How do you prepare astronauts for space flight? By putting them in as many challenging situations as possible. Flying provides extreme conditions similar to those experienced in orbit.
All astronauts must learn to fly a plane. Some astronauts already have experience as a pilot; their training program is adjusted according to their background and skill level.
Piloting a plane provides excellent preparation for the conditions experienced in space flight:
- confined cockpit space
- quick decision making
- multiple visual and audio stimuli
- real threats and hazards
As Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen explains, flight simulators are excellent training devices, but the astronauts get to head home safely at the end of the day.
In contrast, dangerous situations encountered in real life force pilots to develop:
Good judgement in extreme conditions
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