In the astronauts’ grueling training schedules

ASTRONAUTS have one of the coolest jobs out there, but becoming one is no easy feat.

Space cadets often endure years of grueling training to prepare for their missions.

Training underwater can help prepare astronauts for spacewalks


Training underwater can help prepare astronauts for spacewalksPhoto credit: AFP
The grueling training on Earth makes real spacewalks much safer


The grueling training on Earth makes real spacewalks much saferCredit: AP

preparation for death

Astronauts are extremely healthy people, so death from natural causes on the International Space Station is unlikely.

However, some space agencies prepare astronauts for a death scenario in space.

Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and former ISS commander, told Popular Science that JAXA and ESA prepare astronauts for death.

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Hadfield said, “We have these things called ‘contingency simulations,’ where we discuss what to do with the body.”

The astronaut told Popular Science what he would likely do if one of his crew members died in space.

He explained: “I would probably keep her in her pressure suit; Bodies actually decompose faster in a space suit, and we don’t want the smell of rotting flesh or outgassing, it’s not hygienic.

“So we would keep her in her suit and refrigerate it somewhere on the station.”

weeks underwater

Astronauts are placed in extreme situations on Earth to prepare for space.

That includes spending weeks underwater and learning how to spacewalk.

NASA candidates train underwater in a neutral buoyancy lab designed to simulate weightlessness.

Spacewalks can last anywhere from five to eight hours.

Astronauts spend 10 hours underwater for every hour they walk in space.

Contestants are encouraged to recreate the experience in their own minds as realistically as possible.

piss pipe

Ordinary tasks are not that easy in terms of space and this includes going to the toilet.

Astronauts had to learn how to use a special toilet on the ISS.

According to, astronauts pee directly into a tube device that sucks their urine down the toilet.

The suction in the tube prevents urine from flying around the space station.

When an astronaut needs to poop, they strap themselves to a toilet seat and a similar suction method prevents feces from floating away.

learn Russian

Astronauts not only need to learn about science and technology; they also have to take language courses.

This is especially true for those who wish to work onboard the ISS, where they will need to speak to Russian colleagues.

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques said Russian is “taken seriously”.

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He told Universe Today: “It’s taken very seriously on the show because of the level you have to reach when, God forbid, there’s an emergency on board and there’s a panicked discussion in Russian on the radio.

“Ultimately, to be really useful in a situation like this, you have to be fluent.”

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Chris Barrese

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