Agency and others. NASA has committed to operating and staffing the space station with qualified astronauts to do research until 2020.

"This is an exciting time to join the astronaut corps," said Janet Kavandi, director of flight crew operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Graduates will have "the opportunity to participate in NASA’s continuing exploration programs that will include missions beyond low-Earth orbit."

You can review the brochure for the Astronaut Candidate Program. Civilians and active military can apply. Civilians will be paid under the Federal government?s pay scale for GS11-GS14.

Catherine (Cady) Coleman, Class 2009 Astronaut, ISS Mission Specialist
Catherine (Cady) Coleman, Class 2009 Astronaut, ISS Mission Specialist

Astronaut training includes not only flight training, but extra-vehicular activity, robotics, and Russian language training. You?d be joining the 330 astronauts who already passed through the program. The first class was seven men who were pilots selected in 1959 from the military branches. Since then, schoolteachers, scientists, doctors, and engineers have joined the ranks of space travelers.

Those making the final cut must undergo a week of interviews, medical screening, orientation, and full background investigations before final decisions are made. The Class of 2009 consisted of three women and six men. Five were in the military, four were civilians. You could be in the Class of 2013.