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NASA seeking astronaut candidates

Astronaut Mark Lee tests the backpack called Simplified Aid for Extra-Vehicular Activity  Rescue in 1994. Active duty Airmen can apply for an assignment with NASA through USAJobs' website through Jan. 12, 2012. (Courtesy photo/NASA)

Astronaut Mark Lee tests the backpack called Simplified Aid for Extra-Vehicular Activity Rescue in 1994. Active duty Airmen can apply for an assignment with NASA through USAJobs' website through Jan. 12, 2012. (Courtesy photo/NASA)

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- NASA is accepting applications for astronaut candidates via the USAJobs website, through Jan. 12, 2012, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

"Applicants who submit an application through the USAJobs site, must also do a separate application for the Air Force nomination board," said Howard Peterson, AFPC special flying programs section. "Submitting an application through USAJobs also requires members have a USAJobs account and a resume on file."

To be eligible, members must be active duty officers or enlisted, be U.S. citizens, and have earned a bachelor's degree or graduated from an accredited institution in engineering, mathematics, biological science, or physical science.

"The quality of academic preparation is critical," Peterson said. "Astronaut candidates are challenged intellectually and physically, so applicants must ensure they are prepared for the challenge."

In addition to the right degree, Peterson said, members must have at least three years after degree completion of progressively responsible, professional experience or a minimum of 1,000 hours as pilot-in-command of a jet aircraft. Advanced degrees are desirable, but experience may be partially substituted.

Applicants must also have a current flying class II physical (completed on or after Aug. 31, 2011), be between 62 and 75 inches tall, have vision correctable to 20/20 in each eye, hearing within ISO standards and blood pressure of no more than 140/90.

Applicants selected for the candidate positions will enter a two-year training and education program, Peterson said. After the two years, trainees who are selected for the astronaut program will serve a five-year tour with NASA.

For information on the NASA program and openings, go to www.usajobs.gov and search for NASA. For more information about the Air Force Astronaut Nomination program and for instructions to complete and submit an application, go to the Air Force Personnel Services' secure website at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil.