SPACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
One of the goals of the Space Transportation System (STS) is the expansion of the Nation's research capabilities in the spaceenvironment. The STS provides the opportunity for onboard participation of scientific investigators or other representatives ofthe payload research community, as well as individuals selected by major payload customers who reimburse NASA. Theparticipation of these payload specialists, as they are called, enhances the probability of successful achievement of theirscientific or technical mission objectives.
Space Shuttle Crew Positions
Pilot AstronautsPilot astronauts serve as both Space Shuttle commandersand pilots. During flight, the commander hasonboardresponsibility for the vehicle, crew, mission success, andsafety of flight. The pilot assists the commander incontrolling and operating the vehicle. In addition, the pilotmay assist in the deployment and retrieval of satellites usingthe robot arm in spacewalks, and in other payload operations.Mission Specialist AstronautsMission specialist astronauts, working with thecommanderand pilot, have overall responsibility for the coordination ofSpace Shuttle operations in the areas of crew activityplanning, consumables usage, and experiment and payloadoperations. Mission specialists are required to have adetailed knowledge of the Space Shuttle systems, as well asdetailed knowledge of the operational characteristics,mission requirements and objectives, and supportingsystems and equipment for each of the experiments to beconducted on their assigned missions. Mission specialistsperform spacewalks and payload handling using the robotarm, and perform or assist in specific experiment operations.Payload SpecialistsFor information about opportunities in this field, write toNASA Headquarters, Attn: Code OST-5, Washington, D.C.20546. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you mayinstead wish to contact the appropriate government agencywithin your own country.
Astronaut Candidate Program
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration acceptsapplications on a continuous basis and selects astronautcandidates as needed. Civilians and military personnel areconsidered forthe one-yeartraining program. Current regula-tions require that preference for appointment to vacantpositions be given to U.S. citizens when they are available.For information on pilot astronaut or mission specialistopportunities, write to Astronaut Selection Office, Mail CodeAHX, Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058.
General Program Requirements
Selected applicants are designated astronaut candidatesand are assigned to the Astronaut Office at Johnson SpaceCenter. During the one-year training and evaluation period,they are assigned technical or scientific responsibilities andthey participate in the astronaut training program designedto develop the knowledge and skills required for formblmission training upon selection for a flight. Final selectionis made after the one-year program.Payload Specialists are primarily professionals in the
Basic Qualification Requirements
physical and life sciences, or technicians skilled in theoperation of unique equipment. The selection of a payloadspecialist fora particular mission is the responsibility of thepayload sponsor or customer. In the case of a NASA-sponsored mission, payload specialist candidates areidentified by an Investigator Working Group (IWG), andfinal selection is approved by NASA. Payload specialistswho fly in support of a major payload customer are selecteddirectly by the sponsoring company or organization. Theyneed not be U.S. citizens. All selected individuals mustcomply with NASA-established health and physical fitnessstandards.Once accepted, the payload specialist undergoes dualtraining. Training related to the operation of the payload orexperiment may take place at an industrial facility, auniversity, or a government agency. The second type oftraining
s required for everymission and takes place at the Johnson Space Center. Thisflight training familiarizes the payload specialist with theSpace Shuttle and payload support equipment, crewoperations, housekeeping, and emergency proceduresrelated to his or her flight.For mission specialists and pilot astronaut candidates, thebasic education requirement is at least a bachelor's degreewith major study in engineering, biological science, physicalscience, or mathematics from an accredited college oruniversity. Mission specialist applicants must also have
years of professional, related experience. Pilot astronautcandidates must have at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-commandtime in jet aircraft. Payload specialists must have theappropriateeducation and training related to the payload orexperiment. All applicants must meet certain physicalrequirements and must pass NASA space physical examina-tions with varying standards depending on classification.