How much money does an astronaut make? | Tech News

How much would it cost for you to go into space? (Picture: Getty)

Many children dream of being an astronaut, but few actually make it. 

You’d think that’s because of the rigorous physical and academic requirements needed to win a place in space, not to mention the need for an unbelievably cool head under pressure. And the ability to poop into a vacuum.

However, after spotting a neat little job description from the National Careers Service (NCS), we think it may be something else – a shockingly measly salary.

Yes, believe it or not, apparently a new astronaut can expect to earn just £40,000.

We say just, because even though that’s above the average UK salary of £33,402, it still seems rather low for a job that is pretty high risk.

While space agencies are making constant improvements to make it safer and safer for astronauts, aside from the risk of death, there are other health hazards from spending time in space such as bone loss and radiation – and they’re just the ones we know about.

At least you get free food in space, but options are limited (Picture: Nasa)

Still, it’s higher than most starting salaries, unless you’re an investment banker (£35,000 – £60,000) or trainee solicitor (£26,500 – £50,000), but the risk of freezing to death in the vacuum of space in those roles is non-existent.

And let’s not get started comparing bankers’ salaries to junior doctors…

Would you go into space for £40,000?

But back to our astronaut. Even if the first few flights do go off without a hitch, even once you’re more experienced the maximum salary could still only be £86,000.

Who didn’t want to be an astronaut when they were young? (Picture: Getty)

Things are slightly more lucrative in the US, where the starting salary for a civilian astronaut (rather than military) ranges from around $80,000 to $105,000, or £63,000 to £82,000. This rises to $96,000 to $125,000, or £75,000 to £98,000 in the next pay grade.

Although in space, there aren’t many places to spend your money, and you do get free food and accommodation.

So if you don’t mind the pay, the rest of the job looks pretty sweet according to the NCS spec.

Typical hours are 39 to 41 a week, but may vary. We think the astronauts who took part in the Skylab mutiny over working hours would question that figure, although nowadays the International Space Station crew do get weekends off, which is nice. Quite a long time to fill when you’re just basically in a massive tube though.

This looks like a pretty sweet deal

And if that still tickles your fancy, the NCS has plenty of guidance as to how you can become an astronaut. 

You’ll need a degree, top notch fitness, leadership skills and the ability to speak Russian is a major bonus – so is being able to fly a plane.

Also, you’ll have to be prepared to work away from home. That’s probably not a surprise. 

If you’re living on the International Space Station, then maybe it technically is WFH? (Picture: Nasa)

To be fair, even with limited WFH and the relatively slim salary, we still think it looks like a pretty cool gig. 

And let’s be honest, most of us would go into space for free if given the chance. Sadly no one’s offering, and are instead charging very rich people vast sums of money to do the same.

Now, where’s that application form…

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