Amita Vadlamudi - Computer Systems Engineer

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Amita Vadlamudi's Blog

Being an Astronaut

on 02 Jul 2019 16:40 | Viewed 2457 times

1958 saw the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) adopt a word for the men and women it trains to go into space: Astronaut. It means “sailor among the stars”. Astronauts are people trained to pilot and travel in the spacecraft. They travel beyond the earth’s atmosphere and into space and conduct exploration and experimentation activities.

Astronauts mainly take on either of two roles: pilot astronauts who pilot the international space station and space shuttles and commanders. They are responsible for the crew, the mission and the safety of a flight into space. Mission specialist astronauts conduct experiments. They are also responsible for launching satellites and maintain the spacecraft and equipment. This also includes all the activities like spacewalks, collecting samples and other experiments.

In order to become an astronaut, an individual needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, physical science, biological science, computer science or mathematics. In addition, an individual needs to have at least three years of professional experience in the field or a thousand hours worth of flight time in a jet aircraft.

Training to become an astronaut is rigorous and lengthy. Space travel is risky and is the reason why most of the career of an astronaut is spent training under intensive conditions to prepare themselves for the challenges of space. Basic training lasts for two years where most of their learning is in the classroom. During this training session, they learn all about the systems of their vehicles and space stations, among many other things. They are also taught the key disciplines like space science, engineering, earth sciences and meteorology to equip them for their space travels.

Prospective astronauts also go through intensive military style survival training. In fact, they have to become scuba certified and pass swimming tests as part of their basic training.

The second-phase entails training in a variety of activities related to pre-launch, launch, orbit, entry and landing while working with experienced astronauts. The advanced stage sees them training for 10 months with a focus on their exercises, activities and experiments, which are directly related to the mission they are taking on.

Being an astronaut is a very risky and physically taxing job. But the satisfaction of helping in the discoveries and serving the mankind is a great reward.

About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi is a former Computer Professional who had supported the IBM Mainframe and the Sun Unix Systems. Amita Vadlamudi now spends her time reading and researching into various subjects.


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