6 Countries With The Highest Astronaut Salaries

(Last Updated On: June 3, 2020)

An astronaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Different countries have different training programs and how much you get paid depends on what agency you work for as well as your experience.

1. Russia

Salary – $150,000

According to a senior space official from Roscosmos, a Russian cosmonaut can get an equivalent of $130,000 – $150,000 in Russian currency for six months of work on the ISS. They sign specific contracts for each mission and their pay differs significantly from what they receive as a regular salary while on earth.

2. United States

Salary – $142,000

Astronauts in the United States are hired under NASA. Applicants must be a US Citizen, have an accredited college degree in science, engineering or mathematics and also three years of professional experiences or 1,000 hours piloting a jet aircraft under their belts. Salaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are usually based on the Federal Government’s General Schedule pay scale for grades GS-12 through GS-13. Their grades are determined according to his/her academic achievements and experience. A GS-12 starts at $65,140 per year and a GS-13 can earn up to $100,701 a year.

However. astronauts are not locked into GS-12 and GS-13 since they can earn the top tier of the pay scale which is GS-15. Here they can earn upwards of $142,000 a year depending on their position, responsibilities and performance within the astronaut corp.

3. Canada

Salary – $140,000

Canadian astronauts are hired under the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Civilian astronauts are paid according to an Astronaut Salary Scale which ranges from Grade 1 to Grade 3. Grade 1 are paid a minimum of CA$89,100 while Grade 2 has a salary range of between CA$134,300 and CA$160,900. Grade 3, the highest grade, has a salary range of between CA$160,900 – CA$189,600 per year. The Canadian government also buys a $1.5 million life insurance policy to cover the time an astronaut is aboard the space station. However they don’t get paid beyond the stated minimum of 37.5 hours a week.

4. Europe

Salary – $106,735

Astronauts from countries in the European Union are hired under the European Space Agency and are remunerated in accordance with ESA’s Staff Regulations Rules and Instructions. Their positions are classified in the A2 -A4 grade band of the organization’s salary scale. Upon entering the ESA Astronaut Corps, new recruits are paid at the A2 level (€5,554 per month). Following the successful completion of the basic astronaut training, they will be paid in accordance with the grade A3 (€6,854 per month). A promotion to the grade A4 (€7,964 per month) generally follows after the first spaceflight. Allowances will be paid according to the relevant policies.

5. Others

Other countries with large space programs are China with its China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Japan with its Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). They however do not disclose online the salary scales offered.