Astronaut Wings Office Emblem

To earn an astronaut badge, a U. S. Air Force or U. S. Navy and Marine Corps officer must complete all required training and participate in a space flight more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the Earth. The U. S. Army has awarded the badge to officers that have orbited the Earth. In the 1960s, the United States Department of Defense awarded astronaut badges to military and civilian pilots who flew aircraft higher than 50 miles (80 kilometres). Seven USAF and NASA pilots qualified for the astronaut badge by flying the suborbital X-15 rocket spaceplane. American test pilots Michael Melvill and Brian Binnie were each awarded a commercial astronaut badge by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when they flew sub-orbital missions aboard the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne rocket spaceplane. All other men and women awarded the astronaut badge earned it travelling to space in non-winged rockets, the X-15, or the Space Shuttle.