30 Special Skills You Need to Become an Astronaut

Source: NASA

6. Ability to use robotic arms

Among the many tasks asked of astronauts is learning how to maneuver robotic arms. The robotic arm for the InSight Lander on Mars is 5′ 9″ long, and the camera mounted on it provides 3D images of the landing site and places where measuring instruments are to be situated.

Source: United States Mission Geneva / NASA

7. Exceptional communication skills

Communication skills, considered “soft skills” by NASA, are still important, and candidates should note any particular qualifications or training in these areas on their application.

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8. Nailing the interview

The NASA committee conducts a week-long process of interviews, medical screenings, and orientation for applicants under final consideration.

Source: Jirapong Manustrong / Getty Images

9. Watching résumé length

Astronaut aspirants should keep their résumé to six typed pages maximum. If the résumé is too long, it will be kicked off the system. Applicants also need to submit educational transcripts accompanied by a cover sheet, a list of references, pertinent skills, and a summary of aeronautical experience.

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10. Not getting discouraged by rejection

Not everyone gets accepted on his or her first try. The acceptance rate for astronauts is miniscule, between 0.04% and 0.08%. Getting into an Ivy League school is much easier. Astronaut Clayton Anderson wrote an article for Popular Mechanics explaining how he became an astronaut after being rejected by the agency 14 times. Perseverance paid off.