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Being A NASA Astronaut: 10 Unexpected Facts About It.

02 November,2022  |  By Brainwonders

NASA Astronaut

When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, children worldwide saw stars in their eyes and dreamed of a career that had never been before: being an astronaut.

A lot of things have changed over the past few years. Despite many career options available now, many children still desire to travel to space and explore the possibilities of being an astronaut. 

Being an astronaut is undoubtedly a difficult task. But with the proper career guidance, you can achieve the desired goal. 

Nasa needs to maintain a vast workforce. There are very few active Nasa astronauts. In the last 50 years, less than 600 people have gone to space. In 2003, from 6000 applicants, only eight were selected as NASA astronauts. But all it takes is a dream to explore the area, and with the right direction, you can achieve the goal of being a NASA astronaut. 

About Astronaut as a career

Astronauts are the individuals who fly in outer space. The word astronaut is an amalgamation of 2 words- Astro - celestial body/star and nautilus - sailor. Which together means star sailor/ someone who sails through the stars. 

In the beginning, astronauts were only believed to document events in space. Later it was noticed that more than having these events recorded is needed. Human interaction is essential for it. 

There are two types of astronauts : 

Pilot astronauts and Mission specialist astronauts. 

What do NASA astronauts do? 

When it comes to space flights, NASA astronauts have a variety of roles. 

The commander: 

They are in charge of a space mission and are ultimately responsible for the most crucial choices. The pilot and the commander collaborate closely. Other astronauts take on the mission specialist role, requiring them to use specialized talents or knowledge.

Mission specialist astronauts: 

Astronauts who work as mission specialists aid pilots with experiments, satellite launches, and spacecraft and equipment maintenance.


Pilots and commanders of the space shuttle and the international space station are astronauts. They control the crew, the mission, its success, and the safety of the flight.

Astronauts also execute a variety of routine duties to keep space stations operational. The staff cleans and inspects the equipment and repairs any broken items. They also exercise for two hours daily to keep up with the job's physical demands. 

Requirements to become a NASA astronaut: 

College degrees do not provide a direct course to becoming an astronaut. Everyone working in NASA or any other space organization is mostly an expert in Math and Science. Since they meet all the requirements of Nasa, they are hired into the NASA team.

Recommended read: 3 Steps To Make A Subject Interesting For Your Child

How to become a NASA astronaut: 

A master's degree is required, and at least two years of relevant professional experience for aspiring NASA astronauts. They must complete at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time on a jet plane.

-A degree from an accredited institution in a STEM subject, such as engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics, is required.

-NASA astronauts must pass the NASA astronaut physical test for long-duration flights.

-The Astronaut Selection Board studies and evaluates each candidate's qualifications, and the board selects a small group of the best candidates for interviews at NASA's Johnson Space Center. About half of the candidates interviewed are invited back for follow-up interviews. 

-The new NASA astronaut candidates are chosen from this group. The following two years are spent learning fundamental astronaut abilities. These abilities include managing the space station, flying T-38 jet planes, etc.

What is basic training like for a NASA astronaut?

Before the newly picked class of NASA astronauts is certified as astronauts ready for flight, they must undergo an intense process. NASA astronauts need to learn how to spacewalk, drive planes, and operate on the International Space Station as their fundamental training.

There is also basic training for NASA astronauts for physical assessment for swimming, military water survival, scuba diving, and essential activities like atmospheric pressure tests. 

Role of Career Guidance in being an Astronaut:

With the proper career guidance, people can choose the right career opportunities. Career counsellors evaluate an individual's abilities and interests before offering career advice to help them choose a career path that is right for them. Becoming an astronaut is a huge decision one has to make. Hence, career guidance can help individuals select the right career and help them achieve the dream of being an astronaut.  

Ten amazing facts about being an Astronaut at NASA

  1. To become a NASA astronaut, NASA has strict qualifications. Being in the excellent physical condition and possessing the technical skills necessary are equally crucial for being a NASA astronaut. You will have to do challenging tasks on a spaceship or a space station distant from home.
  2. The new NASA astronauts begin their careers by flying to the International Space Station or being assigned to some other missions.
  3. NASA astronaut candidates chosen will work for NASA, but they will also be part of a network of worldwide collaborations.
  4. NASA's 140-kilogram propulsion backpack, also known as the Staffed Maneuvering Unit or MMU Backpack, allows NASA astronauts on the space shuttle to fly freely.
  5. NASA sends manned trips to the International Space Station regularly for research purposes. Engineers, pilots, and experts in the fields they want to learn about make up the team (Physics, Geology, Chemistry, Oceanography, etc.)
  6. Aerospace designers (experts who design space shuttles and aeroplanes), in addition to NASA astronauts, are employed in this area by NASA.
  7. To be on the International Space Station, it is mandatory to learn Russian to read and communicate on the Russian side. 
  8. Those who have received training and funding from the governments of the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe are termed astronauts. Any space shuttle mission member or crew member heading into space is referred to as a NASA astronaut. 
  9. Bone and muscle wastage is a real risk in space. The environment is not suitable for humans to survive. Hence, it is essential to exercise in the area to maintain muscle mass and bone density. 
  10. Astronauts usually get stretched in space for 3%. Their height comes back to normal after returning to earth.

5 Most famous astronauts of the world :

  • Yuri Gagarin, Russia- He was the 1st person to fly in space. 
  • Neil Armstrong, USA- He was the 1st person to walk on the moon. 
  • Valentina Tereshkova, Russia- She was the 1st woman to travel into space. 
  • Alan Shepard, USA- He was the 1st American to walk in the area. 
  • Sally Ride, USA- She was the 1st American woman to go into space. 

Five most famous astronauts of Indian origin: 

  • Kalpana Chawla - She was the 1st Indian woman to go into space. 
  • Rakesh Sharma - He was the 1st Indian astronaut to go into space. 
  • Sunita Williams - She holds a record for the longest spaceflight (195 days) and the most spacewalking time (50 hours and 40 minutes) 
  • Raja Chari - He was a part of NASA's third mission to the International Space Station, which SpaceX is carrying out.
  • Ravish Malhotra was a backup for Rakesh Sharma on Soyuz T-11, but his story remains unexplored. 

Find out if you have the aptitude to become an astronaut with the correct career guidance at Bainwonders!

Are you aware which subjects and courses will bring you closer to your dream career?

The pathway to your dream career is what will shape your skills and knowledge


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