Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 4 months ago

Theoretically, would NASA steer away from an astronaut applicant with government Intelligence experience?

This is an "out there" question, but let's say hypothetically, there's a guy who is fairly serious about at least applying for the astronaut corps in the next 15-20 years (why not?). Let's say this guy's area of interest mostly lies in Human sciences, and psychology, and he's fairly patriotic as well. So this guy is planning on serving in the military, and hoping to go into Intelligence, PSYOPs, possibly airborne cryptography, etc, and is also curious about trying to spend at least some time in federal agencies both studying human and behavioral sciences, but also applying them in the field. Let's say theoretically this individual is able to forge a career path that involves requisite and competetive experience for applying for the space program, in terms of research, military experience, personal development, skills acquisition, etc. Would having intelligence experience bar you from becoming an astronaut? I ask because there are organizations such as the peace corps which DO NOT allow those with such experience to serve, as it conflicts with the image they wish to display both to the public and to partner countries. Would similar issues of "integrity" arise in astronaut selection?

1 Answer

  • 4 months ago

    Astronauts are selected primarily for their physical fitness and ability to handle aircraft, as well as how they can contribute to a mission. Intelligence experience would not bar you from becoming an astronaut (astronauts in fact are often privy to classified information - as the STS missions prove.) However, being involved with government intelligence work won't do you any extra favors either- as it usually doesn't contribute to mission objectives. The big problem is that intelligence work probably wouldn't expose you to the necessary aircraft skills that are requisite to the nature of the beast.

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