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You may have dreamed of being an astronaut, or maybe that’s what you want to be when you grow up! But how do astronauts become astronauts, and what do they do when they’re in space? Join Jessi and Squeaks to learn what it takes to be an out-of-this-world explorer!


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Space Station, Space Walk:
Space Station:
Astronaut Suiting Up?:
2 Astronauts?:
Space Suit:

My job is pretty great. I get to learn about amazing animals and places and do fun experiments with all of you, and you know another job that seems really great, you might even say it's out of this world? Being an astronaut!

Astronauts are people who travel and work in space. Going to space seems like a big adventure and it is, but that's not why astronauts go to space. At least, it's not the main reason. Astronauts go to space so they can learn more about what's beyond our planet. They spend weeks, months, or even a whole year away from their friends and family to study space in person. Then, they come back home and share their new knowledge with all of us.

Do you want to go to space? If you do, maybe you want to know exactly what it takes to be an astronaut, and what they do up there all day before you sign up. Let's find out what it takes to be an astronaut. [Squeaking] 

The fact is practically anybody can become an astronaut, you don't even have to be a certain age. You just have to have a few main things under your belt. For one thing, you have to have studied science in college, which means you pretty much have to be a grownup or a young adult. You also have to have spent some time, specifically 3 years, actually doing the science that you've studied. That's because most astronauts are actually scientists, and there all kinds of scientists that work in space; some of which we've talked about before, like biologist or astronomers or chemists.

Finally, to be an astronaut, you have to go through a special physical check-up, because living in space, where you're always floating around in low gravity and in a crowded space craft, can be really hard on your body. So, everyone wants to make sure you're healthy enough to do it. But that's about it.

Thousands of people sign up to become astronauts, but only a very few are actually chosen to go on a mission. After years of training, those lucky few finally get sent to space, where they have some really important jobs to do.

What kind of jobs are there? Well, some astronauts are pilots. Their job is to get the spacecraft where it needs to go safely. They're also in charge of getting the craft back to Earth. Astronauts that aren't pilots are called mission specialists, and they perform a lot of different jobs. One of those jobs is to work with the pilots to keep the spacecraft and equipment working. This means they inspect the spacecraft and it's different parts every day to make sure everything is doing just what it's suppose to do. Another job for mission specialists is doing experiments where scientists try different things to see what happens.

Many of those experiments are done in the International Space Station or ISS. The ISS is in orbit around the Earth, and was built for astronauts to work and live in for long periods of time. Some of the experiments that have been done on the Space Station have been things like growing zucchinis to see how vegetables grow in space. Other scientists have looked at how different animals, like flies or even squids, get use to life in space.

Another important job astronauts do is to help launch satellites. These are machines that fly in orbit around the Earth, and they can do all sorts of things, like take pictures of the Earth or help us know what the weather is going to be like or send signals for television and radio.

Now, most of the time astronauts do their job inside the Space Station or their spacecraft, but for some jobs, astronauts have to suit up and go for a spacewalk. A spacewalk is when the astronaut leaves the spacecraft to do their job outside in space, and is one of the toughest job that astronauts do. Astronauts do space walks when they need to fix or build something on the outside of the spacecraft, and to do that they have to wear a special spacesuit.

There's no air in space, and it's really really cold. So, these special suits protect the astronauts from the cold and give them air to breath. Their also protected by being tethered or tied to the spacecraft by a long cable that keeps them from floating away.

Being an astronaut sounds like hard work, but you get to see our planet from space and conduct awesome experiments and work on cool technology every day and even go for spacewalks.  So what do you think? Do you want to be an astronaut? Keep learning as much as you can about space and science, and who knows? One day, it might be you up there.

And, let us help you get there! If you have a question for us about space or, well, any question really, just let us know by leaving a comment below or sending us an email to and we'll see you next time.