Becoming an astronaut is the dream of many children – to get rid of Gravity, Float above Earth And travel internationally. For many, this dream fades into adolescence. But for some, this elusive life will always be a goal.
So, what is it like to become an astronaut?
First, to be a candidate, you must be a citizen of a country where you are usually a member of an aerospace company. To register with NASA, for example, you must be an American citizen. However, some private astronauts may hire astronauts regardless of their citizenship.
Related: Why is space a vacuum?
Many qualifications like education are similar in space agencies. To apply as an astronaut with the European Space Agency (ESA), for example, you need a master’s degree in natural science, medicine, engineering, mathematics or computer science, or you need a test pilot degree, which teaches how to pilot test aircraft and Graduates learn how to manage research projects. NASA has the same requirements, but allows two years to earn a doctorate in these subjects.
One degree is not enough. To meet candidate requirements, applicants also need real-world experience – at least two years of relevant postgraduate experience in their field of study for NASA or three years for ESA. NASA’s requirement can be met with 1,000 pilot-in-command hours on a single jet. You need to be fluent in English as it is used on the International Space Station. (Being fluent in other languages like Russian is an asset, but not required, According to the ESA.)
Astronauts must also have a passing health record. For example, the ESA requires a medical certificate for a private pilot’s license or with an initial application, although you do not need to hold a license. NASA candidates can surpass the long-term air astronaut. “Normally, when we are at the end of the selection process, we place them through the same evaluation process that we use to assign the current astronaut to a mission, to ensure that they are eligible for a space flight,” said NASA’s space selection manager Annie Romer.
In the past, most physical disabilities would have disqualified a person as an astronaut. But the ESA has introduced the Parastronode Possibility Plan to deploy at least 3 inches (130 cm) of astronaut at least 4 feet below; A pronounced leg length difference; Or lower extremity deformity such as knee infiltration. The company will work with the astronaut to determine what changes the space agency should make to existing protocols for sending this person into space.
Mental health Just as important as physical health. Astronauts work long hours in high stressful situations. They are away from their friends and family for many months at a time, and interacting with those on earth is challenging. For example, at the International Space Station, email is available and astronauts can make video calls, but they can only receive audio at the end and have calls Recess for a few seconds. For trips to Mars, it can be very difficult to communicate home with family. Instead, the astronauts are trapped in small, enclosed areas.
Related: Where is the center of the universe?
“During the selection process, we will test the person’s mental stability with psychometric testing and other tools, especially if there are any red flags going up,” said Mr Dokmar Boos, chairman. ESA’s Capacity and Policy Center. This morale is also important for the safety of these astronauts and the team as a whole, Boose said.
They are the minimum requirements, but it requires more to be selected as an astronaut. More than 18,000 people applied for the 2017 NASA astronaut class, but only 12 were selected. Candidates to leave the meeting should be really interesting.
The quality that the selection committee is looking for is the ability to be a leader and follower. Experience working in such extreme environments North Pole Or the desert, which will attract more judges, Boose said. She also seeks out those who are responsible for the lives of others, such as being part of a rescue team.
In addition to flying in space, astronauts have technological roles on Earth and are the faces of the space travel program, so they can work in many environments. “We’re looking for well-rounded people in the group,” Romer said. “It includes career achievements, hobbies and interests.”
Finally, astronauts should be easy to work with. “The goal is to get to Mars, which is a very long mission,” Romans said. “They’re trying to evaluate. Can I lock myself in a tin can with this person and make sure we have a successful mission?”
First published in Live Science.