Frequently Asked Questions

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Astronauts
 
Q. What email address or postal address do I need when writing to an astronaut?
Q. How can I obtain an autographed picture of an astronaut?
Q. Where can I obtain astronaut bios?
Q. How do I become an astronaut?
Q. What was the poem that President Reagan read at the memorial service for the Challenger astronauts?
Q. Who was the oldest astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle?
Q. Who was the youngest astronaut to date?


Q. What email address or postal address do I need when writing to an astronaut?
A. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail they would receive if their addresses were public, astronauts' e-mail addresses are restricted. However, you can write them at the following address:

NASA/Johnson Space Center
CB/Astronaut Office
Houston, TX 77058

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Q. How can I obtain an autographed picture of an astronaut?
A. You may write or fax your request to the following address for astronaut autographed pictures:

NASA Johnson Space Center
CB/Astronaut Office
Houston, TX 77058
Fax: 281-244-8873

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Q. Where can I obtain astronaut bios?
A. The biographies of active, former, international and management astronauts can be seen at the Web site listed below.

+ Astronaut Bios

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Q. How do I become an astronaut?
A. Any adult man or woman in excellent physical condition who meets the basic qualifications can be selected to enter astronaut training.

For mission specialists and pilot astronauts, the minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering, science or mathematics from an accredited institution. Three years of related experience must follow the degree, and an advanced degree is desirable. Pilot astronauts must have at least 1,000 hours of experience in jet aircraft, and they need better vision than mission specialists.

Becoming an astronaut is extremely competitive, with an average of more than 4,000 applicants for about 20 openings every two years. Astronaut recruiting occurs periodically. You can find the qualifications for becoming an astronaut at the website link listed below or you can write to:

Astronaut Selection Office
NASA Johnson Space Center
Houston, TX 77058
Astronaut Qualifications/Training

+ Astronaut Candidate information


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Q. What was the poem that President Reagan read at the memorial service for the Challenger astronauts?
A. The poem is called "High Flight." It was written by John Gillespie Magee Jr., who was killed in the Battle of Britain at age 19.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


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Q. Who was the oldest astronaut to fly on the Space Shuttle?
A. John Glenn was 77 when he flew on STS-95 in October/November 1998. Until then, the record was held by Story Musgrave who was 61 when he flew on STS-80 in November 1996.


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Q. Who was the youngest astronaut to date?
A. Sally Ride was 32 years, 23 days old when she flew on STS-7 in June 1983.


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