Director of the Space center Lyndon B. Johnson said, which way shall pass candidates in cosmonauts before their flight.
Deputy Director of the Space center Lyndon B. Johnson Michael Hess told how many astronauts have already prepared NASA. Besides, he revealed the secrets of training of future space explorers and what are the requirements for candidates.
Humanity is once again “sick” in space. Last year, the National Aeronautics and space administration (NASA) has received more than 18 thousand applications for the 22nd set in the ranks of the astronauts. This figure more than doubled the previous record set in 1978. In August of 2017, NASA announced the names of 12 lucky winners who, perhaps, will fly not only to the International space station, but on the moon or even Mars.
As of thousands of professionals to select the team best able to fly in complex space mission?
Throughout its history NASA has selected 350 specialists who, after undergoing special training become astronauts. 212 of them were military, and 138 – civilians. The leader in “supplying” the astronauts are Air force (United States Air Force) – 85 people. Not too far behind them and the naval forces of the United States (United States Navy) 83. During the period from 1978 to the program astronaut was sent to 65 thousand applications. It is easy to calculate that the chances to get into the program for each of the candidates make up only 0.42 percent
NASA organizes a new group of astronauts every 3-5 years. The frequency with which the set depends on how many astronauts have retired and how many people are needed for a particular mission.
What basic qualifications must have future astronauts? First, each of them must be a graduate of accredited institutions in one of the STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Second, they must have three years of experience in the technical field. Thirdly, a team of NASA astronauts are U.S. citizens. At the same time, in the framework of cooperation programmes in the mission, NASA can join and the participants of the European or other local programs.
In the entire history of NASA has prepared 350 astronauts
The above paragraphs are only minimal requirements to candidates. NASA receives applications from a vast number of people, and a summary of most of them, not just meet basic criteria. During a recent astronaut selection in 2017 NASA has received more than 18 thousand questionnaires. Of these, the first stage of the selection were more than 11 thousand qualified specialists. In the second stage of them took away 440 the most competent candidates. Finally, at the final stage, after 11 weeks of interviews, the experts decided on the top 12 candidates.
It is interesting that every time NASA announces the selection of astronauts, the Agency receives a large number of applications from completely unqualified candidates (at the last set – 6418). The fact that many people fill out an application form just to get rejected and hang up this message from NASA on the wall. They say, look – I pretended to be an astronaut.
How is the selection
Dozens of HR professionals from NASA to study the application of each of the candidates, to verify its compliance with the basic requirements of the program. They also include candidates for one of the following groups – pilots, flight test engineers, biological and medical Sciences, physical Sciences and design and operations (Engineering and Operations). Some of the candidates may fall into several groups.
The selection of highly qualified candidates is carried out by members of a band called Astronaut Rating Panel, composed of 49 astronauts and members of NASA management. When the list of candidates was narrowed to 440 highly qualified candidates, the Commission has carried out more than 2000 checks to see whether the candidates told the truth about their achievements. In the next step all the information about the candidates for the astronauts transferred to the Astronaut Selection Board, which, in turn, took 120 people for interviews.
Last year NASA received 18 thousand applications from those wishing to become astronauts
First-round interviews conducted on Skype so you can talk with representatives of NASA from any corner of the world. Once NASA has conducted an interview with the candidate, who is stuck at the South pole.
The second round of interviews, which includes only 50 candidates, much more interesting. At this stage there is most psychological, behavioural and medical tests. You need to make sure that prospective astronaut has a basic medical training that in the past he had not had surgery and so on. Equally important behavioral and psychological tests. You need to make sure that the astronauts would not panic when you find yourself in vysokotsenovoj environment.
Only at this stage during last year’s selection was conducted 616 different tests with specialists from 23 institutions. These tests included exercises where teamwork, individual tests, the test of how candidates can use the devices, but also test the ability to conduct activities in outer space.
In order to conduct tests relating to activities in outer space uses the simulator called POGO – a system that simulates being in zero gravity.
Not less important is to check the ability of candidates to work with the equipment. You can meet absolutely brilliant physicist, but he won’t necessarily be able to handle tools. At the same time, the astronauts need to be prepared not just to work with different equipment, but we can do this in unusual circumstances – be able to work with everything inside and outside the space station.
12 “friends” space
When carried out the selection of professionals who in the future will travel in space, nobody did not set any quotas on what group they are supposed to represent: whether they be military or civilian, how many of them should be men and how many women. But despite the lack of such a plan, the group of candidates for the astronauts were very diverse. The group included 6 soldiers and 6 civilians, 7 men and 5 women. Three of the twelve selected candidates are pilots, one is an employee of one of the NASA centers, three biologists and physicians. Also, the group includes one physician and four engineers.
How is the training of astronauts in NASA
He passed General space training for each of the 12 selected candidates, the astronauts of the last two years. This program consists of several areas. The first ISS Training, which includes training on the systems of the International space station, in particular the acquisition of skills of work with the life support system in space (LSS). In addition, future astronauts are trained to use the robotic systems. In the framework of the training (EVA), the astronauts are learning to do “space walk” and carry out other procedures related to the spacewalk.
The astronauts also must pass a course on learning the Russian language, because the space station is in the modules. Another element of training astronaut training aircraft T-38. After a two-year study, candidates are considered as full-fledged astronauts can go to space mission.