It is a 21st of July 2020. And I just finished watching a live feed from the ACR website, the European Space Agency, because two NASA astronauts, were doing a spacewalk. They were repairing the outside of the ISS, the International Space Station, and I see Ethernet cables flying around because they repairing Ethernet cables, I see protective shields being drilled out of the ISS. I see power systems being upgraded. Well, these two American NASA astronauts are using tools from a toolkit, which looks very disorganised because the tools are flying everywhere Up, Down forward backwards. no gravity is a real pain and yes, and I wonder to myself, do I have what it takes to become an astronaut
Hello, and welcome to 50 books each year, the podcast show where we read 50 books each year, so you don't have to. This is your host meindert Berger. Yes, Welcome to Chapter number eights. And as you might have guessed from the introduction, we are reviewing a book about astronauts and it's the book the astronaut selection test book by Tim Peake, Andy essayed European Space Agency, do you have what it takes to become an astronauts?
And to start it off, it was a coincidence that today was the spacewalk of the two NASA astronauts making repairs about the International Space Station. And like I said, I saw tools flying everywhere I saw them repairing Ethernet cables, shields of the ISS I saw them working on a power station as sort of classic
Who can themselves on two different things. And I really thought, wow, if you want to become an astronaut, you really have to know a lot of things and be able to do a lot of things. I see them walking around or walking, flying around floating around, I should say, with a mirror on the left hand. And I hear the voice speaking to us, saying that they're now outside for the spacewalk for already four hours, it was a total of five today, but for four hours when I heard the voice say that they could drink from the inside of their suit. And I heard him talking the whole time to Mission Control. The people on earth, were telling them what to do, and they were even telling them how many times a day could turn a screw around.
This is how much control the risks from Earth on the ISS and see
astronauts do these kinds of things make me think, do I have what it takes to become an astronauts? Now you're in luck, there is a test book by Tim Peake and the European Space Agency. Now, I'm sure the NASA tests are quite the same, because they all work together on the International Space Station. So the basic things of what you are.
What you need to be able to do is pretty much the same, of course. So in this book, there is a lot of real tests that astronauts have to go through while doing the application process to become an astronaut. And we are going to do them together. A couple of them of course, and I did all the tests in the book and I can say, on some test I performed very well and on some not so much, and it's very entertaining to learn about yourself what you're good what you're good quality.
These are and what your bad qualities are. So let's start with the first two questions. And I'm starting in the middle of the book, because it is the human behaviour, part of the questionnaires. And the first question, which comes up in the human behaviour performance training is this and I quote, it is a question. While following a procedure for science experiments, you realise that you have performed a couple of steps in the wrong order.
you assess it likely that the end result will not affect will not be affected by this and that no harm will be done. What do you do? A, you continue with the procedure, but you make a written note to Mission Control but incorrect steps B, you inform mission control of your mistake by voice prior to continuing any further. See, you continue with the procedure because you assess that it will have nowhere
Fact? Or do you ask your crew mate for a second opinion?
Well, I answered with continued with the procedure but make a written note to Mission Control.
The correct answer is B. Information control that your mistake by voice prior to continuing any further. And the reason for it it is is and it quotes again from the book when it comes to science experiments on board the ISS, you are probably not best qualified to assess the impact of your mistake, the exit on the ground will no better. Continuing with the procedure could only make things worse as a quick radio code will clear up any ambiguity and prevent any loss of science data. There you go. Before you do something, you have to inform Mission Control and they will clear everything that you want to do on the ISS in space.
So then, we
Go to question number two.
Another crew member is exercising on the cycle machine when you are scheduled to be using that equipment. What do you do?
Answer number A, you go for a run on a treadmill instead.
Number B, speak with Mission Control to reschedule your activity. C, you interrupt the other crew members exercise session to discuss the matter. Or D you get on with something else until the cycle machine is free.
Now, what would you do?
I answered, I would go for a run on the treadmill and stats.
Here we go. I was wrong again. Because the correct answer is C. you interrupt the other crew members exercise session to discuss the matter because it's exercise is important in space. Your medical team on the ground is expecting you to do certain fitness training at certain times.
Every daily activity in space is carefully coordinated against many different factors. So any changes to that plan should be discussed. And the crew should be made aware of them and of the quotes and of the two questions. So, to recap, I failed to human behaviour questions. One was that I didn't inform Mission Control about my mistake. And two, when I thought someone is using my machine, I will go on the treadmill. I should interrupt the person because it was my scheduled time to be to go on the treadmill or sorry on the second machine.
So my mindset is not really in tune of that of an astronauts clearly in space clearly on the ISS. Everything is scheduled. Everything is written down. Everything is planned and deviating from that
is, yeah, not really not allowed, but it's unwanted. You have to have a very good explanation when you want to deviate from your plan. And if you want to deviate, Mission Control has to Okay, it's. So if you watched the live session today about the two NASA astronauts on the spacewalk, you hear them communicating a lot to Mission Control. And you might also wonder, just like me, why are they asking how many times to turn the screw to the right or to the left? This is the exact thing. There are so many specialists on the ground that know everything that I've studied for years.
