There are three kinds of astronauts aboard the U.S. Space Shuttles: Pilot or Commander – Heads the mission and controls the spacecraft, Mission Specialist – Crew members who carry out specific jobs, such as performing experiments or going on spacewalks and Payload Specialist – Scientists and other on-board guests who are not NASA astronauts.
There are three kinds of spacecraft: Unmanned Probes, Artificial Satellites and Manned Spacecraft.
- The very first astronauts were jet pilots.
- Astronauts need to be fit and have 20/20 eyesight.
- Weightlessness makes astronauts grow an inch or so during a long mission.
- Astronauts need to be between 5’4” and 6’4”.
- The word “astronaut” comes from the Greek words meaning sailor among the stars.
- “Cosmonaut” is a member of the Russian space program.
- The first woman in space was cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963.
- The first man in space was cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
- Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard was the first American in space just 23 days after Yuri Gagarin.
- The first human to step outside a spacecraft was cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in 1965.
- Three months later, astronaut Edward White II made the first spacewalk for the U.S.
- Soviet probe Lunar 9 was the first moon landing in 1966.
- Apollo 8 was the first to orbit the Moon in 1968.
- Neil Armstrong was the first human to step foot on the moon, following behind him was Buzz Aldrin in 1969.
- E.V.A. (Extra-Vehicular Activity) is the technical name for going outside a spacecraft.
- The first spacewalkers were tied to their spacecraft by life-support cables.
- Astronauts have brought back 838 pounds of Moon rock.
- A mirror was left on the Moon to reflect a laser beam to measure the Moon’s distance from Earth.
- The laser measurements show that, on average, the Moon is 233,806 miles from Earth.
- Temperatures vary from 243°F at noon to -260°F at night on the Moon.
- The gloves of Apollo 11 astronauts had tiny lights built into the fingertips.
- Spacesuits are officially called E.M.U.s (Extra-Vehicular Mobility Units.)
- The cost of a spacesuit is around $11 million, of which 70% is for the backpack and controls.
- Laika, a dog, was the first living creature in space aboard the Soviet’s Sputnik 2.
- Carbon dioxide that crews breathe out is absorbed by pellets of lithium hydroxide.
- The U.S. space shuttle reaches speeds of 18,650 mph.
Now you’re a little smarter, Girlfriend — And so am I.