#AskLuca: How to Become an Astronaut

Not only has this #AskLuca project been a ton of fun, but it’s also been a catalyst for an incredible amount of inspiration and dreaming. Many kids from all around the world have been reaching out to me, asking about how to become an astronaut and commenting on how great it is to see that the dream is alive. Many have asked Luca about the dream as well, wondering what path to pursue in order to become an astronaut. Because this is such a consistent question, I’ve combined all of these inquiries into one post in order to get a complete and detailed answer from Luca. Thanks for continuing to follow along – you’re encouraging the pursuit of young people’s dreams all over the world!

Join the #AskLuca Experience!

If you have questions for Luca that you would like answered you can submit them here. I will pick several questions to ask Luca each week on either Twitter or Google+ and when I get his answers I will post them here on my blog. You can follow the hashtag #AskLuca on either Google+ or Twitter to follow our conversations. This is already turning into a great adventure! Stay Tuned!

Question 1Question 1: Advice from an Astronaut

- asked by Hafsyarina, @syerinhaha; DoHa, @Astro_DoHa_MEric

Question: I wanna be an astronaut, how to realize my dream? How can I be a great astronaut in the future? I really want to be an astronaut and explore space as well! I haven’t finished high school yet, but I have good grades in the math and science fields. What do you suggest I do now to one day become an astronaut?

Luca’s Answer:  I wish there was a school that you could go to in order to become an astronaut! Instead, it’s the other way around, you have to be selected in order to go to astronaut school. The best advice that I could give you is to keep following your dream, never give up, and be the best at what you do. And the easiest way to be really good at something, is to love it.  So do what you love – and love what you do.

Question 2: Becoming an Astronaut Question 2

-asked by Büşra

Question: Hi! My name is Büşra. I’d like to ask a question about being astronaut.I’d like to be an astronaut and discover new things like Abby but everybody says me that it is impossible.Of course I never listen them but I do not know what I do.I just learn English,Russian and German.I want to attend ODTU(Middle East Technical University) and be an space engineer.I believe I will be great engineer.Because I am fifteen,too.But this place is Turkey,that place is USA. So what should I do? Should I continue studying hard?

Luca’s Answer: Hello Busra! First thing: don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t be an astronaut or anything else you want to be. The answer to your last question is yes: please keep studying hard, you will never regret no matter what the final result will be. Right now, in order to be an astronaut you need to apply with the space agency of your country. If Turkey joins the EU in the future, you may try to be part of the ESA astronaut corps.

Question 3Question 3: Astronaut Age Limit?

-asked by Giovanni, @Metargon

Question: Hi, I’m Italian like you Luca, and here’s my question: I’m 23. Can I, putting all my efforts to it, become an astronaut and go to space making experiments? I know it needs a lot of years in studying and training, so there’s an age limit to begin this “mission” before I’ll get too old when the training will be complete? Thank you Abby and thank you Luca for this #Askluca project, it’s amazing! :D

Luca’s Answer: Ciao Giovanni: I think you have just about the right age to be part of the next selection of European Astronauts, and in the meantime have gained enough experience (the typical age at which an astronaut is selected is early – mid 30s). There really is no age limit: some NASA astronauts are selected well past their 40s.

Question 4: Steps to Becoming an Astronaut Question 4

-asked by Sergio, @astroserg

Question: What are some important steps you took to get to where you are? What are some things that I should do (as a high school student) to one day become an astronaut? Thanks!

Luca’s Answer: Ciao Sergio: I chose a career that would give me satisfaction whether or not I’d become an astronaut. So I entered the Italian Air Force Academy to become a pilot, with the dream of being a fighter pilot and then a test pilot. All these steps were equally important, together with the fact that I studied a lot abroad.

Question 5Question 5: Biggest Challenge

-asked by Gillian, @GillianFinnerty

Question: Which part of the astronaut selection process did you find the most challenging? Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Luca’s Answer: All the steps of the selection were challenging, in one way or another, but by far the most challenging aspect was waiting in between to find out if I had made it through each step.