Astronaut Selection and Training NASA facts National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mans scope of space exploration has broadened since the first U - PDF document

Astronaut Selection and Training NASA facts National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mans scope of space exploration has broadened since the first U
Astronaut Selection and Training NASA facts National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mans scope of space exploration has broadened since the first U

Astronaut Selection and Training NASA facts National Aeronautics and Space Administration Mans scope of space exploration has broadened since the first U - Description

S manned space flight in 1961 But the nation will never forget the original seven pilots who focused our vision on the stars In 1959 NASA asked the military services to list their members who met specific qualifications In seeking its first astronaut ID: 36813 Download Pdf


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Astronaut Selection and Training National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMan’s scope of space exploration has broadened sincethe first U.S. manned space flight in 1961. But the nationwill never forget the original seven pilots who focused ourvision on the stars. In 1959, NASA asked the militaryservices to list their members who met specificqualifications. In seeking its first astronauts, NASArequired jet aircraft flight experience and engineeringtraining. Height could be no more than 5 feet 11 inchesbecause of limited cabin space available in the Mercuryspace capsule being designed. After many intensephysical and psychological screenings, NASA selectedseven men from an original field of 500 candidates. Theywere Air Force Captains L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., Virgil“Gus” Grissom, and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton; Marine History of Astronaut Selection Basic Qualification RequirementsThe Astronaut Candidate selection process was developed to selecthighly qualified individuals for human space programs. AstronautCandidates are selected on an as needed basis. Both civilian andmilitary personnel are considered for the program. Applicants, all ofwhom must be citizens of the United States, must meet a series ofminimum requirements. The requirements for Astronaut Candidates are a bachelor’s degreefrom an accredited institution in engineering, biological science,physical science, or mathematics. Quality of academic preparation isimportant. Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related,progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanceddegree is desirable and may be substituted forexperience as follows: master’s degree = 1 yearof experience, doctoral degree = 3 years ofexperience. Teaching experience,including experience at the K - 12levels, is considered to be qualifyingexperience for the AstronautCandidate position; therefore,educators are encouraged toapply.Additional requirementsinclude the ability to pass theNASA long-duration spaceflight physical, which includesthe following specificrequirements: Distant and nearvisual acuity must becorrectable to 20/20 in eacheye, blood pressure not toexceed 140/90 measured in asitting position, and the candidatemust have a standing height between62 and 75 inches.Applicants for the Astronaut CandidateProgram must meet the basic educationrequirements for NASAengineering and scientific positions, specifically,successful completion of standard professionalcurriculum in an accredited college or universityleading to at least a bachelor’s degree with majorstudy in an appropriate field of engineering,biological science, physical science, ormathematics. The following degree fields, whilerelated to engineering and the sciences, are notconsidered qualifying: degrees in technology(engineering technology, aviation technology,medical technology, etc.); degrees in psychology(except for clinical psychology, physiologicalpsychology, or experimental psychology, which arequalifying); degrees in nursing; degrees in exercisephysiology or similar fields; degrees in socialsciences (geography, anthropology, archaeology,etc.); and degrees in aviation, aviation managementor similar fields.Astronaut Selection and TrainingFollowing the preliminary screening of applications,a week-long process of personal interviews,medical screening, and orientation are required for both civilian andmilitary applicants under final consideration. Once final selectionshave been made, all applicants are notified of the outcome. Selected applicants are designated Astronaut Candidates and areassigned to the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center (JSC)in Houston, Texas. The Astronaut Candidates undergo a training andevaluation period lasting approximately 2 years. During this time theywill participate in the basic Astronaut Candidate training program,which is designated to develop the knowledge and skills required forformal mission training upon selection for a flight. Military AstronautCandidates with a jet piloting background maintain proficiency inNASA aircraft during their candidate period. As part of the Astronaut Candidate trainingprogram, candidates are required tocomplete military water survival beforebeginning their flying syllabus, andbecome SCUBA qualified to preparethem for spacewalk training.Consequently, all AstronautCandidates are required to passa swimming test during theirfirst month of training. Theymust swim 3 lengths of a 25-meter pool without stopping,and then swim 3 lengths ofthe pool in a flight suit andtennis shoes with no time limit.They must also tread watercontinuously for 10 minuteswearing a flight suit. Candidates are also exposed to theproblems associated with high(hyperbaric) and low (hypobaric)atmospheric pressures in the altitudechambers and learn to deal with emergenciesassociated with these conditions. In addition, Astronaut Astronaut Selection and Training Candidates are givenexposure to the microgravityof space flight during flightsin a modified jet aircraft as itperforms parabolicmaneuvers that produceperiods of weightlessnessfor about 20 seconds. Theaircraft then returns to theoriginal altitude and thesequence is repeated up to40 times in a day. Final selection as anastronaut will depend uponsatisfactory completion of thetraining and evaluationperiod. Graduation from theAstronaut Candidate Programwill require successfulcompletion of the following:International Space Stationsystems training, Extravehicular Activity skills training, Robotics skillstraining, Russian Language training, and aircraft flight readinesstraining. Civilian candidates who successfully complete the training andevaluation and are selected as astronauts become permanent Federalemployees. Civilian candidates who are not selected as astronauts maybe placed in other positions within NASA, depending upon agencyrequirements and workforce constraints at that time. Equal opportunityin employment means opportunity not just for some but for all. NASAprovides equal opportunity in