Monday, July 27, 2009


With the recent anniversary of the first manned lunar landing 40 years ago and the final spacewalk on the International Space Station today, I thought some astronaut and Moon knowledge would be appropriate.

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 ProbesArtificial Satellites and Manned Spacecraft.

Interesting Facts:
  • 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.

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