A new report out this week states that there is a serious astronaut shortage. With the end of the Space Shuttle program this summer and the chances for actually going into space limited there have been a more than average number of astronauts retiring this year. And the number of applicants to fill needed spots has declined as well. But new astronauts are still needed to man the International Space Station and to help plan and implement the future of manned space program.
In 2000 there were 149 in the astronaut corp. Today there are 60. The report by the National Research Council says that won't be enough. It worries that key skills could be lost.
I will state now that I am ready and very willing to step in on a moment's notice to fill the gap left by these retiring astronauts.
For my 50th birthday I attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Once or twice a year they open it to adults only. It was an amazing time. An entire week getting my ultimate geek on, pretending I was on one hand going to the ISS and on the other acting all of 15 again. But we did train on actual simulators first used in the Space Shuttle program.
As for my age? True, that training experience was a few years ago but if John Glenn can return to space at 77, I am ready and more than twenty years younger.
NASA, where do I sign?
You can see the report here: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13227