How does astronaut pay work?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RussR, Jul 5, 2022.

  1. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    I've been in federal service for my entire adult life. First in the military, where I was paid a salary, then in civil service, where like most civil service employees, I am NOT salaried. Rather, I fill out a time sheet, typically 40 hours a week. If I work at night, I get paid a little extra. If I work on a Sunday, also extra. Same for holidays. Overtime and comp time are factors in there too.

    So I was thinking about astronauts. Those that are military are I presume paid their normal military salary plus any hazardous-duty or other special pays.

    But what about the NASA employees? I found on a couple of searches that they're just on a regular GS pay scale and therefore hourly, non-salaried employees. When they're on the space station, I'm sure their duty hours aren't just 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do they fill out a time sheet? Do they get paid extra for nights, Sundays, and holidays? I assume they don't really have "days off", so do they log a ton of overtime just for normal operations? Do they bank it as comp time and take months off when they get back? If they have to handle some issue in the middle of their sleep period, do they log that as overtime too?

    Anybody know how this works?
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Bro do you even lift
    I dunno but astronauts just take up space.
     
  3. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Living in the JSC community since 1966 other than for military service I have know or do know quite a few active or retired Astronauts…Military guys get their military pay and allowance based on zip code 77058 and Civilians are GS11-14 with most maxing out by mission time…only real perk is an extra life policy for missions paid for by the government in my experience…never known them to get anything but straight salary…some try to establish a side hustle of endorsements or events…This is my observation and May or not be totally accurate…clueless how SpaceX pays, but Bob Behnken is my kids Niehbor and other than driving a nice new vehicle just lives like a normal middle class guy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
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  5. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    I'm sure Scott Kelly's supervisor hassled him to get his time card in every two weeks and ended up with a crap ton of comp time after a year in space. What LDR code do you use for a space walk?
     
  6. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I hear they get paid every other moonday
     
  7. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    So if they get a bonus is that considered a Moonanza?
     
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  8. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Time to up eman's meds...:)
     
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  9. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    pretty sure he prefers capsules over tablets
     
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  10. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He’s been spacing them too far apart?
     
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  11. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm sure their pay is...

    wait for it...

    Out of this world!
     
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  12. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Bro do you even lift
    Man the atmosphere changed quickly in here
     
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  13. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Man you are always on ... a regular space case! :D
     
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  14. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It was caused by Uranus.
     
  15. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    it's 5:00 somewhere......I wonder if they're going to the space bar for happy hour.
     
  16. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Nearly ... here we're showing T-minus 25 minutes & counting!
     
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  17. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Maybe they get paid by the mile like truck drivers.
     
  18. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Now, now...the international astronomers group has gotten tired of people making "Uranus" jokes. At their last meeting, they voted to rename the planet.

    The new name "Urectum." :)

    Ron "The butt of all jokes" Wanttaja
     
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  19. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    I remember one of the Apollo astronauts being asked about how their pay works. He said something along the lines of, "Well, we do get reimbursed for mileage, but some gets deducted because of 'Government quarters available'...." :)

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  20. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    I appreciate the jokes, but does anybody other than @Warlock have any real answers?
     
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  21. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Apologies ... I don't really know but suspect it would be GS and hazardous duty pay as required. I would certainly think that test pilots would be getting a fistful of dollars for some of the things they are required to do. Just a guess though and I'm waiting for the answer too ... if it ever comes around.
     
  22. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh dude! THIS is the exact reason why the both of us have to maintain our day jobs!
     
  23. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting question. Are astronauts subject to the FLSA? I think that there are other examples, like Secret Service for example. And what about CIA SAD operators? Are they on GS salary? They (deliberately) are not military. They basically replaced what the 5th Group Special Forces historically did up until the last couple decades, when the CIA decided they needed a paramilitary group outside of both the military and the Agency.
     
  24. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    I knew an astronaut but unfortunately he is no longer with us. Otherwise I'd ask him. He came up through the airforce and flew 3 missions.
     
  25. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Looks like being a SpaceX pilot might pay a bit better. But knowing the government and military mix with NASA id think there would be a lesser known hazard pay. Like I was getting super sea pay and submarine pay way back when, they gotta get something similar especially on a 6 month stint on the space station.

    20220705_184658.jpg
     
  26. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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  27. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    more than likely, they are billeted as a GS-218_ something, pilot position.

    As a Flight Instructor Supervisor, I was a GS-14, 2181 career code.
     
  28. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Obvious solution…..call NASA HQ and chat with the HR dept.
     
  29. AlleyCat67

    AlleyCat67 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My former boss was an ex-astronaut. As I recall pay was not nearly as good as you might think – GS 13 or 14 depending on experience and education. GS 15 is normally reserved for supervisory positions, and astronauts are not necessarily supervisory.