All the systems of the ISS, that the astronaut who is a tradesman of all things, does not have sufficient knowledge about that specific thing. So everything that you want to do as an astronaut, you have to clear it. If you are
scheduled to do something you will do that. And if someone else is using your cycle machine, you will interrupt that to other astronauts and you will say it is my turn to use it.
if you ever are
lucky enough to do the selection process of becoming an astronaut in America, Europe or wherever you're listening from, keep this in mind that everything is written down. Everything is a procedure on boards.
Now, it is not only technical things that you have to be able to do in space. Like I said, the astronaut is a tradesman of all things. Because the International Space Station is not only an English speaking space station is also Russian. Yes, you have to be able to speak Russian as a NASA astronauts as a European Space Agency astronauts. You have to be able to speak Russian and accent
In the book, there's also some tests about the Russian language. And you will probably have the same thought that I had when I saw the Russian alphabet. I was like, What is this? I see all kinds of science that I'm not used to with my ABC. And you're going to quiz me on Russian. You want me to translate words from Russian to English. I don't speak Russian.
I speak a little bit of English, and of course, Dutch, my native tongue, but I don't speak Russian. And
still, the test in the book is about speaking Russian because they want to be able to see if you can use logic because they give you the alphabet. They will give you the information and all the words are space related words, and you have to translate them. But of course, there is a time crunch as well.
So they are testing if you can see on the time pressure, and they are testing if you can learn something new and apply it right away.
So, that being said, you have to be an engineer, you have to be able to speak English and Russian. Then one of the frequently asked questions in the book to astronauts or the Human Research Department of the European Space Agency is do I need to be fit to become an astronaut and which sports to pursue. Now, think about this for a second. What
comes in mind when you see astronauts?
Maybe you are correct, because the answer is this. It is important to be healthy, with an H acquit. Adequate fitness level. Astronauts lectures are not
Looking for extreme fitness or top level athletes? Actually, too many overdeveloped muscles may be a disadvantage for astronauts in weightlessness. There is no specific sports that can be recommended.
So if you are having a dream of becoming an astronaut, don't become a top level athletes don't become a bodybuilder. Don't become any of those things because your muscles were will work against you. Now I'm assuming it has to do something with the oxygen consumption or how your body works into space. I'm not really sure but this is my thought. It is not important to be a top level athlete you have to be fit for your age. But that is it.
engineer speaking language
Which is being fit? Let's do another quiz. All right.
And this one is one that I scored good on. Yes. So I still have a dream of becoming an astronaut. But it is a quiz about
mental arithmetic. Yes. I'm going to give you three sums.
And every sum, you have to answer within 10 seconds. And this is also in the book. I'm not making this up. This is a real esa European Space Agency test. So you will get 10 seconds for every some that I'm giving you, and you have to write down the answer. And you cannot use pen paper or your calculator. Of course, this is cheating. Don't do it. If you do, you might have to correct answer but deep deep down inside, you will still know that you cheated and you would not be able to pass the test of becoming an
Or not. So, are you ready for the 10 seconds?
Here we go with question number one.
Question number one, add the following two numbers
689 and 398.
All right. So for question number two,
add the following two numbers 1115 plus 21.
All right, and for the last one, it's a difficult one, but here we go. Add the following two numbers 1149
and 1900 and
All right, do you have the tree answers? Were you able to answer them?
This is probably what happened to you. You heard me reading the questions. You heard me reading the Psalms. And if you're not good at math, you might have panicked. And this is exactly what they are testing. Also in this test, they are not only testing you, if you can do math,
but they are also testing you if you can work under pressure, because you have only 10 seconds to write down your answer of the question to the question. And if you are thinking too long on the question, you might start to panic, which this enables you to listen to the next question. Now, I took my time of course, but you can bet that during this quiz during this test in the Europe
pn space agency or did danessa while becoming an astronaut, that they won't wait on you?
10 seconds is 10 seconds and then the next sun will come. And did you have the correct answer or not? Or were you stumbling? Now, I will be fair. In the next part of this test, it is substraction I performed less good in depth part. Still, my overall score in mathematics was excellent. But clearly subtraction was the least of my
mathematical skills. But if I didn't know an answer, because I can still see my answers here on the paper, if I didn't know an answer, or I just had one,
one number or two numbers of the three or four that were required, I just kept going to the next one and the next one, and that is exactly what they want to see in this test.
Leave what is in the past behind you and focus on the task at hand and if that is a new some folks
Because on that some and Don't linger on your mistakes, if you don't have an answer to you don't have an answer. Just continue when there's a time pressure. And in the end,
the select the selection committee day will assess if you performed correctly if you didn't perform correctly, if you choked under pressure if you're able to do math, and so on. Now, why is it important to know a little bit of math
from the back of your head, and this is this is the reason for it, and it's a quote from the book. For example, if your main engine fails during the deorbit burn on the return to Earth, you have to make quick calculations regarding how long to burn your secondary engines. getting it wrong, could mean re entering Earth atmosphere at an angle which is too steep or too shallow, both of which could have catastrophic consequences and of the quote
So, there you have it, you have to be able to do quick mathematics just like that. Now, of course, you will be trained for it when you are trained to become an astronaut, but you need to be able to do these kind of things.
