Astronauts

How do you train to become an astronaut?

The UK Space Agency's Susan Buckle talks Sarah Walker through the challenges.
For Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, Apollo 11 marked the end of years of training and examinations.

Aldrin in particular had spent years in the US Air Force before eventually joining NASA.

But what does it take to join that select group of men and women who have been further than ever before?

Susan Buckle is the  Education Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency.


"Tim Peake said one of the things he found most difficult was learning the Russian language...it's different, we were talking about the Apollo astronauts and they all had to be fighter pilots.

"The last selection of astronauts in 2009, we have females now.

"At the moment astronauts go up in Russian Soyuz space rockets... they have to get on and do tasks with each other every day."

Why Buzz Aldrin’s ‘lunar communion’ was hushed up

Buzz Aldrin took Holy Communion during the moon landing
Following the controversy surrounding Apollo 8 crew’s reading of Genesis, Buzz Aldrin was asked to keep his holy communion on the moon a more private affair.

He took bread and water from his home church congregation and read from the scripture off air shortly after landing the spacecraft.

But to honour that moment, a church colloquially known as the ‘Church of Astronauts’ for its proximity to Nasa’s headquarters celebrates a ‘lunar communion’. 

(Photo credit: Getty Images)
Canada's longest space mission comes to an end
Astronaut David Saint-Jacques spent 204 days in space alongside crew mates from Russia and the US.

Mining the Moon

Who owns the Moon’s natural resources?
Prof Monica Grady discusses the materials on the Moon that may be of value to future space missions, and the need to protect them from exploitation.

Photo: An Apollo 17 astronaut taking a core sample on the Moon. (NASA/Corbis via Getty Images)

13 facts you should know about Apollo 11

The first Moon landing was 50 years ago. Here are thirteen facts about the historic event
The first Moon landing was 50 years ago. Here are thirteen facts about the historic event.

Sports suit inspired by squids

Scientists take a cue from nature to personalise fabric for individual wearers
Imagine a material that can change its thermal properties to suit the comfort of the wearer? Well that is what some engineers in California have been working towards using inspiration from nature, and specifically the skin of squid. These sea creatures can change colour by manipulating the shape of special cells in their skin and its hoped new fabrics will be able to do the same.  Professor Alon Gorodetsky from the University of California Irvine is behind the research.

(Pic squid, credit BBC)
Astronauts from aborted mission lift off successfully
Two of the three astronauts on their way to the International Space Station were in last October's lift-off that was aborted mid-flight.

The astronauts inspired by the Bible

A God-inspired orbit round the Moon
On Christmas Eve in 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 read from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the Moon. It was the most watched television broadcast at that time. 

Astronaut Charlie Duke was listening from Earth. He was a ‘Sunday Christian’ back then – but hearing the message of Genesis was part of the reason why he’s come to personally believe that God created the world in seven days. 

Producer: Sophia Smith Galer