    One cool story that he told us – when doing a space walk on the outside of the ISS, there’s no intrinsic frame of reference for up versus down. So his perception switched randomly between riding on top of a large locomotive, and being on the bottom of the keel of a ship. I can’t imagine how disorienting that would be.
     
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  30. DaleB

    DaleB Final Approach

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    I don’t think that would be as much a problem for me as would the debrief after sitting on “top” of the thing, waving a cowboy hat and yelling “YEEEEEEE-HAWWWWWWWW!”
     
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  31. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    Man why do you have to give me PTSD… :D Talk about getting a random text while on international beach from your supervisor saying he doesn’t like how your LDR is filled out and to fix it….

    I assume 12XXFAFAR502SUR….:rolleyes:
     
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  32. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  33. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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  34. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    They get paid in Krugerrrands, just like pilots.
     
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  35. RussR

    RussR En-Route

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    I found this article, which seems reasonably well researched, about Canadian astronauts from a few years ago.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/as...e-station-christmas-salary-benefits-1.4951058

    It states that (Canadian) astronauts do actually get some holidays off while on the ISS (which ones is negotiated with the rest of the crew), and that they do NOT get overtime past the normal (I assume in Canada) 37.5 hour work week.

    It goes on to say this:
    "Given the nature of work as an Astronaut, the hours of work are irregular and work demands frequently result in long work hours," says Article 3.1 of the document. [the new astronaut contract]

    Granted this is about the Canadian astronauts, but I wonder if the U.S. astronauts are similar.

    I find this whole topic of pay interesting because in all my years of federal civilian service, the one thing that has been repeatedly emphasized in every organization I've been in, with every manager I've had, has been to accurately report your time when you fill out your time card. If you worked 41 hours this week, you better report 41 hours, and that one hour of overtime needs to have been pre-approved, or you should have left an hour ago. Sure, there are always some people who will put in extra, unreported hours for various reasons, but this is expressly not allowed and could get managers in trouble if they know about it.

    In some of my organizations overtime/comp time/etc. wasn't allowed, period. In others it has been with prior approval. In some roles it has been expected - but it's still put on the time card as overtime. For example, I was in the training department for a while. If I was teaching an 8 hour class, then certainly as an instructor I'd need to get there early to set up and stay later than the students to answer questions and put stuff away - so, maybe 1 hour of overtime per day of the class. Routine and expected - but I definitely got paid for it.

    The idea of astronauts being civil service, hourly employees, putting in lots of overtime yet not getting compensated for it while I do sitting at a desk seems weird to me. Unless they are expressly considered salaried, exempt employees as part of their contract.
     
  36. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Reminds of a story. An actual no sheeter true one. I was there. I was the one who did it. The other character in the story was Bob. Bob was a new supervisor. He was wrapped up kinda tight. The word anal comes to mind. Tower opens at 0630. Often folk would get there pretty much just in the nick of time. It was a little busy sometimes getting stuff done for the first few minutes. Gotta announce we're open, tell the center we're open, ATIS gotta get cut, etc. Often planes responding right away. Wanting a Clearance, already in the pattern, taxiing etc. Things always got done just fine. But Bob felt it looked disorganized. He said he wanted everyone already there, headsets on sitting at position with the Atis already cut and Center notified we had made it in before announcing over the air the tower was open. I asked him what time we had to arrive at work. He said I want you up here by 0620. Next morning I did. Signed in at 0620 then out at 1430 at end of shift. I think you know where this is going. If Controllers are given Overtime, they are guaranteed two hours of overtime pay whether they actually work the entire two hours or not. Next day a call comes up to the Tower. The sup who answered it said to me, "Chief wants to see you down in the Office now." Chief said in so many words, WTF is this about. I told him Bob ordered me to be at work at 0620. He rolled his eyes and said get out of here. Don't know what his conversation later with Bob went like, but Bob never brought the subject up again.
     
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  37. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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  38. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

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    considering a new career path? ;)
     
  39. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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  40. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Pattern Altitude

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    Interesting topic, and man, SpaceX does pay a more appropriate rate, IMHO.

    Side topic, or point of order......there are places in the civilian aerospace industry where you can be salaried, while also filling out a daily/weekly time card. Because that is what Bill Sr. wanted in 1916, before they had invented salaried employees. Not sure if Starliner will fly with just NASA crew, but if there are company astronauts on it, you can bet they will be filling out a timecard. Yes, it is electronic. I presume they have the internet in space, but I wonder how connectivity to the company VPN works up there. @nauga knows what the hell I'm talking about :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2022