In the beginning stages, the space agency will review all of the applications that have been submitted. This can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands! Then, they will choose the top 120 most highly qualified applicants to come in for in-person interviews, medical exams, and orientation.

Being an astronaut is physically demanding, so the applicant must meet the correct requirements before moving forward. After the initial interviews and evaluations, the candidate pool is narrowed down even further.

The remaining applicants go through another series of physical evaluations, additional interviews, and team-building exercises. At this point, there can be as little as only 40 applicants. (so stressful!) Depending on the class, the agency will choose around 12-14 finalists. 

So yes, it’s hard … but not impossible.

So, when do they decide to start taking applications? It’s not a year-round thing, in fact, for JAXA the Japanese Space Agency, it’s been quite some time since they have opened their doors for new applicants to give it a shot! And, just in time for this amazing new project.

Here is a translated list of the requirements for the JAXA selection process.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the Government of Japan Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Koichi Hagiuda signed a Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent (JEDI) during a virtual meeting on July 9 (July 10 Japan time).

The JEDI describes the plans for cooperation regarding the International Space Station and NASA’s Artemis program, including Japanese contributions to Gateway and lunar surface exploration. The scope of intended cooperation covered by the JEDI extends to both human and robotic exploration.

Through Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable lunar surface exploration with our commercial and international partners by 2028. 

Artemis is the next step in human exploration and is a part of NASA’s broader Moon to Mars strategy. Specifically, NASA’s lunar operations will provide the Agency with the experience and knowledge necessary to enable a historic human mission to Mars.

To read more about the new NASA/JAXA Gateway Partnership for Artemis Program, click here!