Can one be an astronaut for NASA without being a US citizen?

Question by Markus: Can one be an astronaut for NASA without being a US citizen?
I was wondering if you needed to be a US citizen to go to space. I’m 16 years old, and the dream since I was 10 was to go to space and see the earth from above. I really like science, and planetary exploration. I’m currently living in Norway, so if there is no hope for me geting out to space. I would like to know. Ofcourse i could build my own rocket, but thats a bit to much for me. Could somone link me to the “laws” around nasa’s employment?

Ps: Iv’e searched around on NASA’s page, so please don’t tell me to just go there, wouldn’t help that much.. ;)

Best answer:

Answer by cosmo
Some of the NASA astronauts are immigrants to the U.S.A., born as foreign nationals and naturalized to U.S. citizens.

In principle NASA could hire foreign nationals, but in practice there is a preference given to U.S. citizens (and even more to military veterans) by the laws governing government hiring. Given the EXTREMELY competitive nature of astronaut picks, it’s essentially impossible for a foreign national to get the job.

Why don’t you become a European Space Agency astronaut?

Acetek: NASA works with and trains astronauts from foreign countries who are employed as astronauts by those countries. The are not “astronauts for NASA” they are astronauts for their own countries who work with NASA.

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3 comments on “Can one be an astronaut for NASA without being a US citizen?

  1. NASA is not hiring astronauts anymore, since there is no “manned” space program.

    An possible future flights to Mars will be manned by a multi-national crew, each person picked by their own government, will remain a citizen of their respective country, but will be TRAINED by NASA.

    So, you are not HIRED, you are PICKED. And to get picked you need to be at the very top of the top of the people in your field. “Astronauts” will be picked based on their SPECIALITIES — presumably some speciality that will be needed to help survive the trip to Mars. Your chances of getting picked are like 1-in-100,000. You better be DAMNED GOOD at what you do!

    SO, the thing to do is STAY IN SCHOOL, and work on getting stright A’s in college, on your Masters Degree, AND on your Doctorate. Be in a field that a trip to Mars NEEDS, and then see how YOUR GOVERNMENT is participating in any space exploration.

    Note that the Chinese and Europeans are also looking at the possibility of their own Mon and MArs trips in the future — although I think you will be long dead before THEY ever get going.

  2. It is EXTREMELY unlikely, as NASA picks astronauts almost exclusively from US nationals who have military experience. So far only one single astronaut ever has had no military experience, and she died. Also, like the Russian space program, the US rarely need any astronauts at all nowadays.

    You would have a far better chance with the European Space Agency, they launch manned expeditions occasionally. You are probably aware of this, but Norway has a rocket launch site of its own, up north at And√łya. Norway does not have a space prgoram of its own, however, the Norwegian government rents it to Russia and the ESA. You are too young to remember it, but back in 1993 Norway almost started a nuclear war when a low-orbit rocket that looked like a nuclear missile flew in the direction of Moscow.

    Alternatively, I heard about some guys in Denmark building their own rocket, hoping for a manned flight in a few years.

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