Becoming an astronaut is certainly no easy task — according to NASA, there are only 45 active U.S. astronauts.
And it makes sense when you look at some of the job's requirements. Along with some strict physical requirements, aspiring NASA astronauts must hold — at the very minimum — a bachelor's degree in engineering, physical science or an equivalent field of study and have at least 1,000 hours or three years of experience in piloting a jet aircraft. Those who are accepted must then complete a two-year candidate program that includes training in areas such as medicine, military water survival and robotics.
But if you manage to work your way into the elite corps, you could be presented with the ultimate travel opportunity: a trip to outer space.
How much it pays
According to information from NASA, "salaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are based on the Federal Government's General Schedule pay scales for grades GS11 through GS14, and are set in accordance with each individual's academic achievements and work experience. Selected military personnel will be detailed to [Johnson Space Center], but will remain in an active duty status for pay, benefits, leave and other similar military matters."
For civilians, that adds up to a low-end starting salary of around $66,026 to a high of $144,566.