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What give an astronaut the right stuff?


10-16-2016 09:59 BJT

Full coverage: China Tiangong-2 Space Lab Launch

Space exploration is the dream of many people. But not everyone is fit for the big adventure. China has a total crew of 21, including two women. How much training must a person take before he or she can be called an astronaut?

Outer space is different in many ways from Earth. The oxygen levels, gravity and temperatures all vary drastically. That means an astronaut must be exceptionally healthy and strong to adapt to the rigors of a strange, challenging environment. A variety of training equipment can help prepare them for space travel.

This chair is designed to examine the human body's vestibular function, or simply its balance capability. That's crucial for astronauts to stay in space. Spending just a few minutes in this chair stay can make one feel dizzy and nauseous. Astronauts need to stay in the chair for at least 15 minutes in each of their training sessions.

Astronauts also need to deal with gravity changes. That's because when people are in a zero gravity environment, their blood can float into their heads. To adapt to the change, astronauts need to lie on their back on a bed and change to different angles every few minutes.

A spaceship simulator is considered the most important equipment for astronauts. The astronauts use it to practice performing the many navigational procedures required while in space while becoming familiar with all of the ship's complicated controls and computer systems.

Astronauts also will experience a sensation of feeling overweight when they return to Earth. Because of that, they need to go through endurance training as well. During that training, the astronauts will endure eight times of gravitational acceleration for 40 seconds. The training can cause muscle deformations and consumes great energy.

The astronauts will also need to practice sky-diving and take such courses as advanced mathematics, mechanics, astronomy and medical skills.

Ten Chinese astronauts have flown into space in the past 10 years. More will certainly follow as the future expands.

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