In order to become an astronaut, I first have to be selected by JAXA – The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Below I will share with you everything that JAXA considers necessary to be considered and how those prerequisites apply to my journey.
When it comes to how to get selected, it is important to consider prerequisites and advantageous skills/abilities.
Prerequisites to Become an Astronaut
The latest selection process – 13 years ago – required that all applicants:
- Must have graduated university with a degree in the field of STEM
- Have a minimum of 3 years experience researching, designing, developing, manufacturing and operating within the STEM field
- Be a suitable candidate as a Japanese astronaut (educated in the eloquent use of the Japanese language, knowledgeable in Japanese culture, other cultures and popular topics among the international community, the ability to express, in a lively way, one’s own experiences, and education in the humanities)
- Be able to work for JAXA for over 10 years and live and work abroad for prolonged periods of time
- Possess the ability to swim, wearing a swimsuit and/or clothing, a minimum of 75m (25m x3) and tread water for 10 minutes
JAXA is planning to officially announce this year’s selection criteria in late summer and hence the details are still to be determined. JAXA stated in their most recent announcement that the selection process is likely to delete the requirement for a 3-year job experience in the field of STEM; this is currently the only factor I am missing. Based on this information, I should be able to satisfy the requirements.
Advantageous Skills & Abilities For Becoming an Astronaut
Regarding advantageous skills/abilities, I should consider two factors:
- Three key criteria for the selection process recently announced by JAXA
- The Artemis Program and the Lunar Gateway Program under the partnership between JAXA and NASA, which are the primary focuses of the selection
Regarding three key criteria, JAXA mentioned:
- Leadership and teamwork with diverse people coming from all over the world
- Resilience and flexibility in an extreme environment, having an adequate decision-making ability
- Ability to share experiences in unknown worlds with people all over the world, educating the young generation
The Artemis Program and Lunar Gateway Program are the core mission for the future Japanese astronauts. Because of this, JAXA is seeking to work with NASA under the strategy from the Moon to Mars.
Specifically, lunar operations will provide the experience and knowledge necessary to enable a historic human mission to Mars. Thus, astronauts are required to stay in space longer than ever before in a more challenging environment with unknown situations.
To make it more simple, I created a mandala-chart with the essential steps to become an astronaut. It lays out a more concrete plan for success. You can see the eight important components here:
Of all factors described in my mandala-chart, there are some that require specific training, such as:
- operational skill: emergency protocol, multi-tasking, situational awareness: doing pilot license training, scuba license training, programming: take classes online
- communication: Russian language:trying to get certified for internationally recognized exams, social media presence: start sharing my journey through multiple platforms
- physical fitness: workout, running, swimming: start training routinely
- resilience(self-reliance): sea survival/wilderness survival/critical skill training: participate in as many survival trainings as possible
This is the overview of my journey towards the selection process, and the primary reason why I have been specifically training for my pilot license, scuba diving, taking survival training, and learning Russian.
Although this has been a lifelong dream of mine, I have been actively working toward these goals for when the moment does come. Join me as I make this dream become reality. I hope I can inspire you to chase your own dream.