18 Jun 2024

What Do You Actually Have to Do When Training to Become an Astronaut?


Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an astronaut? Whilst being an astronaut is amazing, the process to get there is long and gruelling. It involves plenty of physical, mental, and technical preparation. Find out below about the dedication, discipline, and perseverance involved.


Physical Fitness

Physical Fitness might be the first area you think of when it comes to training. This makes sense because it is super important! Physical assessments ensure candidates can withstand the demanding conditions of space travel. NASA’s Astronaut Candidate training program includes military water survival training and SCUBA qualifications to prepare them for spacewalking. They also must pass a swimming test during their first month of training. This involves swimming 3 lengths of a 25-meter pool without stopping. Then, swimming 3 lengths of the pool in a flight suit. They’re also exposed to high and low atmospheric pressures in altitude chambers.

See an example of military water training below…


Mental Fitness

Mental fitness is crucial, too. From problem-solving to team-building, candidates must take part in many different tasks. Psychological tests across several weeks are the starting point for checking your mental fitness. This involves questionnaires, computer-based tests, and role-playing sessions. Space can be isolating and very taxing on our minds, so mental testing is super important.

Another aspect of mental fitness is knowledge-based. For instance, NASA requires plenty of training from their candidates including:

  • International Space Station systems training
  • Extravehicular Activity skills training
  • Robotics skills training
  • Russian Language training
  • Aircraft flight readiness training.

With the ESA, it’s important that the candidates also learn how to run experiments scheduled during their mission. For this, they need to learn plenty of scientific concepts and skills.

See an example of a mental agility test below…


In conclusion, training to become an astronaut involves a lot of preparation. In fact, at The ESA, astronauts complete a minimum of three to four years of training before flying. While the path to space is challenging, the rewards await those who dare to reach for the stars.

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