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Astronauts begin their salaries in accordance with the U.S. Government pay scale. Astronauts enter the field at a minimum classification of GS-11, which in 2019 paid a minimum of $53,805, according to the Office of Personnel Management General Schedule. As they gain experience, astronauts may advance up the classification chart to peak at GS-14, which pays between $90,621 and $117,810. Of course, there are opportunities outside NASA (although these don't involve space flight) that may pay higher salaries. Astronauts who go to work in the private sector can often find positions with universities or private space laboratories that pay six-figure salaries.

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