Career NASA astronauts are those individuals selected by NASA to be members of the NASA astronaut corps. Individuals in this category make up the Space Shuttle crew positions, such as commander, pilot, or mission specialist, or International Space Station crew positions, such as commander or flight engineer.
Career astronauts are divided into four categories as follows.
- Active Astronauts are U.S. astronauts who are currently eligible for flight assignment, including those who are assigned to crews.
- Management astronauts are experienced astronauts who have been promoted to other positions within NASA, or astronauts on special duty assignments or sabbaticals that make them unavailable for direct support to the Astronaut Office.
- Former astronauts are those who have left NASA after a career in the Astronaut Corps, including those who are deceased.
- International astronauts are those individuals from international space agencies who have trained at Johnson Space Center and serve as mission specialists with NASA.