Making Big Money in Space?

Out of most childhood dreams, nearly every noble profession out there is a huge disappointment in monetary terms. Firemen earn a little to risk their lives every day. If a doctor is truly passionate about helping others, he or she doesn’t earn big bucks. If cowboys were still around, it’s unlikely that they would break bank at the office. But hang on; what about that most cherished, most dreamed of profession; that of an astronaut? Surely a person who dares to go into the outer space deserves to be richly rewarded?

Astronauts, it turns out, are just like any other government employee. They even have a specific pay scale grade, usually either GS-12 or GS-13. That does not sound very romantic or lofty, and it is, indeed, not. A NASA job listing for a civvie space-goer is a measly 66,167 USD annually at a minimum, up to a not-so-whopping 161,141 USD a year. Military personnel coming to work for NASA have it a little better, since their service perks and bonuses carry over to their new star-studded jobs.

That’s not a lot for risking your life and limb (very often quite literally) doing a job that requires you to have at least a college-level scientific degree (maths or engineering is acceptable), 3 years’ worth of jet piloting experience and… citizenship of US. You could apply for the space programme at some other spacefaring countries, but if you go via other space agencies (like ESA, the European counterpart to NASA), you’ll get even less spacebucks (or cosmoroubles) for your daring spacecapades. And before you ask: yes, it was a bit better in the early days, but not by much. Nowadays, astronauts do ok, but saying that someone is earning an “astronomical” and not astronautical salary is akin to astrology being a tad less than astronomy – at least in case of the spacemen (or women).

Still want to go boldly where no one has gone before? Think again. Even if you fulfil all of the requirements, the selection process is simply gruelling. In 2017, only 12 applicants made it through the vetting process. That’s just a dozen out of 18,300 would-be Armstrongs and Aldrins competing for the coveted place! But one can ask; is it really worth the hassle, for such mediocre money?

If any job out there is definitely not about the money, it’s that one.


noble – szlachetny
disappointment – rozczarowanie
monetary – monetarny, finansowy
in X terms – pod względem X
passionate – pełen pasji
big bucks – wielki szmal, gruba forsa (US)
to be around – być gdzieś, istnieć
to break bank – zarabiać krocie
hang on! – chwila!
cherished – uwielbiany, umiłowany
to dare to do sth – odważyć się coś zrobić
outer space – otwarty kosmos
to deserve sth – zasługiwać na coś
richly rewarded – sowicie wynagrodzony
to turn out – okazać się
government employee – pracownik rządowy
pay scale grade – przedział płac, grupa płac
lofty – wzniosły
job listing – oferta pracy
civvie – cywil (pot., UK)
space-goer – tu: osoba latająca do kosmosu
measly – mizerny
annually – rocznie
whopping – gigantyczny
military personnel – wojskowi
perk – korzyści dodatkowe, dodatki (do płacy)
to carry over to sth – przenosić się na coś, przechodzić
star-studded – gwiazdorski
to risk one’s life and limb – ryzykować życiem lub zdrowiem
literally – dosłownie
scientific degree – tytuł w dziedzinie nauk ścisłych
engineering – inżynieria
jet – odrzutowiec
citizenship – obywatelstwo
to apply for sth – zaaplikować do czegoś (o pracę)
spacefaring – latający do przestrzeni kosmicznej
via – za pośrednictwem
counterpart – odpowiednik
daring – odważny
nowadays – obecnie
to do ok – nieźle sobie radzić
akin to sth – podobny do czegoś
a tad – odrobinę
boldly – odważnie
to fulfil sth – spełniać coś (np. wymagania)
gruelling – morderczy
vetting – prześwietlanie (przeszłości kandydata)
dozen – tuzin
would-be – niedoszły
to compete for sth – rywalizować o coś
coveted – upragniony
mediocre – średni

by Prochor Aniszczuk

Komentarze są wyłączone.