Want to be an astronaut? Here are some tips to get you started

Astronaut Mae Jemison


Women remain underrepresented in space exploration. In this competitive field we examine how coding skills may give aspiring astronauts the edge fostering logical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, collaboration, curiosity, and creativity, all essential attributes for successful space missions.

At the forefront of human exploration, astronauts push the boundaries of knowledge and discovery as they go where no human has ever gone before. Becoming an astronaut requires a combination of skills, qualifications and personal attributes.

While we are familiar with the names of the first men in space, what about the women? The first woman in space was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who took a solo mission aboard the Vostok 6 space capsule in June 1963. Her flight did little to diversify the male-dominated field and it was not until two decades later that Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, aboard the Soyuz T-7 mission in 1982, became the second woman to travel into space. While over 500 people have flown in space, to date, only 11% of them have been women.

It is crucial for women to pursue careers as astronauts to ensure inclusivity, diversity and equal representation in space exploration. Encouraging and supporting women in becoming astronauts opens doors to new perspectives, innovative approaches and unique contributions in the field. By breaking down gender barriers, female astronauts inspire future generations to dream big, challenge societal norms and pursue careers in STEM fields.

Their achievements serve as powerful role models, empowering women to defy limitations and promoting gender equality in all spheres of life. Gender-balanced astronaut teams better reflect the diversity of humanity and enhance the overall effectiveness and success of space missions by drawing from a broader range of talents, skills and perspectives. Ultimately, fostering gender equality in the astronaut profession is not only a matter of fairness, but it also enriches our exploration of the universe and strengthens our collective efforts towards a brighter future.


Becoming an astronaut is a highly competitive and esteemed career path that demands rigorous qualifications. We will discuss how coding skills can help you along the way. 

Coding requires breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. This process encourages logical thinking and the ability to analyse problems systematically. By learning to write code, you develop a structured and logical approach to problem-solving, which can be applied to various tasks and challenges outside of coding.

These skills can be used to design algorithms, which are step-by-step procedures for solving problems. This type of thinking trains you to devise efficient and optimised solutions by identifying patterns and implementing them in code. The ability to think algorithmically helps you tackle problems by considering different approaches and selecting the most suitable one.

Writing code requires attention to detail, as even small syntax errors can cause code to malfunction. Coding skills cultivate a habit of meticulous accuracy. This attention to detail is useful in most roles, but particularly as an astronaut where precision and a systematic, analytical approach is essential. Next, let’s look at some top tips to set you on the career path to becoming an astronaut:


Coding is no easy task. With bugs and errors to contend with, setbacks are inevitable. The perseverance, patience and resilience you develop help you approach problems with determination, learn from mistakes and persist until you find solutions. The ability to analyse problems systematically means issues can be identified and resolved efficiently – an essential skill as an astronaut.


The ability to work well with other people and to communicate clearly is non-negotiable as an astronaut. Pressured situations rely on seamless communication and teamwork. Through coding and working on projects that involve collaboration with others, you learn how to work effectively in a team. You learn to communicate clearly and sensitively, making it easier for others to understand and work with you.


Coding is a constantly evolving field. Keeping up to date with new technologies and programming languages requires you to be keen, open minded and happy to engage in relevant topics outside of your time spent coding. You’ll discover how to learn independently – how you learn best and what motivates and drives you. This is a key skill, and one that is critically important in a role involving space exploration.


Design, development and testing are fundamentals of system development. Spacecraft and space stations consist of complex systems and instruments that require software to operate effectively. Your coding skills could help you contribute to the design of such systems. With the ability to think innovatively, you could bring a fresh approach to meeting the stringent requirements for safety, efficiency and fault tolerance.


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