The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

NASA will soon be hir­ing as­tro­nauts again. The fed­eral space agency notes that there are “more hu­man space­craft in de­vel­op­ment in the United States to­day than at any other time in his­tory,” and will be­gin ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tion on Dec. 14. And the rides here?

“The next class of as­tro­nauts may fly on any of four dif­fer­ent U.S. ves­sels dur­ing their ca­reers: the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, two com­mer­cial crew space­craft cur­rently in de­vel­op­ment by U.S. com­pa­nies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space ex­plo­ration ve­hi­cle,” NASA notes in a new ad­vi­sory: they seek pi­lots, en­gi­neers, sci­en­tists, med­i­cal doc­tors. No call for jour­nal­ists at the mo­ment, though.

“This next group of Amer­i­can space ex­plor­ers will in­spire the Mars gen­er­a­tion to reach for new heights, and help us re­al­ize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” says an op­ti­mistic Charles Bolden, NASA ad­min­is­tra­tor.

The age of as­tro­naut hires has raged all the way up to 46; the av­er­age age is 34. Yes, U.S. cit­i­zen is a must and mil­i­tary and civil­ian ap­pli­cants are wel­come. “Salaries for civil­ian As­tro­naut Can­di­dates are based upon the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Gen­eral Sched­ule pay scale for grades GS-11 through GS-14. The grade is de­ter­mined in ac­cor­dance with each in­di­vid­ual’s aca­demic achieve­ments and ex­pe­ri­ence. Cur­rently a GS-11 starts at $66,026 per year and a GS-14 can earn up to $144,566 per year,” NASA ad­vises.

The jour­ney be­gins at As­tro­

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