First Person In Space | Space Exploration Facts | How To Become an Astronaut

In 1961, the world noticed the primary manned area flight. What had as soon as appeared mind-blowing and unthinkable turned a actuality. Again then, each minute on orbit was a miracle, and now astronauts routinely spend half a yr in area. Let’s see what it began with and what it takes to grow to be an astronaut these days.


Background of the occasion

A Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin performed the primary human spaceflight. On April 12, 1961, he spent 108 minutes in outer area aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. The occasion marked the start of a brand new period of area exploration. Cosmonautics Day was established within the Soviet Union one yr after to commemorate the heroism of the primary cosmonaut and the success of the Soviet area program.

In 2011, 50 years after the flight, the UN Normal Meeting declared April 12 because the Worldwide Day of Human House Flight, which is noticed yearly to reaffirm the significance of area exploration to humankind.

Humanity has been exploring area for a very long time and has achieved so much. The additional we go, the extra attention-grabbing it’s to recollect the way it all started. Dive deep into the historical past of area exploration with our quiz!

Sputnik 1 above Earth

What was the primary planet found utilizing math? Take this quiz to study main milestones in astronomy and area exploration!

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Turning into an astronaut

Individuals can solely fly into area as a part of area missions or as area vacationers. Within the latter case, attending to area will take as a lot time because it takes to avoid wasting up for a ticket. However how lengthy does it take to grow to be an expert astronaut?

Astronaut necessities

Totally different area businesses have barely completely different necessities, however mostly, they search individuals who:

  • have a level in a required subject (e.g., engineering, science, or medication);
  • have 2-3 years {of professional} expertise or PhD research;
  • have plane piloting expertise (not essential however thought-about a profit);
  • are completely wholesome, psychologically secure, and in nice form (however over-developed muscular tissues are extra of a draw back in zero gravity);
  • know international languages;
  • have required citizenship (e.g., American for NASA, ESA member states’ for ESA).

Astronaut coaching

If you happen to meet all the {qualifications}, be at liberty to use. The company will assessment your resume and conduct medical screening, bodily checks, and interviews. This course of may take greater than a yr. After that, if you’re fortunate, you’ll be part of the group of astronaut candidates.

Future astronauts have to finish a coaching program aimed to arrange them for all times and work in area. Loads of time is spent on finding out the ideas of working with onboard techniques and sophisticated area gear. Astronauts are skilled in finishing up scientific experiments, that are an necessary a part of area missions.

Candidates get uncovered to microgravity in vacuum chambers and parabolic flights, or below the water. The necessary a part of the coaching is experiencing isolation to arrange for its psychological and emotional results. On prime of that, they’ve to review all kinds of subjects, akin to international language, medication, astronomy, and robotics.

The period of the coaching is dependent upon the area:

  • NASA (US astronauts): 2 years;
  • ESA (European astronauts): greater than 3 and a half years;
  • JAXA (Japanese astronauts): 4 years;
  • CMSA (Chinese language astronauts): nearly 5 years.

So, how lengthy does it take to grow to be an astronaut? Let’s sum it up: 5-6 years to get a level, 2-3 years to get skilled expertise, after which 2-5 years of coaching. After that, astronauts may await months and even years earlier than truly attending to area. However think about: after all of the work is finished, you might be sitting in a spacecraft, on the brink of begin. 3, 2, 1…

Astronaut meals

Wait a minute! Earlier than going to area, you may need to know what you’ll eat there. Properly, mainly, an astronaut’s meal is much like what we eat on the Earth. The distinction is it must be specifically ready (for instance, freeze-dried or thermostabilized), however some meals may be eaten in pure kinds, akin to fruits and nuts.

The meals objects that aren’t allowed in area are bread and granular seasonings, as they could clog air vents or get caught in an astronaut’s eyes, mouth, or nostril. That’s why salt and pepper are available liquid kind.

By the way in which, gravity impacts the sense of style. In zero gravity, the physique fluids transfer freely across the physique as an alternative of settling in the direction of the toes, as they do on the Earth. It causes nostril congestion, which makes it tough to scent correctly and causes meals to style bland. That’s why many astronauts favor meals with intense flavors, notably spicy.

