Astronaut – Facts, and Training

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Introduction

An astronaut is a person who is trained to command, pilot, or serve in a spaceflight mission. The term applies to both military and civilian space travelers. There are only a few hundred people who have been in space, and of those, only a fraction have been astronauts.

Becoming an astronaut is not easy. It takes years of rigorous training and experience in a related field. However, it can be done: there are civilians, former soldiers, scientists, doctors, and engineers who have all become astronauts. So what does it take to become an astronaut? Let’s take a look at the basics.

Education and Training


Astronauts must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, science, or math from an accredited university. They must also have three years of related professional experience or 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.

In addition to their academic and professional qualifications, astronauts must also undergo rigorous training. This includes survival training, spaceflight training, and Russian language training (since many Russian spacecraft are used). They must also be in excellent physical condition, as the environment inside a spacecraft is incredibly cramped and can be quite stressful.

Mission Specialization

Astronauts are not all equal: they are specialized in certain areas depending on the mission they are flying. For example, some astronauts are trained as pilots, while others are trained as scientists or engineers. This specialization ensures that each astronaut is proficient in the specific tasks required for their mission.

Spaceflight Experience

The final requirement for becoming an astronaut is spaceflight experience. This can be acquired through military or civilian space missions, or by participating in training programs like NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program. The minimum amount of required spaceflight time is determined by the type of mission being flown. For example, a three-month-long flight to the moon requires far more experience than a two-week shuttle flight to the International Space Station.

Some Famous Astronauts

Alan Shepard Jr. was the first American in space, on May 5th, 1961. He flew for fifteen minutes on a sub-orbital flight before landing safely. His experience as a navy test pilot helped him to complete this historic mission.

John Glenn is another famous astronaut who flew aboard Mercury 6 in 1962. On February 20th, he became the first US citizen to orbit the Earth. He went on three more missions during his twenty-five-year career with NASA and retired in 1998 at age 77 after working for four years as Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC.

The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen who made a single orbit on April 12th, 1961. He died in 1968 during a jet-training accident and was awarded numerous medals and awards for his role as an astronaut and cosmonaut.

Conclusion

Astronauts are not all equal: they are specialized in certain areas depending on the mission they are flying. For example, some astronauts are trained as pilots, while others are trained as scientists or engineers. This specialization ensures that each astronaut is proficient in the specific tasks required for their mission.

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