Astronauts are the brave explorers who risk their lives for the mission.

NASA’s astronauts currently work as scientists on the International Space Station. Astronauts on Space Station conduct scientific experiments such as innovative cancer research and research on the human body and living in space.

The military selected the first astronauts in 1959. The first astronauts were military personnel who had experience flying jet aircraft and backgrounds in engineering. They also had to be shorter than 5 feet 11 inches—to fit in the Mercury spacecraft.

In addition to flight and engineering expertise, space exploration requires scientific knowledge and the ability to apply it. So, in 1964, NASA began searching for scientists to be astronauts.

Astronaut Mission Checklist

Complete items 1-10 in any order as you explore the center.

1 Saturn V rocket
Rocket Park
Please use headphones

2 Spacesuits on Mars
Mission Mars
3 Skylab 1-G Trainer
Starship Gallery
4 Flown Apollo 17 spacecraft
Starship Gallery
Please use headphones

5 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
Near Independence Plaza
6 Extravehicular Maneuvering Unit suit
Independence Plaza
STS-49 was the first time three astronauts participated in an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) together. They wore EMU suits just like this one. You can see an artifact from the STS-49 mission up close inside shuttle replica Independence’s payload bay in Independence Plaza. There sits the cradle that carried the booster motor for STS-49’s mission.

7 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
Independence Plaza
8 Orbiter Access Arm
Independence Plaza
9 Conrad's Apollo 12 suit
Astronaut Gallery
Please use headphones

10 New Perspectives presentation
International Space Station Gallery

Submit your completed mission checklist to get your badge.

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