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An Astronaut's Video Guide to Life in SpaceFor wannabe astronauts and space tourists, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield offers a lengthy video guide that goes over the intricacies of spaceflight. In more than 9 hours of content, Hadfield's MasterClass series covers everything from basic orbital mechanics and rocketry, to how to train as an astronaut, to what the future holds for space exploration.
"This class is for anyone who's interested in exploration, and not just exploring space," Hadfield says in the video series. "That's the obvious core, being an astronaut, but you learn a lot of things along the way." He adds that, as an astronaut, you learn "how to turn yourself into somebody different than you used to be" through diligent practice, observation and thinking about how to mitigate problems.
Here are some of his key spaceflight tips.
In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield flew three times in space and commanded the International Space Station during Expedition 35 in 2013.
Start astronaut life as an expert, and become a generalist.Slide 2 of 32
Start astronaut life as an expert, and become a generalist.Hadfield's first career was as a fighter and test pilot. He flew CF-18s for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and even served as a Canadian exchange officer with the U.S. Navy. But once Hadfield joined the astronaut program in 1992, he realized that his knowledge paled in comparison to that of his office mate John Young, an Apollo 16 astronaut. So Hadfield needed to transform from a top test pilot into an astronaut with more flexible skills.
Here are some of the many things astronauts need to learn, according to Hadfield:
How a rocket works. The basics of spaceflight, such as rendezvousing, docking and experimenting. How Earth's atmosphere and weather behave, because astronauts do Earth observations to supplement satellite data. How every major system on the International Space Station (ISS) works, because there's nobody on hand to fix it but the astronauts on board. Most importantly, how to react instantly and correctly in an emergency in which you may have to "solve problems in one breath."
In this photo: Hadfield (left) began his career as a test pilot but added even more skills when he became an astronaut. Here he is shown with Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov prior to space shuttle mission STS-100.Slide 3 of 32
Astronauts need to manage danger and do delicate tasks at the same time.Slide 4 of 32
Astronauts need to manage danger and do delicate tasks at the same time.Hadfield's final mission in space was his longest — five months on the space station, including commanding the orbiting complex during Expedition 35 in 2013. But no matter how long the mission, astronauts must always be aware of the danger and be able to work effectively through it.
Astronauts always need to be ready to spring into action if an emergency happens. On the other hand, an astronaut must also fully focus on the experiment at hand, which could represent a scientist's lifework. So while working under demanding conditions, every astronaut also must take responsibility for the experiment that people on the ground are hoping will go well.
"You just have to recognize that this is worth doing; exploring the rest of the universe is worth taking a risk for," Hadfield said, adding that the key is to "get ready for the things that would otherwise normally unnerve you, or make you afraid or nervous. Astronauts overcome fear through constant practice.
In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a radiation experiment made up of bubble detectors during Expedition 34 in 2013.Slide 5 of 32
Survival training will forge the right astronaut team.Slide 6 of 32
Survival training will forge the right astronaut team.Hadfield went into space three times with astronauts from all over the world. He said he always tried to behave in the Astronaut Office as though anybody there would be on his crew. This meant trying to predict the best way he could behave to improve interpersonal relations, no matter what the other person's personality.
Astronauts are also required to undergo survival training and use the time to not only figure out how to survive in extreme conditions but also practice leadership techniques with prospective crewmates.
For example, Hadfield recalled a rural Utah expedition in which one crewmember practiced "silent leadership," meaning they commanded the others without saying anything. (For example, that leader could have used gestures such as pointing to accomplish a task.) This situation could happen in spaceflight if crewmembers were in a situation in which they couldn't hear one another. Hadfield said the practice was valuable under a relatively safe set of circumstances on the ground. [What It's Like to Become a NASA Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts]
In this photo: In 2013, then-NASA astronaut candidates Anne McClain (left) and Josh Cassada build survival gear during a three-day wilderness session.Slide 7 of 32
The moment of launch feels totally unreal.Slide 8 of 32