Have you always wanted to journey into the final frontier? Your chance could be coming up soon.
Eligible active-duty officers and enlisted airmen can start submitting applications to be NASA astronauts through the USAJobs website on Dec. 15, the Air Force Personnel Center said in a Nov. 20 release.
But it takes a lot to have the right stuff.
"Astronaut candidates are challenged intellectually and physically, so applicants must ensure they are prepared for the challenge," Maj. Michael Jungquist, AFPC's operations staff and special duty career management branch chief, said in the release.
To qualify, airmen must be on active duty, U.S. citizens, and have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, biological science or physical science from an accredited institution.
They also must have at least three years of progressively more responsible professional experience, or, for pilots, at least 1,000 hours as pilot-in-command of a jet aircraft. Jungquist said an advanced degree is preferred, and can be substituted for experience.
Airmen must have a flying class II physical that was completed on or after Aug. 31, and meet the medical standards outlined in AFI 36-2205.
Once selected, candidates will enter a two-year training and education program. Those who make it through the training program and are selected to be full-fledged astronauts will serve a five-year tour with NASA.
The application window closes in mid-February, AFPC said. The nomination board will convene to consider candidates in late March, and the medical screening panel is expected to convene in early April.
NASA will announce selection results in May 2017. Selectees will report to NASA beginning in August 2017.
The Air Force has a long tradition of producing NASA astronauts. For example, three of the original Mercury 7 astronauts — Gordon Cooper, Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Donald "Deke" Slayton — were Air Force officers. Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Jack Swigert were a few of the Apollo astronauts who served in the Air Force.