Seokrae
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#1
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#1
I wanna become an astronaut and someone suggested the idea of going to the RAF as I can do flight training and do my studies. I'm going to start sixth form in September and I was wondering if they actually do A levels there and if I can still apply now and where I'm supposed to apply.
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Drewski
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Seokrae)
I wanna become an astronaut and someone suggested the idea of going to the RAF as I can do flight training and do my studies. I'm going to start sixth form in September and I was wondering if they actually do A levels there and if I can still apply now and where I'm supposed to apply.
You'll need your A levels before entry to the RAF as a pilot. Look at their careers site and that will tell you what you need to do to get in.

In order to jump through the several hundred big hoops of selection and training you have to want to be in the RAF, not just have half an eye on something that may be another 20 years away.
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Ikaruss
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#3
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While it’s a good thing to aim for the stars (literally in your case) , you also have to apply a touch of realism! Traditionally, in the early NASA days, the route to becoming an astronaut was almost exclusively the domain of military fast jet / test pilot . Since the Space Shuttle / International Space station era, the field has opened up to many more non-pilot candidates, particularly scientists. If you’re serious, then I would suggest this is the direction to head for. While the RAF could well give you the step to achieving your ambition, you would have to jump through so many hoops just to get into a jet cockpit let alone a rocket. Just to be clear, the RAF does not run a 6th form college while teaching you to fly. And just to give you an idea of timescales if everything was hunky dory with your RAF application, initial officer and professional training, you could be looking ( on current trends) at about 6-8 years from A level results to walking onto your first Squadron. A couple of tours later (another 6-9 years) and you could get selected for an Aerosystems course or test pilot school ( best case scenario 1-2 years) then a further tour as a qualified TP or aerosystems operative (3-4 years) . Therefore, taking the RAF pilot route, could take you into your 40s before entering the astronaut program (assuming there’s a recruitment trawl!)

Not an easy sector to apply to, but if you’re not in you can’t win!
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AscendingWings
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#4
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#4
It's not a bad idea, aiming high is good but as has been said the opportunities are few and far and very competitive. An RAF Pilot is just one hurdle and our A-Levels are the start of that journey. Astronauts as far as I remember from having this discussion in the office requires test pilot status and a number of jet hours, clearly, there is another hurdle, getting jet hours if and when you become a pilot, streams are defined based on performance and demand of pilots in each stream. As has also been said, the total jet hours required could take time too, then you have the competition for test pilot school and working there... then, of course, the competition to be an astronaut. This isn't even all of the steps required.

Believe in yourself, work hard, and as demand for astronauts increases, these requirements will decrease as I can only imagine the training will become more available. Set yourself up now with your A-Levels and see how you go. The RAF isn't the only route and as more commercial space companies recruit, there may be opportunities there too.
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