5 School Subjects That Can Help You Become an Astronaut

The Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook is a funny and fascinating how-to guide for budding astronauts, providing a crash course on what it takes to travel into space. It has a personal message from Tim Peake and exclusive insights from the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency.

Here, author Louie Stowell picks out some advice from the book to guide your budding Buzz Aldrins as they navigate their way through school life.

Astronauts need to complete tough courses in everything from robotics to plumbing. Someone has to fix the space toilets after all!

Science

Most astronauts have degree in science, engineering or maths. Astronauts who are heading into space also need to complete tough courses in everything from robotics and complicated medical procedures to conducting scientific research in space and how to do plumbing. Somebody has to fix the space toilets after all.

Maths

The study of how rockets and spacecraft move is called orbital mechanics. It’s not rocket science (technically it’s rocket maths...) but it is VERY complicated. So all astronauts need to be really good at maths in order to understand how they will get to, and move around in, space.

Languages

The spacecraft that astronauts use to fly up to the International Space Station is a Russian craft called a Soyuz. All the words on the buttons are in Russian, so they need to learn a whole new language just to fly their spacecraft. Also, the ISS is home to astronauts from all over the world, so the more languages you speak, the better.

The ISS is home to astronauts from all over the world, so the more languages you speak, the better

PE

Space is tough on the body, so astronauts need to be tough too. You don’t need to be superhumanly fit or a top athlete to go to space, but astronauts do need to be generally healthy.

Citizenship/PSHE

Astronauts need to be good at getting on with other people. They spend months cooped up with the same five people on the International Space Station, so tolerance and diplomacy are really important. Astronauts might find that they’re not always chosen to go on a mission, and it’s important that they can accept rejection gracefully and help the rest of the team, no matter how disappointed they might be.

Louie Stowell

Louie Stowell writes books about all kinds of things for Usborne, from fantastical stories about talking trees and enchanted castles to books about astronomy and space. You can follow Louie on Twitter to keep up with all her book-related news!