Luckily, you can train these kind of skills. Of course, you have
you are some people say you are better in linguistics or a mathematical things from childhood and this is true of course, you are born with a certain set of skills, but does that mean that the set of skills that his submissive
cannot improve? No, of course not. You can be better in linguistics if you train it, you can be better in mathematics if you train it. So if you will want to become an astronaut,
by this book, by this book of Tim Peake,
the astronaut a British astronauts buy this book, the astronaut selection test book and in
Doesn't matter if you're a NASA applicant as well, because this book has all the tests that will come in front of you, or the subjects that are asked of you. And if you have trained them, then you are ready when the selection process starts. If you don't train right now, you are not ready in one year when the selection process opens, for example.
So train these kind of things.
Now, is it only hard work like mathematics and engineering learning electronics about the International Space Station? No, of course not. Tim Peake is also describing that being an astronaut is really, really fun and cool. When he's looking outside the window of the International Space Station. He's looking at the earth. It is a perspective that you and I probably will never be able to see.
And he's also been
describing in his book, how the actual training of becoming an astronaut is with pictures, and with his point of view. Now, I think what spoke to me the most was the zero G training. Now maybe you've seen this on television or YouTube, that there's a plane for zero G training, which goes up and down so the people inside can train weightlessness. Now, this is coming from the book The quote, after the plane takes off from a normal runway, it clamps of 6000 metres. From there, the pilot pulls up to an angle of approximately 45 degrees, taking the aircraft to an altitude of around 8500 metres and pulling to G in the process.
The pilot starts the zero G face by gradually pushing forward on the control column until the aircraft has a nose down angle over around 45 degrees and during this zero G period
which lasts around 25 seconds, the passengers are weightless and in freefall towards the ground. Finally, the pilot will pull out of the descent until the aircraft is once again level at 6000 metres.
Can you imagine free falling inside an aeroplane for 25 seconds?
Now, this is if you ask me, this is fun. This is of course you are training to become an astronaut because this training has a purpose of course, it is training you to become the astronaut is needed to make those repairs on the outside of the International Space Station. Well under zero G and having your tools fly everywhere you see yourself flying everywhere uncontrolled. This is the training for that.
But is it fun? Hell yeah. And
Tim is saying
date ranges 30 times in a row.
Imagine just going up and down, up and down 30 times in a row and be weightless. 30 times times 25 seconds.
I think I would have to ride of my life.
if you want to become a astronauts
you have to apply to NASA or the European Space Agency. Or maybe if you're Canadian, you can
make an application with yours. If you're Japanese, there's one with yours if you're Russian, there's a Russian Space Agency. All of these space agencies have their own selection process. Now, the last time NASA selected astronauts was in 2016. Of course the class was
being trained later on, but the selection
process was in 2016. And I think even began in 2015.
The last time that European Space Agency selection took place was in 2008 2009, almost or more than actually 10 years ago. for NASA. It is four years ago going on five.
So the selection process to become an astronaut only takes place every couple of years, it is not a yearly thing. So if you want to become an astronaut, if you have that dream,
start preparing. Because when the test comes, you need to be ready. And if you go online, there's actually quite an interesting interview. If you go on the European Space Agency's website, and you go to the interview of the human resource director, the one that's responsible for hiring the astronauts
He will tell you that all the astronauts that were hired, work came from different backgrounds, military, civilian scientists, all different kinds of backgrounds, male, female, didn't matter. But the one thing they had in common is they were preparing all the time to become an astronaut, even when they were not in the application process yet, years before, they were already preparing to become an astronaut. And that can be by finishing your university degree,
taking flying lessons, or becoming a pilot, or being an engineer, or learning Russian. If you don't want to be scared into test 40 Russian parts, learn a little bit of Russian. It will help you a lot.
So, the tip of the human resource director, start preparing today and if you want
To know what your skill set is, right now, buy this book by Tim Peake.
And what will it offer you the job as an astronauts going into space
and seeing the world from a point of view, which only a few people have. Now,
you don't have to do this for the money side of it, because the NASA civilian astronauts make between 66,140 $5,000 the military is just a little bit higher. And the astronauts also make the proximately the same amount of money. So you don't do this for the money don't dream of becoming rich of the salary of an astronaut. No, maybe have the sights, the hustles after it, but not on becoming an astronaut. You have to become an astronaut because it's your passion because you want to fly up there
and see the world from the point of view.
Which is unique and do your job in zero G. So I hope I made you enthusiastic of this book. Because Tim Peake, the British astronauts of the European Space Agency, wrote his book, The astronauts selection test book, in collaboration with the European Space Agency. So all the tests and we only did three. There's a lot of lessons in in this book, so prepare.
They did it in collaboration with each other. So all the tests in here will prepare you for the next moment that the selection process for an astronaut opens.
Good luck, if you want to do this selection process. And with that being said,
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai