Going to space will be like  the coolest thing ever! Travelling in a space rocket that’s moving faster than the speed of sound, to look down at the earth from above will certainly make anyone feel uber-special!  Tim Peake is the first astronaut sponsored by Britain to visit space, and is preparing for his flight to space. He will be visiting the International Space Station, but before that, there are some tests and training to pass through, and below are the things they entail.

Astronaut, Plumber and Electrician

For two years, he was taught in life-sized models of what the International Space Station looks like at the European Space Agency in Cologne, Germany, and has been shown how the smoke detectors work to ensure that he can clean, and have them work properly. Asides being an astronaut, he also has to learn much about routine maintenance of objects aboard the space station including plumbing and electrical works.

Preparing the Body for Space

He’s also had to prepare for the increased gravitational forces that will be experienced inside the Russian made Soyuz rocket that will transport him to space. To get him ready, he is spun round in centrifuges ( a piece of equipment that puts an object in rotation around a fixed axis usually in circles) which is necessary to prepare him for launch, but even more important for re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere where you experience really high deceleration forces of 89Gs (more than 870m/s²) or even higher!

He will also be doing a lot of scientific experiments – the main one being how his body fares in space. Aboard the space station there are cycle machines and treadmills, as well as a multi gym which use vacuum cylinders. These help in weight training, to reduce muscle wastage, and to reduce the loss of bone density – both of which are due to the effects of zero gravity on the body. They also help to keep astronauts in good cardio-vascular fitness (all things related to the heart and surrounding organs).

The point of the scientific experiments is to provide data for future expeditions to Mars, which will require  longer durations, and would be difficult on the bodies of astronauts if they are in poor physical conditions.

Sky Walking

If you have seen the movie, Gravity, you will observe that astronauts sometimes have to make trips outside the space station, especially when they are required to make repairs outside. For this, he is being trained to carry out a space walk in an underwater tank to  prepare him for outside tasks should anything go wrong outside the space station.

And that’s a wrap. Did you learn anything new about space missions and preparations for them? Tim Peake will be leaving for space in another six weeks.

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