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Astronaut applications available for May board

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Active duty Air Force members have the opportunity to compete for pilot and mission specialist crew positions with the nation's space program through the Air Force Astronaut nomination program.

Air Force nominees will compete with representatives from the other services for the chance to become an astronaut candidate and serve with NASA. Applications must be postmarked for the Air Force Personnel Center by Feb. 25.

The Air Force astronaut nomination selection board convenes at Randolph May 13-16 to select nominees. An Air Force medical screening panel will then determine whether or not the nominees meet NASA physical standards.

The Air Force will then submit pilot and mission specialist astronaut nominees to the secretary of defense for consolidation with other military service nominees; the list is then forwarded to NASA for processing, evaluation and interview scheduling.

NASA plans to announce the names of those individuals selected to participate in the astronaut program in May 2009 with selectees reporting to NASA in August 2009. Individuals selected as astronaut candidates will enter a one-year training and evaluation program. After this period, those selected as astronauts will serve a five-year tour with NASA.

Air Force members who want to compete for astronaut pilot or mission specialist positions must follow applications procedures outlined in Air Force Instruction 36-2205, and the HQ AFPC/DPA AL 8106 announcement message. Enlisted members are restricted to mission specialist only. The final list of Air Force nominees will be released approximately three weeks after the AFPC board adjourns.

All nomination criteria are NASA standards and are not waiverable by the Air Force.

To qualify for nominations to NASA in the pilot astronaut category, individuals must:

- Be a commissioned officer on active duty in the Air Force.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, mathematics, biological or physical sciences (technology and management degrees do not qualify, i.e., aviation management, aviation technology, engineering technology, etc.).
- Have a minimum of 1,000 hours pilot-in-command (aircraft commander or higher qualification) time in jet aircraft (flight test experience is highly desirable).
- Have a current Flying Class II (long physical) completed on or after Aug. 13.
- Height between 62 and 75 inches.

To qualify for nomination to NASA in the mission specialist astronaut category, individuals must:

- Be a commissioned officer or enlisted member on active duty in the Air Force.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, mathematics biological or physical sciences (technology and management degrees do not qualify, i.e., aviation management, aviation technology, engineering technology, etc.). Degree requirements are not waiverable. Degree must be followed by at least three years of degree related, professional experience. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for all or part of the experience requirement (master's degree equals one year, Ph.D. degree equals three years). Quality of academic preparation is important. Officer and enlisted aircrew duty counts toward the degree-related experience requirement.
- Have a current Flying Class II (physical) completed on or after Aug. 13.
- Height between 62 and 75 inches.