September 21, 2004

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     Humans have always been explorers. It is part of our inquisitive nature. Today we are exploring ocean bottoms, genes, and atoms, and .........SPACE. Do you have the curiosity and courage to be an explorer? How about a space explorer? This is the place where you can find out how to face the space challenge.
What is Space?

Space is the region beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

Where is Space?
Space begins where the sky ends. That is about 50 miles straight up.

The Astronomy website from Idaho Public TV's Dialogue for Kids can answer many of your questions about space, astronomy and the universe. But this is the place for information about how to be a space explore

Let's start with a little history...
     Astronomy, the study of this region beyond the Earth's atmosphere is a very old science. Early humans looked up and noticed objects in the sky and watched how they moved. Today, humans can do that and more. They can travel to space. In 1957 when the first artificial satellite was launched into space, space exploration began. The first human traveled to space in 1961. This astronaut is Alan Shepard. We have been going to space ever since. Humans also launch probes to explore other planets that are too far away for human travel.

Human Space Flight
     Humans can travel to space in the Space Shuttle and can live in space in the International Space Station. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida is the home to the Space Shuttle. Take an interactive tour of the Space Shuttle here.

The International Space Station is the largest man-madeInternational Space Station object in space. The photo gallery at the PBS website,"Space Station," will give you an inside and outside look at the Space Station.
More History... telescopes from Galileo to Hubble...
At EarthKAM you'll find photos of Earth taken from the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
Types of astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle:
commander often the pilot. Commanders are responsible for the vehicle, the crew, mission success, and safety.
pilot controls and operates the space shuttle, comes from the military, where he/she has spent over 1,000 hours of flying. Pilots also study astronomy, meterology, computer science, guidance and navigation.
mission specialist the astronaut in charge of the payloads. They release satellites into space, operate scientific or engineering experiments, repair satellites and operate equipment in the Shuttle's payload bay.
payload specialist is a professional usually from the life sciences, and physical sciences fields or a skilled technician who is trained to operate special equipment on the mission.

How to be a part of the space challenge: Careers

     There are many ways to be part of the space challenge. You probably know something about astronauts. Do you have what it takes to be an astronaut? Do you thing you could eat bugs or survive the Vomit Comet?

Astronaut ClipartAstronaut School

So you want to be an astronaut!

How much does a spacesuit weigh?
About 280 pounds

Have you wondered what it's like to live, eat, sleep and exercise in space? Check these websites:

Living in Space
Food for Space Flight
Sleeping in Space

Spaceflight Questions and Answers

    It takes rigorous training to meet the physical challenges of weightlessness. Astronauts train in a space shuttle simulator which mimics all the motions and situations of a real space mission. There is even a special team of trainers that thinks up problems to help the crew be prepared for unexpected situations.

Did you know that there is gravity in space? Everything floats at life in Space.

Space is also an unfriendly environment to an astronaut. There is no oxygen to breathe. Micrometeorites (little pieces of rock and ice), dangerous radiation from the sun and temperature extremes are some of the problems that must be considered when designing space suits. Space Biology FAQ's provides more detail to these problems.

Mission Control ClipartIt takes more than just the people aboard an orbiter to run a shuttle mission. There are about 270 experts, the ground controllers, who work on the ground at the Johnson Space Flight Center. This earth crew is divided into different groups. The Flight Dynamics Department is responsible for orbital maneuvers. Payloads is in charge of the shuttle cargo. There is a department for Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems. The communications group directly talks to the shuttle's commander. A flight director is the top authority for each shuttle mission.

     You don't have to be an astronaut or a part of the Earth crew to be a part of space exploration. Those who design and build the shuttles, space stations, rockets, computers, and navigation systems are a part of the exploration team. You can be a mechanical engineer, machinist, electronic assembler, manager, or part of the administrative support team. Aerospace Scientists can be astronomers,chemists, physicists, biologists, geologists, and botanists.

     So stay curious in Space, keep looking up and someday you can be a part of an exciting future.

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