How Much Money Do Astronauts Make?

Are you curious about how much money astronauts make? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we will explore the financial aspect of being an astronaut and shed light on their salaries.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the compensation for astronauts varies based on several factors. These factors include their level of experience, the space agency they work for, and the duration and nature of their missions.

At present, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is one of the leading space agencies worldwide. NASA compensates its astronauts using a government pay scale known as the General Schedule (GS). The salary range for astronauts typically falls within the GS-12 to GS-14 levels.

As of 2021, a GS-12 level astronaut would earn a base salary of approximately $66,167 per year. On the other hand, a GS-14 level astronaut would earn a base salary of around $110,459 per year. However, it’s worth mentioning that these figures are just the starting point and do not take into account various additional benefits and allowances that astronauts may receive.

Another space agency that pays its astronauts is the European Space Agency (ESA). The salary structure for ESA astronauts varies depending on the member country and the specific contract signed. Generally, ESA astronauts start with a basic salary ranging from €50,000 to €70,000 ($60,000 to $83,000) per year. Additionally, they may receive allowances for time spent on space missions and other related factors.

It’s essential to understand that becoming an astronaut is a highly competitive process and a calling that requires exceptional skills and qualifications. The rigorous selection criteria and extensive training they undergo are a testament to the dedication and commitment astronauts demonstrate in their pursuit of space exploration.

While money is undoubtedly a factor to consider, being an astronaut offers unique experiences and opportunities that go beyond financial reward. Astronauts have the chance to conduct groundbreaking scientific research, contribute to advancements in space technology, and inspire future generations.


In conclusion, how much money astronauts make depends on various factors, including experience, the space agency they work for, and the nature of their missions. Salaries can range from approximately $66,167 per year for a GS-12 level astronaut to around $110,459 per year for a GS-14 level astronaut at NASA. For ESA astronauts, the basic salary typically starts at €50,000 to €70,000 per year. However, the worth of being an astronaut extends far beyond financial compensation, as they have the opportunity to make significant contributions to space exploration and inspire the world.

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