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How to get yourself a ride to the International Space Station

Updated on March 13, 2017

So, you want to be an astronaut and visit the International Space Station? Well, you have come to the right place. Becoming an astronaut and going to the International Space Station sounds very easy, but it is harder than what we think. Being an astronaut requires both physical, and mental health to be above the top. That is why the astronauts are different from common people. They are healthy in all areas; physical, mental and even social.
The process required in becoming an astronaut can be very long, it can even take decades to get you a mission. But once you get it, you will be among the handful that have been on that place. Going to the ISS will be a very proud moment, both for you and for your family. So, this page covers some factors about becoming an astronaut.

What is the International Space Station?

Well, obviously most of the people reading this hub will already know what is the International Space Station, but for the sake of the hub length, let me explain it. The ISS is a kind of laboratory, about 400 kilometer above the Earth’s surface. It is used for many purposes, researching about the Earth, taking pictures, studying about space. But the thing on which it focuses is studying the effect of zero-g on different biological organisms, and some non-living things too.
The space station hurtles through the sky with a speed 27,600 km/h (17,000 mph). This is enough to complete one rotation of the earth in about 92 minutes. That means it experiences one sunrise and one sunset in 92 minutes. It is the length of two soccer fields. Normally, the ISS is occupied by only 6 people, each a master in his field.
Currently, the ISS is witnessing an orbital decay at the rate of 2 km/month. It is the biggest artificial body in the orbit, and the second farthest place humans have ever gone (after Moon). It can be easily seen with a naked eye, if the sky is dark enough. It is seen as a yellow dot hurtling through the sky at a very high speed. It is often mistaken as a UFO.
The astronauts in the ISS witness micro-gravity, and as a result they float around. Being on the ISS can be fun, but reaching it could be serious hard work.

Posts on the ISS

There are many qualification by which you can also get a trip to the ISS. These are the posts for the space station.

Medical Specialist

The Medical Specialist aboard the ISS takes care of the physical, mental or psychological health of the other astronauts on board. The medical specialist has to conduct regular tests on the others, to make sure that no one is suffering from any problem. The first thing that you would have to do is take a doctor’s degree (of course). But, it is not enough. You have to be dedicated to your occupation as a doctor, and get to know the environment of zero-g.
You will have to pass some tests to test your potential as a ‘Astronaut Doctor.’ And after you pass many other test, only then you will barely be able to get a mission to the ISS.


The engineer’s work is to make detailed reports about the structure of the ISS or report any flaws in the structural components of the space station. These are the Mechanical Engineers. Engineers can be of many types, for example Aeronautical Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Computer Engineer, etc. The higher degree you get in one of the fields, the more probability that you will be selected for a trip to the ISS.

Space Walk Expert

This is one of the most dangerous, and the most awesome posts available for ISS. A Space Walk Expert’s job is to perform long space walks. The space walk expert needs to have certain degrees in engineering or needs to have knowledge about complex mechanisms and machines. They are required to do some special types of jobs while performing space walks, like repairing damaged parts, or installing new ones. Being a space walk expert is not easy. Space walk can be very difficult, it brings high amount of fatigue to an astronaut’s body, which can lead to bad decisions.

These were just three of the many available posts on the ISS. The scope is very huge for being an astronaut. Specialization in almost everything related to science can be very useful for space organizations. Astronauts are people that have very high knowledge about their field. They not only have to be super-intelligent, they have to be physically strong too.

What you have to do

  • You have to be experienced. Believe it or not, experience is one of the most important thing that can earn you a trip to the ISS. Every single one of the space organizations first look upon your experience, and after they are satisfied, only then, they look at other aspects. When you have enough experience, you are increasing the confidence of the organization has in you.
  • Apply for the Astronaut Corps. The next thing you need to do is to apply for the astronaut corps. Before you send in you application, make sure you read the minimum requirements in your specializing field. You have to meet the requirements in order to be accepted as an astronaut.
  • Pass tests. After your application is accepted, the next thing that you would have to do is pass the tests that NASA puts up in front of you. These tests will include both mental, and physical factors. You will have to pass complex examinations, pass the high-g simulation test without fainting, and there are many more. These tests will affect your career as an astronaut.
  • Wait. Now that you are fully an astronaut, you will have to wait. And trust me, the wait will be long. Don’t get frustrated, it is a stage from which almost every astronaut goes through. And as most of you know, waiting (without losing your mind) produces better results.
  • Strap yourself on a rocket and blast off! Once you have everything that is required for going to the ISS, you will be rewarded with a mission to the legendary space station. Your dream will come true, and your hard work will produce sweet results. You will be one of the only handful of people going to the ISS. It will be your triumph.

Being an astronaut is all about hardwork, and you have to give it your all. The people who go to space are the most tough and veteran people on earth. If you have to become just like them, just work your mind off, and safeguard yourself a spot in the hall of fame.

Astronauts are the future of humanity. They are the people that sacrifice their body for the sake of knowledge (and madness sometimes). But, most of the common people won’t even know who was the first person to step on the ISS. So, it is time that we acknowledge the hard work of our astronauts, and strive to become just like them.

Thanks for reading!!

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