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Employee Training – It’s Kind of a Big Deal

Employee Training – It’s Kind of a Big Deal

This is what it would look like if you were training to #BeAnAstronaut! Astronaut candidates must train for two years before they become official NASA astronauts. After graduation, you can look forward to more skill building when training for upcoming missions. Let’s dive into some of the courses you can expect once you’re selected for the job: 

T-38 Jet Training 

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All astronaut candidates must learn to safely operate in a T-38 jet, either as a pilot or crew. Because this is the one area of their training that is not a simulation and involves decisions with life or death consequences, it teaches them to think quickly and clearly in dynamic situations.

 Neutral Buoyancy Lab Training

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The mission of the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) is to prepare astronauts for spacewalking outside the International Space Station! Astronauts are lowered into a large pool wearing full spacesuits. The pool is full of hardware that replicates what the space station is really like, so astronauts are able to practice tasks they can expect on a spacewalk such as going out the airlock, finding a good path to the work site and more! The NBL is beneficial because it gives astronauts the ability to be neutrally buoyant which simulates the effects of microgravity.

Geology Training

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Geology training courses are specially tailored to the work astronauts will do from the International Space Station or on the next interplanetary mission! Astronauts learn the basic principles of geology, see rocks in their natural environment and handle samples from their class discussions. It’s less like memorizing the names of rocks and more like learning how geologists think and work. 

Wilderness Survival Training 

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Before they end up in space, astronauts carry out a significant portion of their training in aircraft on Earth. It’s unlikely, but possible, that one of those training planes could crash in a remote area and leave the humans on board to fend for themselves for a while. Knowing how to take care of their basic needs would be invaluable. Through the exercises, instructors hope to instill self-care and self-management skills, to develop teamwork skills, and to strengthen leadership abilities – all of which are valuable for working in the isolation of the wild or the isolation of space. 

Extreme Environment Training 

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Astronauts participate in a variety of extreme environment training to prepare for the stresses of spaceflight. Pictured here, they are exploring the underground system of the Sa Grutta caves in Sardinia, Italy as a part of the European Astronaut Centre’s Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills (CAVES) expedition. Seasoned astronauts as well as rookies participate in the course and share experiences while learning how to improve leadership, teamwork, decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Virtual Reality Training

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In our Virtual Reality Laboratory training facility at Johnson Space Center astronauts are able to immerse themselves in virtual reality to complete mission tasks and robotic operations before launching to space. The facility provides real time graphics and motion simulators integrated with a tendon-driven robotic device to provide the kinesthetic sensation of the mass and inertia characteristics of any large object (<500lb) being handled.

Want more? We’ve compiled all you need to know about what it takes to #BeAnAstronaut HERE.

Apply now, HERE!  

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