• GS-12 astronauts can take home $65,140 per year
  • GS-13 astronauts can make as much as $100,701 annually
  • Astronauts who have military backgrounds can still receive the same benefits while in NASA

Becoming an astronaut has always been on top of jobs that kids want to do when they get older. There’s good news: Aside from the cool factor of going to space and wearing suits with a helmet, the job pays well, too.

One of the commonly asked questions about the job requirements and specifications is: How much does an astronaut make in one year? According to, there are tiers where the salary of an astronaut is based. The Federal Government's General Schedule (GS) pay scale states that a GS-12 can make $65,140 annually while a GS-13 can take home as much as $100,701 per year. The GS pay scale is adjusted annually per location in the U.S., a report from revealed. The system is used as basis for salaries of 70 percent of federal civilian employees.

If an astronaut has good academic credentials and years of experience, he or she gets to take home a bigger paycheck. However, the astronauts can still progress in the higher tier of salary grade. The GS-15 Step 10 can make at least $142,000 per year, depending on the scope responsibilities and performance.

In this handout from the In this handout from National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, (L to R) NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly is seen inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) March 5, 2015 in Star City, Russia. The three are preparing for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 28, 2015. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

On the other hand, the Military Astronaut Candidates who are stationed at the Johnson Space Center will still receive the same benefits that come with being part of the military.

When compared to the salary of some government officials working at the White House, the salary of astronauts seems smaller, depending on the position used in the comparison. The press secretary and deputy chief of staff for operations is paid around a maximum of $183,000 per annum.

Not anyone can become an astronaut. The job requires not only being physically fit, but aspirants must also hold a degree in science, engineering, or mathematics, or have logged in at least 1,000 hours of experience flying a jet airplane, a report from Business Insider revealed. The selection process is allegedly many times harder than getting into Harvard University. In 2017, out of 18,300 applicants, only 12 passed the screening.

Aside from the risks that come with the job, the qualified participants must have exceptional emotional maturity. He or she will be spending a significant amount of time away from loved ones. The life of an astronaut has been depicted in a lot of sci-fi movies. Some of them even went on to become all-time favorites. Tom Hanks’ “Apollo 13” that came out in 1995 topped the list made by Space News. It was followed by Matt Damon’s “The Martian” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”