Before digging into astronaut qualifications and astronaut training, the main asked question is always why we need astronauts in the first place? why we need to spend all this money on astronaut training, rocket launching or even building huge structure in space like the ISS (International Space Station)?Is it an adventure thing or we really need space flights? The answer of this question will take us directly of my motivation of being an astronaut.

Lets begin by what space actually gives us; more wide view of earth, more close to stars and different constellations. Well, the most important thing is the microgravity environment of space. We all live on earth under the effect of gravitational force of 1g. But in space, such force is minimised to microgravity due to free fall in orbit. Scientists need to study various matter in microgravity to gain more information and knowledge.

For example, heat combustion experiments; for many years, people have been mixing the oxygen-rich air of Earth with variety of fuels to produce luminous flame. There’s a learning curve about combustion that goes from the earliest primitive life to the most advanced automobiles racing down to the superhighways of the 21st century. Engineers study burning to produce better internal combustion engines; chemists peer into flames looking for exotic reactions.

The ISS microgravity environment gives astronauts the chance to study flames without the effect of gravitational force which makes it a much more simple phenomena to study. On the ISS oxygen and fuel combine in a narrow zone at the surface of the sphere, not hither and yon throughout the flame. It’s a much simpler system unlike flames on Earth.

heat combustion experiments

Flame on Earth (left) and flame on ISS (right) [source: NASA]

There are many other important experiments done in space, you can check them in this link.

you can also look up in that link the Egyptian Mission “EGAHEP” on board the ISS on which I will discuss in one of my next entries.

So the astronaut is the person responsible in executing such experiments in space or mainly in the ISS. The astronaut must have the scientific knowledge, skills and precision to execute the required experiment correctly.

The next blog entry, I shall introduce the qualifications and skills an astronaut should have or in other words THE RIGHT STUFF!

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