Roscosmos completed a selection round of a new cosmonaut candidate class not too long ago…this infographic from RIA Novosti prompted a look back at how things have changed. This is Roscosmos’ summary:
Cosmonaut selection criteria have been relaxed since the first manned space mission in 1961. In 2011 the Federal Space Agency expanded the hiring procedure to all Russians with a degree in higher education. Previously the recruitment process for cosmonaut trainees was limited to military pilots and engineers already employed in the space industry as well as a small percentage of professional medics and scientists from the Agency of Science. To be eligible, the applicants cannot be older than 33 years, must meet the physical requirements, must have higher education and five years’ experience working in this field, a good knowledge of Russian, English and the basics of manned space flights, a high level of fitness, and a thorough understanding of the history of space in Russia. The candidates pilots and test pilots need to have at least five years’ flying experience, and be pilots of the highest calibre. The selected recruits are “test cosmonauts” and have to pass the cosmonaut training, before they are selected for any mission. It takes six to seven years to complete the comprehensive, three-stage training program, which means that these recruits will travel into space no earlier than 2020.