What Does It Take To Become An Astronaut?

Neil Armstrong and Kalpana Chawla are some of the astronauts we deeply admire. As a child some of us dreamed of going to space. Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an astronaut? Becoming an astronaut is neither simple nor straightforward; there are no schools for astronauts or university courses. In this video we explain what qualifications and qualities you need to become an astronaut.

Astronauts require a high level of education in scientific or technical disciplines such as engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics, from an accredited institution. Previous experience with aircraft operations is a bonus, particularly if it involved responsible tasks such as being a test pilot or flight engineer.

So far, as the very first crewed space mission of India is scheduled in December 2021, ISRO prefers to select Indian Air Force pilots. Indeed, every nation with a manned spaceflight program started with experienced pilots. 

It is also important to have good health. Astronauts have to undergo intensive periods of training and may participate in spaceflights that last for months. During this time their body will be subject to a great deal of stress. Good health and physical endurance are essential.

Fluency in English is mandatory and a good knowledge of Russian is an asset. Interest in, and knowledge of, American, Russian and Japanese culture is also useful as it will facilitate good relations with our international partners on the Space Station.

Among the psychological qualities required is the ability to get on well with other members of the crew, and an affinity for teamwork and adaptability, as the space crew must work well together.

On the operational side, an ability to adapt quickly to changing situations and mature judgment will be of great help in performing tasks and optimizing on-orbit routines and procedures.

Lastly, astronauts must be willing to travel long distances, both on Earth and in space, and to spend long periods away from home as astronaut training takes place in a number of countries and they must participate in long -duration missions.

If you work hard enough, your dream of going to space can actually come true.

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