Fitness Tests for children from NASA

Michael May, the main character in my new children’s book May’s Moon, wants to be the first child astronaut!

He enters a NASA competition to be the first child into space and has to go through the same sort of tests and exercises that real astronauts do. These include trying to perform tasks in a giant pool wearing a spacesuit and being spun round in a g-force simulator to see if he will be able to withstand a space rocket launch.

Have you ever thought about becoming an astronaut yourself?

Well, if you want to join NASA’s astronaut training programme you’ll need to:

  • Have a degree qualification in engineering, science or maths
  • Have 3 years of related experience or a minimum of 1,000 pilot hours in jet aircraft
  • Pass the NASA physical tests (including eye-sight, blood pressure tests and minimum height requirement)

You might have a few things to work on until you’re ready to apply BUT, before then, there is a lot you can do to see if you physically have what it takes to be an astronaut!

NASA runs a ‘Train like an astronaut’ programme, which is perfect for children.

There are a series of 11 activities, which get children to try the same sort of exercises and tests that real astronauts have to do in their training.

There is a video explaining what each activity is about and the equipment you will need.

To become an astronaut you will need good:

  1. Agility and coordination
  2. Lung, heart and muscle endurance
  3. Back and abdominal muscles
  4. Dexterity
  5. Upper and lower body strength
  6. Aerobic and anaerobic endurance
  7. Balance
  8. Hand-eye coordination and reaction time
  9. Knowledge of food science

These are exercises that real astronauts do 3 times a week for 2 hours a day. Do you have what it takes?