We all come in different shapes and sizes. Some of us are tall. Some of us are short. And some of us are somewhere in between. With each height comes advantages and disadvantages. But can height be a factor in determining whether or not you can fulfill your dreams of becoming an astronaut? Can you be too tall to be an astronaut? Too small? What’s the optimal height? Well, to become an astronaut, there are a lot of checks you have to pass. One of them very much has to do with height. Today, we’re going to clear up all the details. So let’s begin.
So, how tall do you have to be to be an astronaut? You have to be at least 149 cm (4 ft 8 inches) tall and no more than 193 cm (6 ft 3 inches) tall to be an astronaut. However, to be a commander or a pilot astronaut, the requirement bracket is narrower. To be a commander or a pilot astronaut, you have to be at least 158 cm (5 ft 1 inch) tall and no more than 190 cm (6 ft 2 inches) tall.
Let’s now delve into these requirements in much further detail!
Is There A Height Requirement For Being An Astronaut?
There is a height requirement for being an astronaut. To be a commander or a pilot astronaut, you need to measure up between 158 cm to 190 cm. To be a mission specialist, you need to measure up somewhere between 149 cm to 193 cm.
The process of becoming an astronaut is long, intense, and strict.
You might not even be able to make it to the basic training stage if you are disqualified early on.
You could be disqualified because you don’t possess a certain feature, whether that be a required academic qualification or, in the case of today’s subject, an appropriate height measurement.
So, there are many ways an applicant can be disqualified from becoming an astronaut, and height is one of them.
But it is important that space organizations adhere to a strict criteria. After all, this is no normal job. Safety must be taken into account, and some factors can hinder the safety of an astronaut and their colleagues when they’re up in space.
What exactly is the height requirement for an astronaut? Well, there are two categories of roles with different height requirements. Let’s go through each one individually.
Commanders and Pilot Astronauts
The first category is commanders and pilot astronauts. Let’s start by clarifying what they are.
Commanders are at the top of the hierarchy. They are responsible for the success of the mission and the safety of the shuttle and crew onboard.
Pilot astronauts are effectively the right-hand men of commanders. They assist the commanders and have a technical role in operating the space shuttle.
To be a commander or pilot astronaut for NASA, you need to be somewhere between 158 cm to 190 cm tall.
That’s between 5 foot 1 and 6 foot 2. So there really isn’t much leeway for applicants who are on the taller or shorter sides of the height spectrum.
The required height bracket is fairly wide, though, targeting most adult humans on the planet as they fall somewhere between these figures.
If your height doesn’t fall within this requirement bracket, don’t worry just yet!
There is another category of role you could apply for, and that is that of being a mission specialist.
Mission specialists assist the commanders and pilots by running the space shuttle.
Fortunately, there is a bit more leeway in the height requirement department when it comes to applying for this role.
To qualify as a mission specialist, you need to measure up somewhere between 149 cm to 193 cm.
That’s between 4 foot 8 and 6 foot 3.
Can You Be Too Tall To Be An Astronaut?
You can be too tall to be an astronaut. If you’re over 190 cm tall, you’re too tall to be a commander or pilot astronaut. If you’re over 193 cm tall, you’re too tall to be a mission specialist. To be too tall would mean that the astronaut wouldn’t be able to properly operate and live on the space station.
This may be tough news for some of you aspiring astronauts out there, but you can, in fact, be too tall to be an astronaut.
Don’t let this get you down. There are still so many amazing roles at NASA you could apply for.
And who knows? Maybe one day, these height requirements will widen to include you as technology develops!
But for now, you can be too tall to be an astronaut.
You’re too tall to be a commander or pilot astronaut if your height is above 190 cm (6 foot 2in) tall.
You’re also too tall to be a mission specialist if your height is above 193 cm (6 foot 3in) tall.
Why is this the case? Why is it a problem? Well, if you don’t fit into NASA’s stated height requirements bracket because you are too tall, then it means you won’t be able to properly operate the space shuttle/space station.
Space shuttles and stations are meticulously designed to perform their job to an excellent standard.
The downside is that it means some people of certain stature would have difficulty operating these highly technological machines.
Astronauts that are too tall won’t be able to reach certain important controls.
They’ll also be too cramped when sitting in seats.
Furthermore, they won’t be able to fit into the spacesuits.
How Tall Is The Tallest Astronaut?
Jim Wetherbee is the tallest astronaut to have flown up to space, measuring at 6 foot 4 inches tall.
Now you 6 foot 4 inches tall aspiring astronauts out there might be thinking, ‘hey, you said we were too tall; how come this Jim Wetherbee guy gets a pass?’
Yes, I did state that the standard requirements exclude anyone who is 6 foot 4 inches or above. But I am just quoting NASA when I give these figures.
The truth is that Jim Wetherbee got very lucky. Not only did he get to fly up to space despite his height of 6 foot 4, but he also did it 6 times. Yes, that’s right. Jim Wetherbee went on 6 shuttle flights throughout his career and is the record holder for the tallest astronaut to travel to space.
How come he got to go? Well, each shuttle designed for space travel comes with some differences. Luckily for Jim, the shuttles he flew on were able to accommodate his tall stature.
But that means that he wouldn’t have been able to fly on other space shuttles, such as the Soyuz.
These days, those standard figures I gave you for height requirements are the norm, meaning Jim probably wouldn’t be able to fly on the vast majority of shuttles listed in NASA’s fleet.
Is There A Weight Requirement For Being An Astronaut?
There is a weight requirement for becoming an astronaut. To become an astronaut for NASA, you must weigh between 50 to 95 kilograms.
If you’ve passed the height requirement test, that doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing from here.
There are height requirements that have to be adhered to as well.
Luckily weight is different from height in the sense that it can be changed with some effort.
No one can do anything to change their height.
But we can all gain or lose a few pounds with certain diets and exercise programs.
When it comes to trying to become an astronaut, an applicant must weigh between 50 to 95 kilograms.
That’s between 110 to 209 pounds.
If an applicant weighs any more than 95 kilograms, it is time for them to think about losing some weight and keeping it off as well.
If an applicant weighs less than50 kilograms, then they might need to look at gaining some weight.
Just like height, these weight requirement figures will differ between space organizations. The ones I am giving you are for NASA.
Even if an astronaut finds a way to gain or lose weight so that they fit into these figures, it must be done naturally and healthily.
If your natural weight is higher or lower than the stated figures, then it might be difficult to get to NASA’s required weight.
But if you do weigh more or less than you should naturally, there’s plenty of room to get yourself to where you need to be to become an astronaut.
Fundamentally, you need to be very healthy and fit to become an astronaut, a factor that is of course, interlinked with your weight measurement.
But health and fitness are key!
So, to summarise it all, you can be too tall or too short of becoming an astronaut.
Sadly, there’s not much you can do about this if you want to become an astronaut. But as I said, there are plenty of other ways you can become involved in the exploration of space.
You can also be too heavy or too light. Luckily there’s a lot more you can do to rectify this so you can become an astronaut.
Whatever your situation, I wish you the very best of luck!
Astronauts can be over 6 foot tall, but only just. The maximum height permitted is 6 foot 3.
The maximum height for an astronaut is 6 foot 3, with a total weight of 93kg.
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.