Present and upcoming area missions

What do astronauts do in area these days? Principally, they perform scientific observations. For instance, the ISS is a giant laboratory floating within the sky. Astronauts onboard analyze how supplies behave in area and research the human physique and its ailments, akin to most cancers, osteoporosis, bone atrophy, and so forth. This station has been round for a very long time, and almost definitely, so much about it. Check your data of the ISS by taking our quiz!

ISS Test

Solely 7% of individuals can reply all of the questions of this quiz accurately. Suppose you’ll be able to grow to be one in all them?

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By the way in which, the ISS can also be one of many brightest objects within the night time sky. You’ll be able to spot it even with the bare eye. See our video tutorial and discover the station within the sky with the assistance of Star Stroll 2.

China accomplished the development of the Tiangong (“Sky Palace”) area station. It has three modules: the Tianhe core module (“Concord of the Heavens”), which supplies residing area for astronauts, and two laboratory modules — Wentian (“Questioning the Heavens”) and Mengtian (“Dreaming of the Heavens”). The station goals to supply alternatives for space-based experiments and construct capability for scientific and technological innovation. There are plans to open the station for area vacationers to go to. Be taught extra concerning the new area station whereas passing our quiz.

Tiangong Space Station with the flag of China

Is Tiangong larger than the ISS? How shortly was it assembled? Take this quiz to study attention-grabbing information concerning the Chinese language area station!

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Tiangong can also be seen to the unaided eye, although it’s fainter than the ISS as a consequence of its smaller dimension. Use the Sky Tonight and Satellite tv for pc Tracker astronomical apps to study when will probably be flying over your location.

NASA is planning to return man to the Moon and examine the potential for staying there and constructing bases on the lunar floor and orbit. The primary crewed spaceflight of the undertaking, Artemis 2, is deliberate for 2025. It would fly across the Moon and return again to the Earth. The following mission, Artemis 3, is scheduled for 2026 and is ready to be the primary Moon touchdown since 1972. Astronauts are anticipated to spend per week on the Moon, gathering samples and investigating the floor.

That is what’s deliberate now, however over time, humanity will definitely set much more formidable objectives in area exploration. To infinity and past!


Who was the primary feminine astronaut?

The primary girl to ever go to area was Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut. On June 16, 1963, two years after Yuri Gagarin’s flight, she was launched into area aboard the spacecraft Vostok 6 and spent 71 hours orbiting the Earth.

Who’s the youngest astronaut?

For now, a Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov stays the youngest of all skilled astronauts who’ve been in area. On the age of 25, he spent in the future and one hour in area aboard the Vostok 2. Additionally, Oliver Damien from the Netherlands turned the youngest area vacationer as he joined Blue Origin area flight on July 20, 2021, on the age of 18.

How a lot cash does an astronaut make?

NASA astronauts make $104,898 to $161,141 per yr. ESA astronauts’ salaries barely differ relying on the state; the common month-to-month worth is roughly from €5200 (for recruits) to €7465 (after the primary spaceflight).

Do astronauts smoke in area?

Smoking is strictly prohibited onboard the ISS. Open flame could trigger a fireplace in an oxygen-rich setting of the spacecraft, and cigarette smoke can clog air filters.

Do astronauts drink alcohol in area?

It’s stated that NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin took communion wine earlier than stepping on the Moon, and Mir station’s cosmonauts had a small quantity of vodka and cognac onboard. Anyway, these days, consuming alcohol on any area mission is strictly prohibited.

Is there WiFi in area?

Sure, there may be WiFi on the ISS. Astronauts use it to speak with the Earth and one another: spacesuits can connect with the community and supply communication between the onboard crew and the astronauts on a spacewalk.

What occurs if an astronaut floats off in area?

Normally, astronauts use tethers, but when they broke, an astronaut would both orbit ceaselessly or attain the Earth’s gravitational zone and dissipate whereas falling by way of the dense layers of the environment. In concept, the astronaut might use an emergency jetpack to return, however the gasoline provide in it’s restricted. Thankfully, there have been no such instances to this point.

How a lot does an astronaut go well with value?

There is no such thing as a one price ticket, as some area businesses don’t disclose such info, and others have a number of completely different fashions. There’s an assumption that present NASA area fits value round $150 million, and the xEMU (Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit), which is developed for future missions, may cost at the very least $500 million.


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