04/12/2011 10:36 am ET Updated Jun 12, 2011

Virgin Galactic Now Hiring Astronauts

Virgin Galactic is hiring for an out-of-this-world job that may be the first of its kind and marks a step forward in Virgin's efforts to pioneer commercial space travel that will send tourists into space.

A post on Virgin's careers site notes that the company, which has ambitions to become the "world's first private spaceline," is hiring the first crop of "Pilot-Astronauts" that will work with Virgin's WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, California, then at Virgin's spaceline base in Spaceport America, located in New Mexico. Responsibilities include "flight planning activities," "mission control duties," and developing training programs for Pilot-Astronauts and Customer-Astronauts.

"These will be the very first commercial Pilots-Astronauts, something which will undoubtedly excite the interest of a great many," Virgin writes in the job posting. "Successful candidates will have to be very special: both a full course graduate of a recognised test pilot school and highly and broadly experienced. Virgin is looking for pilots with significant experience of both high performance fast-jet type airplanes as well as large multi-engine types - not only that but 'prior spaceflight experience is an advantage'."

Interested astronauts and pilots have until April 30th to apply for the gig, which requires at least 3,000 hours of flying experience, "excellent, current knowledge" of aerospace matters, and being a "team player," though exceptions "may be considered for those with truly outstanding test flying or spaceflight experience."

See the full job posting here,