How Much Money Do Astronauts Make?

Read this article and find out how much money astronauts make and how you can become one.

Apart from wanting to be a firefighter, police officer or specialist, numerous children also fantasize about being an astronaut. However, it is not an easy feat. You should first be able to meet all the requirements to turn into a candidate for being an astronaut. Subsequent to being chosen, you should finish a two year training and examination period to be qualified, and even then you might not ever be able to take off. This does not mean it is an unrealistic dream. The income of an astronaut regularly reflects the persistence and responsibility it takes to oversee it. So, how much money do astronauts make?

Space traveler positions are exceptionally searched for and just a couple of positions are accessible to the individuals who meet the physical capabilities and are profoundly qualified. The compensation of income of an astronaut will rely upon their work status in the military or their experience as a civilian astronaut. If you are keen on becoming an astronaut and might want to have a precise idea of their income and capabilities, it is useful to investigate pay rates.

Let us take a look into what it takes to be an astronaut and how much does one earn in this profession.

How To Become An Astronaut?

As NASA keeps on extending human investigation in the planets around us and beyond, they will require more than the presently dynamic team of astronauts to crew spacecraft bound for numerous profound space destinations.

NASA’s astronauts presently function as researchers on the International Space Station—a lab that circles Earth at around 240 miles over the planet’s surface. Astronauts on the station lead logical tests, for example, inventive cancer research and research on the human body and how it can survive in space.


The organization’s business accomplices are starting to ship freight from Earth to the space station, and they will before long be dispatching astronauts to and from the station too. New space travelers will crew these missions and will be backing the scientific research that is being conducted on the station.

Over the years, the requirements to become an astronaut have changed with NASA’s goals and missions. To be acknowledged as a candidate for an astronaut position in today’s time, it is important for applicants to meet the following qualifications:

  • They have to be a citizen of the United States
  • They need to have a master’s degree in a STEM field from a certified university/college. The STEM field degree can include engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics.
  • They need to possess a professional experience (related to the space field) of at least two years that they need to acquire after completing their degree
  • If not a related professional experience, they should at least have 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.
  • They should be able to pass the NASA long duration flight astronaut physical examination.

The requirement for a master’s degree can also be met by:

  • Two years (equivalent to 36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) worth of work towards a doctoral program in a field associated with science, technology, engineering or math.
  • A completed degree in Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Completing or being enrolled in (during the time of application) in a nationally recognized test pilot school program.

It is important for applicants for an astronaut position to also have abilities in administration, collaboration and correspondences. NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board audits the applications and surveys every candidate’s capabilities. In 2016, NASA received a record-breaking 18,300 applications. The board at that point calls in a small group of the most exceptionally qualified contenders for interviews at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Out of those candidates who are interviewed, about half are called back for second meetings. From that second group of contenders, NASA’s new candidates for becoming an astronaut are chosen. They report for training at Johnson and go through the following two years learning fundamental skills that an astronaut needs to have, like spacewalking, working the space station, flying T-38 jet planes and controlling an automated arm.

How Much Does An Astronaut Suit Cost?

NASA has just 11 space suits that are being used, and they were designed many years back. Pablo de Leon, who created these space suits almost forty years back states that the deficiency of proper space suits influences activities in space. According to him, these space suits were designed in the 1970’s, and they were just intended to last for only 15 years. Experts thought that by the 1990’s, the spacesuits would have been substituted for something different.

However, what happened was that there were never enough funds to make another spacesuit system. The expense of making a spacesuit was initially about $22 million. Building one without any preparation and from scratch in this day and age can be as much as $250 million.

How Much Does An Astronaut Make Yearly?

Before applying for a position as an astronaut, many people question: how much does an astronaut make yearly? As indicated by NASA, civilian astronauts are granted a compensation evaluation of anyplace from GS-11 to GS-14, so the range of the income is moderately wide. Starting salaries for astronauts can be over $66,000 per year. However, experienced astronauts can earn approximately $144,566 every year.

However, numerous astronauts that are selected have a military background, and like anybody in the military, they are granted a pay grade depending upon their deployment status. A colonel or chief, for instance, is dispatched at an O-6 pay grade. Following eight years of serving in the military, they would acquire $8,030 every month, or $96,360 per year. Ten years of serving in the military brings a compensation of $8,073 per month, or $96,876 per year, while 20 years expands the pay to $10,295 every month, or $123,540 per year.

With the position of brigadier general, astronauts are dispatched at an O-7 pay grade. Following eight years of service in the military, they would gain $9,906 every month, or $118,872 per year. At 10 years of active duty, the pay increments to $10,212 per month, or $112,544 per year. With 20 years of service in the military, a military astronaut’s (brigadier general) pay is $12,591 per month, or $151,092 every year.

Do Astronauts Get Paid For Life?

The NASA astronaut corps is a blend of civilians and well-trained military officials. So what happens when they leave, initially relies upon which of those camps they fit into. If in case they are active duty military and never exactly resigned from the military before leaving their astronaut position at NASA, they will go on to do whatever task the military wishes to give them. Astronauts that are not actively serving in the military at the hour of retirement from the Astronaut office, tend to proceed onward to executive roles in the avionic business. Corporate space organizations frequently employ space travelers for their immense experience and organization of contacts that they can give. Moreover, once they retire from their position as an astronaut, they can pursue other careers as well like becoming a politician or do anything else they like. However, the take home message is that astronauts do not get paid for life. This does not mean that they stop earning all together. They will still get paid, but according to the position and the duties they will acquire after their retirement from being an astronaut.


How Much Do Spacex Astronauts Make?

The mean salary of Spacex astronauts is $91,202 a year. The range of the salaries at Spacex are from $64,642 to $125,306 per  year.


Astronauts make as much money as any other highly esteemed professions (doctor, lawyers, engineers etc). However, one needs to have a lot of mental strength and physical capabilities in order to become one. Now that you have read in detail the things required to become an astronaut, you can see for yourself whether or not you fit into that criteria and whether this job is for you.

Nabeel Ahmad

Nabeel Ahmad is a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple successful businesses in the fields of marketing, software development, design, e-commerce, and more. He is the founder and CEO of Vertabyte, a full-service digital media agency that partners with enterprise-level companies, many of which have million-dollar valuations, and helps them achieve their business goals. Nabeel has been a strategic advisor to many successful startups and brands, and regularly provides consultancy to them in crafting the best business and marketing strategies. At Vertabyte, his special focus is on leveraging the power of social media to boost businesses exponentially. An award-winning marketing expert, Nabeel has a deep understanding of modern marketing strategies and principles, and knows how to apply them to businesses to help them succeed in the modern world. His expertise in marketing has allowed him to help a number of businesses increase their revenue by tremendous amounts.