© 2010

Prepare for Launch

The Astronaut Training Process


Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxv
  2. Astronaut Selection

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 3-13
    3. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 15-23
    4. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 25-46
  3. Preparing for Life in Space

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 47-47
    2. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 49-78
    3. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 79-91
    4. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 93-126
    5. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 127-172
    6. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 173-196
  4. Preparing for Launch

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 197-197
    2. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 199-212
    3. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 213-224
    4. Erik Seedhouse
      Pages 225-242
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 243-246

About this book


To be an astronaut is the dream of thousands of young - and not so young - people. But is the life as glamorous as we think it is? First, each applicant must navigate a protracted application and selection process, submit to lengthy medicals, take dozens of aptitude tests, and face an interview panel. If successful, the wannabe spacefarer is then subjected to a guantlet of instruction. From being strapped into centrifuges to experiencing microgravity onboard NASA's aptly named 'vomit comet,' the astronaut candidate's (Ascan) trainging is as relentless as it is arduous. In addtion to covering more than two hundred classroom subjects, as Ascan will complete over fifteen hundred hours of instruction, including training in high-performance jets, sea survival, emergency evacuation preparation, and surgery in microgravity. Prepare for Launch provides a unique insight into the astronaut application, selection, and training process. It chronicles the intense, highly technical and sophisticated training necessary to forge a flight crew capable of responding to any conceivable emergency and capable of expertly executing hundreds of mission tasks. This book uniquely explores the preparation required to apply and train for the most challenging and demanding job in the world.


Astronaut selection campaign Astronaut training Becoming an astronaut Manned spaceflight Outer Planets Mission training Multi-year Mars mission Spaceflight procedures Training life space Virtual environment training Weightless environment training facility dynamics moon space spaceflight

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.MiltonCanada

About the authors

The appeal of becoming an astronaut is growing ever larger. The combined 2008-2009 Astronaut Selection Campaigns of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for a total of just 21 positions attracted 17,300 applications from outstanding scientists, engineers and/or medical doctors with a wide variety of backgrounds. Among the qualities required are creativity, diversity, teamwork and a probing mind, together with a high level of fitness to withstand the physical demands of training and space flight. Prepare for Launch surveys and investigates the path from astronaut application to selection, and from probationary training to mission preparation. It chronicles the intense, highly technical and sophisticated training necessary to forge a flight crew capable of responding to any conceivable emergency and capable of expertly executing hundreds of mission tasks. Dr Erik Seedhouse is eminently qualified to provide a unique insight into this subject as he was recently (February 2009) one of the final 20 candidates (from an initial group of 5352) considered for astronaut selection by the Canadian Space Agency. An aerospace research scientist specializing in space life sciences and physiology, Dr Seedhouse was an Astronaut Training Consultant and wrote the Spaceflight Participants Flight Surgeon’s Manual for Bigelow Aerospace in 2005. He also developed astronaut training protocols for future spaceflight participants and wrote and edited several chapters of Bigelow Aerospace’s Astronaut Training Manual. Erik Seedhouse is the author of Tourists in Space: A Practical Guide, Lunar Outpost and the forthcoming Martian Outpost for Springer Praxis.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors


From the reviews:

“In Prepare for Launch you can read a detailed and thorough account written by someone who tried very hard to change his astronaut dream into a reality. Seedhouse’s book contains the nuts and bolts of astronaut training in North America and Europe. … He leads us step by step through the protracted process of becoming an astronaut. … Seedhouse has written an intriguing account of the training process, and his book is a joy to read.” (Carole Stott, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1221), April, 2011)