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created Jan 10th, 09:49 by Darshan Ostwal


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573 words
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The word "astronaut" derives from the Greek words meaning "star" and "sailor." These men and women -- Alan Shepherd, John Glenn, Jr., Sally Ride, to name a few -
- conjure up images of bravery and adventure. They are modern heroes, helping humanity reach for the stars.
When the space program began in 1959, there were only seven such people in the entire country. They all were then -- or had been in the past -- in the armed forces.
Most of them were test pilots, used to the dangers that came from "pushing the envelope." That was only 36 years ago, and since then much has changed.
Today the Americans who make up the shuttle crews are comprised of every race, creed, color, and gender. As of May 2, 1993, 180 men and 21 women astronauts
were Caucasian, six men and one woman were African-American, three men and one woman were Hispanic, and two men were of Asian descent.
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, chooses its astronauts from an increasingly diverse pool of applicants that "looks like America."
Thousands of applications come in from all over the world; from these, approximately 100 men and women are chosen for an intensive astronaut candidate training
program every two years. "I cannot imagine a better career. I've done more than I could ever have imagined. I'm thankful that I've been at the right place at the right
time," says astronaut Kenneth S. Reightler.
The training is demanding, but the study time involved is no longer than that of any other professional career requiring graduate/post-graduate study. If becoming an
astronaut is a dream, held long and steadfast, then this labor will be one of love.
The preparation for becoming an astronaut actually begins in elementary school. "It is here that the foundations are laid down and then built upon," comments
Colonel Charlie Bolden, Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. "Start with the basics and get them down first ... you can't do anything
without math and science." At this level, students should read everything they can get their hands on about astronauts and space in general. Later, once they have
The word "astronaut" derives from the Greek words meaning "star" and "sailor." These men and women -- Alan Shepherd, John Glenn, Jr., Sally Ride, to name a few -
- conjure up images of bravery and adventure. They are modern heroes, helping humanity reach for the stars.
When the space program began in 1959, there were only seven such people in the entire country. They all were then -- or had been in the past -- in the armed forces.
Most of them were test pilots, used to the dangers that came from "pushing the envelope." That was only 36 years ago, and since then much has changed.
Today the Americans who make up the shuttle crews are comprised of every race, creed, color, and gender. As of May 2, 1993, 180 men and 21 women astronauts
were Caucasian, six men and one woman were African-American, three men and one woman were Hispanic, and two men were of Asian descent.
NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, chooses its astronauts from an increasingly diverse pool of applicants that "looks like America."
Thousands of applications come in from all over the world; from these, approximately 100 men and women are chosen for an intensive astronaut candidate training
program every two years.
 

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