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Commands or pilots a spacecraft, or serves as a crew member during a space mission.
Astronauts are trained to fly or be crew members on spacecraft. As an astronaut your duties would normally be split into two areas: maintenance and repair of the spacecraft and scientific experimentation and research.
Astronauts need to maintain the spacecraft and make sure that the environment onboard supports life. Work would include repairing, maintaining and testing oxygen production systems cleaning and testing air filters as well as maintaining water systems and testing for bacterial growth.
As well as carrying out research and maintenance some of your time in outer space would be taken up with normal everyday things like sleeping, eating and washing, which can be challenging in a low gravity environment. This affects your muscles and bone density, so you would also spend around two and a half hours a day exercising.
You would also get some free time to do other things like contact your family by email or satellite video, watch TV or read. Employment opportunities can be found with the European Space Agency or NASA.
To be an astronaut, you'll need a high level of physical fitness to help with life while in space such as the cramped living conditions and the effects of low gravity on the body. You’ll also need to work well as part of a team, be good at solving problems and have the ability to keep calm in emergencies.
The following are the qualities required for a career as an Astronaut:
Astronauts must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and US space agency NASA also require candidates to pass a strict physical exam and undergo training for the conditions and environments astronauts will encounter during launch, in space, and during landing.
Basic requirements for an Astronaut Pilot with NASA include the following:
1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Quality of academic preparation is important.
2. At least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Flight test experience is highly desirable.
3. Ability to pass a NASA space physical which is similar to a military or civilian flight physical and includes the following specific standards:
The latest NASA recruitment round requires candidates to have at least three years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. For more information about a career as a NASA astronaut, and application requirements, see NASA Space Missions
Last Updated: November, 2015
A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:
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|Astronaut - from: European Space Agency [Video]|
|Astronaut - Video (Part 1) - from: YouTube|
|Astronaut - Video (Part 2) - from: YouTube|
|Astronaut - Video (Part 3) - from: YouTube|
|Organisation:||European Space Education Resource Office Ireland (ESERO)|
|Address:||Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2|
|Tel:||(01) 607 3014|
|Dr Joseph Roche - Research Projects Coordinator|
|So you want to be an Astronaut|
|This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests... |
...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:
|Space Science and Technology|
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