Astronaut Facts

Astronaut Facts
Astronauts are people that are trained in a spaceflight program to serve as a crew member, a pilot, or a commander aboard a spacecraft. The term can also sometimes be used to refer to others who travel into space including scientists and journalists and tourists. Astronauts originally were trained by governments exclusively until 2002 but since then commercial astronauts have also been trained by private funds. The term astronaut is derived from Greek words meaning 'star sailor'. The first human to go to space was Yuri Gagarin in 1961. The first woman was Valentina Tereshkova in 1963.
Interesting Astronaut Facts:
In order to be an astronaut a person must be on a flight that travels at an altitude of 80km in the US. The World Air Sport Federation requires flights above 100km altitude.
In total as of June 2013 more than 532 people in 36 nations had reached outer space.
As of 2013 the person who has spent the most time in space is Sergei Krikalev. He spent 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes in space.
12 men have walked on the moon including Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
The first person to do a spacewalk was Alexei Leonov in 1965.
As of June 2013 Anatoly Solovyev holds the record for most spacewalks, at 16, including more than 82 hours.
18 astronauts have lost their lives in 4 space flight tragedies. 11 more have died during their training.
Originally astronauts required military jet piloting experience as well as engineering experience. Now they include engineering, biology, math, and physical science high achieving students.
In order to become a trainee in NASA you must be a US citizen. In addition it is necessary to pass a physical examination, have healthy blood pressure, and have 20/20 vision.
NASA astronauts spend 20 months in training. They are often trained in pools on earth to help them prepare for space. They simulate space walks and test equipment.
Getting insurance as an astronaut is tough. The Apollo 11 astronauts couldn't get it so they signed photos for their families to auction if they didn't return from their mission.
One astronaut named Don Lind waited for 19 years to fly from the time he was accepted. He was chosen in 1966 but didn't fly until 1985. He was either delayed because he was backup and not needed or his missions were canceled.
U.S. astronauts are required to learn Russian. This includes being able to run the ISS in Russian.
The airflow around sleeping astronauts must be maintained to avoid a carbon dioxide bubble forming around their heads.
One astronaut lost his wedding ring on a moon mission but found it during a spacewalk.
The oldest person to go to space was John Glenn at 77. He offered to be a human guinea pig for studying geriatrics in space.
One astronaut was almost denied going to space because of hay fever. But NASA then realized that space has no pollen.
Astronauts drain their bladder every 2 hours because it is hard to tell they need to because of low gravity.

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