"Iss040e086619" by NASA Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

Training/Practice Exercises

The very first thing you can do to prepare yourself for the awe that is space is to watch a DVD such as Apollo 13, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Contact, and even the Star Trek or Star Wars films and let your mind drift away. Space is all about fantasy. Although it is slowly becoming reality, you will appreciate any type of space related travel even more if you can begin to grasp the awe that is the Universe and the possibilities that traveling in space can bring. Just don’t watch Space Balls.

In general space travel takes loads of energy, stamina, and strength. You will be faced with extreme levels of pressure and the unusual feeling of weightlessness. An all around general fitness level is important and even required. Apart from space camp or zero gravity flights, a medical exam is necessary to even qualify for space travel. You need to be between 160cm (5’3") and 185cm (6’1") in height and between 50 kg (110lbs) and 95kg (209lbs) in weight. If you can’t withstand the physical conditions, they probably won’t even let you train.

Apart from physical conditioning, all space flights go through a rigorous training program, similar to what all astronauts go through although much more brief. Most programs last 8-10 days and can even be done on their own without the intent of space flight afterwards. The programs will not only get you mentally prepared for space flight, but are created to help you understand the incredible level of technology that goes in to a space flight, even one for space tourism. There are space simulators, such as the Soyuz Simulator used by cosmonauts at their training site in Star City, Russia, which teach you the basics of being at the controls of a space shuttle. Centrifuges are small capsules that give you the opportunity to feel what it would be like to experience a high-G environment, similar to what a rocket launch would feel like, without leaving the earth.

For children to prepare for a life long interest in space, Space Camps are their best bet. These highly interactive, usually week long programs allow pre-teens to grasp a basic understanding of space flight and the science behind space travel. Programs for adults and corporate retreats are increasing in popularity as well.

Gear Requirements/Packing lists

A space flight really isn’t something you can bring luggage on. Astronauts are severely limited on what they are allowed to bring up to the space station. If you plan on boarding the international space station your clothes, which will be chosen months in advance before your space flight, are chosen from either Russian or U.S. clothing supplies. You will also have the option of two versions of Russian coveralls - heavy or light-duty - to work in aboard the space station. If you plan on doing research of any sort while on the space station, a common activity, you will need to bring any type of equipment that you will need. If you have a favorite food, you can bring that as well. Any single item you bring into space must be checked out long before your trip.

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