The children who answer the question "what do you want to do when you grow up?" Can be many but the people who actually manage to do this work are, in proportion, very few: excellence, commitment and an excellent psycho condition -physics are in fact the characteristics of the perfect astronaut and not many manage to obtain first and then maintain the very high levels of performance that are required by space agencies such as ESA and NASA in order to even hope to go into space. Having said that, who tells us that the next Umberto Guidoni or the next Samantha Cristoforetti is not hiding among you? Let's see what are the requirements to become an astronaut and one day, who knows, reach Mars.

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how to become an astronaut


The European Space Agency or ESA is an international agency founded in 1975 that coordinates the space projects of 22 European countries. The headquarters is located in Paris, but the agency has offices scattered all over the place and in case you join it as an astronaut you should prepare to leave: ESA does not have its own spacecraft and in order to learn how to flying in space will need to move to Russia or the United States, while you can "comfortably" do the selection and training in Cologne, Germany, at the European Astronaut Center (EAC).


By going to the ESA website it is possible to carry out a test ( with which you can have fun seeing if there are some of the required features in you but the requirements real to have any hope of being admitted to training as an astronaut are:

  • Excellence: whether you are primarily scientists (the degrees required are those of the area of ​​mathematical-physical-natural sciences and those in medicine and veterinary) such as Umberto Guidoni or military pilots such as "AstroSamanta" Cristoforetti (who is also a graduate in engineering, however) the first requirement is to excel in your field. As Guidoni himself says, before becoming an astronaut you must have done your job seriously.
  • Knowledge of languages: don't think about joining ESA if you don't know English very well. The Agency is in fact an international agency and it is taken for granted that astronauts can communicate with each other. In case you also know Russian and / or some oriental language you will have even more chances to enter, but this is not a mandatory requirement.
  • The psycho-physical state: the aspiring astronaut goes through a long series of medical and psychological tests. ESA is looking for astronauts aged between 25 and 40 years and a height between 153 and 190 cm whose vision reaches 10 tenths (even if with glasses and contact lenses) and who have not undergone surgery laser to correct vision defects. The training course includes really tough physical and survival tests which you will be more ready if you have attended the Air Force Academy (like Samantha Cristoforetti) but which you can still overcome if you will work hard (as did Guidoni, who in a interview with Sole24ore tells that learning to jump with a parachute was very difficult for him).
  • Additional skills: Finally, there are other features that can help you enter. Teamwork attitude, previous experience in the field of extreme sports as well as a good number of flight hours (in the case of those arriving from the Air Force) are favorably considered, but do not forget that even for an academic it is You can become an astronaut and learn to pilot military and civilian planes during training. For any additional information you can consult the European Space Agency website directly (


The requirements to enter NASA are not very different from those required by ESA but there is one that will probably exclude the majority of people who are reading this article: in order to be admitted you must have American citizenship. In case you were one of those lucky citizens with dual citizenship here are the differences in the requirements required by the American Body:

  • The psycho-physical state: NASA does not specify an age of the aspiring astronaut, although to meet the medical requirements it is unlikely that they will take you to be an astronaut if you are 90 years old and have never flown before. As for the height, NASA requires that it falls within the range of 157 to 190.5 cm and that the view is 10 tenths (even if with contact lenses or glasses). It is possible to participate in the selections even if you have undergone a laser surgery, provided that this took place at least a year before and has had no repercussions.
  • The academic path: a bachelor's degree (corresponding to our three-year degree) in engineering, biology, physics, computer science or mathematics is required and this degree must have been obtained in an accredited institution (in America there is a very precise classification of the best universities and it's easy to imagine that a resume from Harvard will have a different effect than that from a less-listed college). Here too excellence is fundamental and flight hours can be partially replaced by higher levels of education, such as a "master's degree" or a doctorate.

For more information, please refer to the official website for those who want to be part of NASA (

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