NASA in Houston, Texas
The first Skype. The beginning of our twenty four hour long journey around the world. Tonight, it's all starting with a Skype to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, which is located in Houston, Texas. It was 4:00 pm in both locations when we started the Skype and around 4:35 pm when the Skype ended.
We Skyped with a gentleman named Micheal. We learned that the astronauts go to sleep around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon because they're up from midnight to that time. While awake, they talk with Russia. The Johnson Space Center is only one out of ten NASA space centers in the United States of America. Three are located in California.
They have about 16,000 acres in the Johnson Space Center. They train astronauts in a massive swimming pool. It's about 40 feet deep. They put the astronauts in the deep waters in their suits. They put buoyant weights so they don't sink nor float. There are many people swimming in the water in the case of a malfunction.
The rockets are made of many different materials. They need strong materials, as there is fuel and it has to be sent into space, but it also has to be lightweight so that it can actually be sent into space. It completely depends on the vehicle. They periodically send air into the space station which is 250 miles above the surface.
They changed a lot after the Challenger mission. Their entire culture changed. Instead of focusing on getting people into space, they started focusing on the safety of the astronauts. It's an international effort to send people into space, as many countries around the world have space centers. There have been people living in space since 2000. There are currently six members up in the space station right now.
The process of getting astronauts prepped and into space takes about 12 hours. They make sure everything is alright with the space ship itself, load the fuel, feed the astronauts, get them out there, and double check everything before sending them out. They have successfully send man to the moon six times. It is not needed for you to be an astronaut to work at NASA. They have doctors, physical trainers, accountants, and more.
How long an astronaut gets trained depends on the mission. You firstly get selected to be an astronaut, then go through a year of basic training. For a space shuttle mission, you need to train for two to three years. For a space mission, since they need to know many languages, the training can take up to five years.
What is NASA currently creating? Right now, they are building a rocket to send up to the moon. They are also building a module called the "Orion," which has the potential to hold 12 crew members.
The astronauts can send signals back and forth on the space ship, but they don't exactly have wifi. Before they go up, they need to let the people in the home base know which shows, games, or awards that they want to watch ahead of time.
They take the water out of the food because it isn't good to have the water floating around, it saves weight on the ship so they can send up more food, and it is vacuum sealed so that it can last much longer. When an astronaut gets sick, they have first aid kits up there which they can take care of themselves with as they were trained to do so beforehand. There is a flight surgeon which is always on hand that can speak to the astronauts if there is a more serious injury or illness.