Discover your career path


Conduct experiments, maintain satellites, and fly into outer space!

What does an Astronaut do?

Astronauts work in outer space, usually as a crew member aboard a spacecraft that’s part of a carefully planned space mission. Whether it’s landing on the moon, observing Earth’s atmosphere, or measuring the movements of stars, you’ve got a very specific goal.

Obviously there’s more to being an astronaut than freeze-dried ice cream and zero gravity. So although you may have dreamed of becoming one ever since you were a kid, you should know that before you can become an astronaut, you’ve got to start as something else–usually a scientist, engineer, or pilot.

Whatever your mission, your work starts on the ground where you undergo months of training, after which you’re be launched into space for a period of days, weeks, or even months. Your main duties generally involve doing research that includes observation, experimentation, and data collection; performing maintenance on the spacecraft; conducting safety-related activities; and assisting with routine housekeeping tasks since you’re both living and working aboard the spacecraft.

Because very few people get to visit outer space, however, perhaps your most important job is telling everyone your space stories when you get home!

Someday there may be group tours of Earth’s orbit, hotels on Mars, and round-trip flights to the moon. For now, though, the best–and only–way to get a ticket to outer space is to become an astronaut.