Mission Ready

October 13, 2017
Astronaut Ricky Arnold trains in a NASA pool.

In March, astronaut Ricky Arnold will blast into space. He will live and work on the International Space Station (ISS) for six months. He is training for this mission now.

Life in space can be challenging. That is why astronauts go through training. “Things can change rapidly,” Arnold told TFK. “We need to be prepared.”

Astronaut Ricky Arnold wears a harness. It helps him prepare for zero gravity in space. Without gravity, astronauts are weightless.


Out of This World

The ISS is a giant space lab. It is the size of a football field. Astronauts from around the world are aboard. They do experiments. They observe Earth. They also fix the station.

Arnold looks at medical supplies. He is learning how to prepare for emergencies. There are no doctors on the ISS.


Mission training begins about two years before liftoff. It covers many subjects. Astronauts learn what to do if there is a fire in the station. They find out how to fix the ISS. Astronauts also prepare for spacewalks. They do this by diving underwater. Being in a swimming pool feels a lot like being in space.

Arnold says a safe mission involves working well with a crew. “That sense of teamwork is the best part of the job,” he says.

A New Class

Becoming an astronaut is not easy. Earlier this year, NASA picked its newest group of astronauts. Just 12 men and women were selected. They were chosen from a group of more than 18,000.

These astronauts have already begun a two-year training program. It takes place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. They are studying spacecraft systems, aviation, astronomy, and other subjects. “No two days are alike,” says Arnold.