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Astronomy for Kids

Astronauts

What is an astronaut?

An astronaut is a person who is specially trained to travel into outer space. Astronauts aboard a spacecraft may have different responsibilities. Typically there is a commander who leads the mission and a pilot. Other positions may include flight engineer, payload commander, mission specialist, and science pilot.


NASA Astronaut Bruce McCandless II
Source: NASA.

Astronauts have to undergo extensive training and testing before they can participate in a spaceflight. They must show that they can handle the physical rigors from the high gravity of launch to the weightlessness of orbit. They also must be technically knowledgeable and able to handle stressful situations that may arise during the mission.

Spacesuits

Astronauts have special gear called a spacesuit that they use when they must leave the safety of their spacecraft. These spacesuits provide them with air, protect them from the extreme temperatures of space, and protect them from the radiation of the Sun. Sometimes the spacesuits are tethered to the spacecraft so the astronaut won't float away. Other times the spacesuit is equipped with small rocket thrusters to allow the astronaut to navigate around the spacecraft.

Apollo 11 Flight Crew Photo
The flight crew from the Apollo 11.
Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin (left to right)
Source: NASA.

Famous Astronauts Fun Facts about Astronauts Activities

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More Astronomy Subjects

The Sun and Planets
Solar System
Sun
Mercury
Venus
Earth
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto

Universe
Universe
Stars
Galaxies
Black Holes
Asteroids
Meteors and Comets
Sunspots and Solar Wind
Constellations
Solar and Lunar Eclipse

Other
Telescopes
Astronauts
Space Exploration Timeline
Space Race
Nuclear Fusion
Astronomy Glossary

Science >> Physics >> Astronomy





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