Astronauts operate spacecraft, organize operations, conduct equipment repairs and work with scientists on research projects. A NASA spacecraft crew consists of around five astronauts, each with specific duties.Know More
Each spacecraft has a commander and pilot; both are responsible for supervising the flight. The commander has the main authority, and his job involves overseeing the mission and ensuring the safety of the crew members throughout the flight. He maneuvers the spacecraft with the aid of the pilot.
Mission specialists handle various daily tasks to keep the vehicle functional and habitable for the crew, including scheduling the crew’s activities, monitoring equipment and managing the food inventory. They work side by side with payload specialists, who are sometimes included in space missions to carry out unusual tasks. Mission specialists are also trained to fix state-of-the-art equipment while in space. They perform exterior repairs by using a remote manipulator system or by doing space walks, meaning they go outside of the spacecraft. Pilots typically help mission specialists when repairing equipment and retrieving satellites.
While astronauts are not directly in charge of managing research projects, their assistance is essential to the work of scientists. They assist scientists in improving the design of research used in space and give advice on how to deal with challenging situations.Learn More
Chinese astronauts are called "taikonauts." China launched its first taikonauts into space in 2003, becoming only third country to achieve this feat. Since then, the country has launched an additional nine taikonauts into space.Full Answer >
How long it takes to get to Saturn depends on a variety of factors, such as the particular path and speed of a spacecraft. These factors can account for the differing lengths of time taken by the past different space missions to Saturn.Full Answer >
The names of the spacecraft on which astronaut Neil Armstrong flew are Gemini 8 and Apollo 11, both of which he commanded. The lunar module he and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon is known as the "Eagle."Full Answer >
The mysterious "fireflies" that John Glenn saw during his first trip into space were caused by frozen condensation on the skin of his spacecraft. As the capsule moved from light into dark, the condensation froze into tiny snowflakes, and these ice crystals sparkled in the sun when dislodged.Full Answer >