How Much Does an Astronaut Make?

Becoming an astronaut is a dream for many people. It’s an exciting and rewarding career that allows you to explore the unknown and push the boundaries of human knowledge. However, one question that often comes up is how much an astronaut makes. In this article, we will take a look at the salaries of astronauts and the factors that determine how much they earn.

How Much Does an Astronaut Make?
How Much Does an Astronaut Make?

Astronauts are employees of either NASA or private space companies, such as SpaceX or Boeing. NASA astronauts are typically paid according to the federal General Schedule (GS) pay scale. This pay scale ranges from GS-11, which has a starting salary of $66,167 per year, to GS-15, which has a maximum salary of $126,148 per year. The salary an astronaut earns depends on their experience, education, and position within the agency.

Private space companies, on the other hand, determine their astronaut salaries based on market demand and their own financial conditions. These salaries can vary greatly, but they are typically much higher than what NASA astronauts make. For example, astronauts working for SpaceX or Boeing can earn up to $200,000 or more per year.

In addition to their basic salary, astronauts also receive other benefits, such as life insurance, health insurance, and a retirement plan. They also receive travel allowances and other expenses, such as training costs and equipment. These benefits can significantly increase the overall compensation of an astronaut.

Another factor that can affect an astronaut’s salary is their level of experience and education. Astronauts with advanced degrees, such as a PhD, can earn higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, astronauts with years of experience in related fields, such as piloting or engineering, may also be eligible for higher salaries.

Finally, the length of an astronaut’s mission also plays a role in their salary. Astronauts who are selected for long-duration missions, such as a trip to Mars, may receive higher salaries to compensate for the time they will spend away from their families and their homes.


In conclusion, the salary of an astronaut can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including their employer, education, experience, and mission length. While NASA astronauts typically earn less than those working for private space companies, they still receive a competitive salary and a wide range of benefits that make it a lucrative career choice for many.

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