Federal employment regardless of race,color, gender, national origin, religion, age, non-disqualifying physical ormental disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, status as aparent, or gender identity.Pay and BenefitsSalaries for civilian Astronaut Candidates are based on the FederalGovernment’s General Schedule pay scales for grades GS11 throughGS14, and are set in accordance with each individual’s academicachievements and work experience. Selected military personnel willbe detailed to JSC, but will remain in an active duty status for pay,benefits, leave, and other similar military matters. Astronaut ResponsibilitiesAstronauts are involved in all aspects of on-orbit operations of theInternational Space Station (ISS). This includes extravehicularactivities (spacewalks), robotics operations using the remotemanipulator system, experiment operations, and onboardmaintenance tasks. Astronauts are required to have a detailedknowledge of the space station systems, as well as detailedknowledge of the operational characteristics, mission requirementsand objectives, and supporting systems and equipment for eachexperiment on their assigned missions. Long-duration missionsaboard the space station generally last from 3 to 6 months. Trainingfor long-duration missions is arduous and takes approximately 2 to 3years beyond the initial training and evaluation period. This trainingrequires extensive travel, including long periods in other countriestraining with our international partners. Trips to and from the spacestation will initially be aboard the Russian Soyuz vehicle andpotentially aboard other future spacecraft presently being developed.Astronaut Formal TrainingThe astronauts begin their formal training program during their year ofcandidacy by reading training manuals and by taking computer-based training lessons on the various vehicle systems. The next step in the training process involves the spacecraft systemstrainers. The astronauts are trained to operate each system, torecognize malfunctions, and to perform corrective actions if needed. The Sonny Carter Training Facility, or Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory(NBL), provides controlled neutral buoyancy operations in the facilitywater tank to simulate the zero-g or weightless condition that isexperienced by the crew during space flight. It is an essential tool forthe design, testing, and development of the International SpaceStation and future NASA programs. For the astronaut, the facilityprovides important preflight training in becoming familiar with plannedcrew activities and with the dynamics of body motion underweightless conditions in order to perform spacewalks. Several full-scale mockups and trainers are also used to trainastronauts. These mockups and trainers are used for onboardsystems orientation and habitability training. Astronauts practice mealpreparation, equipment stowage, trash management, use of cameras,and experiment operations. Astronauts, who are pilots maintain flying proficiency by flying 15hours per month in NASA’s fleet of two-seat T38 jets. Non-pilotastronauts fly a minimum of 4 hours per month. The T38 is used forflight readiness training to help the astronauts become adjusted tothe flight environment, including the g-forces experienced on launch.The astronaut training is designed to prepare personnel for spaceflight on the International Space Station, Russian Soyuz spacecraft,NASA’s Orion vehicle, and future spacecraft. International Space Station Program DescriptionThe International Space Station is the largest international scientificand technological endeavor ever undertaken. The space station is apermanent scientific laboratory in which gravity, temperature andatmospheric pressure can be manipulated for scientific andengineering pursuits impossible in ground-based laboratories. NASA Facts The International Space Station marked its 10th anniversary ofcontinuous human occupation on Nov. 2, 2010. Since Expedition 1,which launched in October 2000, the space station has been visitedby more than 200 individuals, travelled more than 1.5 billion miles(equivalent to eight trips to the Sun) and orbited the Earth more thanNASA and the world have learned much about building in space andabout how humans and spacecraft systems function on orbit. Butthere is much more to do and learn. The voyage of research anddiscovery is just beginning as NASA shifts its focus from assembly toscientific research, technology development, exploration, commerce,and education. Aboard the orbiting laboratory, crew members pursue novel avenuesof research and development that impact medical research, advancematerials and processes to benefit industries on Earth, and canaccelerate breakthroughs in technology and engineering that haveproven themselves as practical applications for life on Earth. The station continues to expand the boundaries of space research.The unique capabilities of its laboratories will lead to discoveries thatwill benefit missions farther into outer space. Using the station tostudy human endurance in space and test new technologies andtechniques, NASA will prepare for longer journeys to otherdestinations, such as Mars and beyond.Century AstronautsThe astronauts of the 21st century will continue to work aboard theInternational Space Station in cooperation with our internationalpartners; help to build and fly a new NASA vehicle, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV ) designed for human deep spaceexploration; and further NASA’s efforts to partner with industry toprovide a commercial capability for space transportation to the spaceThe Orion MPCV draws from more than 50 years of spaceflightexperience and is designed to meet the evolving needs of ournation's future human space exploration program. Orion featuresdozens of technology advancements and innovations that have beenincorporated into the spacecraft's subsystem and component designand includes both crew and service modules, a spacecraft adaptor,and a revolutionary launch abort system that will significantly increasecrew safety. Its life support, propulsion, thermal protection, andavionics systems, in combination with other deep space elements,will enable extended duration deep space missions. These systemshave been developed to make possible the integration of newtechnical innovations as they become available.Orion will be capable of carrying astronauts on diverse expeditionsbeyond Earth’s orbit –ushering in a new era of human spaceNASA is in the process of identifying possible near-Earth asteroids toexplore with the goal of visiting an asteroid in 2025. With that goal,and keeping in mind that the plan is to send a robotic precursormission to the asteroid approximately five years before humansarrive, NASA will need to select the first set of targets to exploreFor additional information about the Astronaut Candidate Program,please go to the Astronaut Selection site National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationLyndon B. Johnson Space CenterHouston, Texas

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