Dear Mentor:

How can my brother become an astronaut?

My brother, who at present is in 9th standard, wants to become an Astronaut. But we have no idea from where and how to start. Can you please tell us what he needs to do after his 12th standard? Thank you very much for your help.

Space Sister, Delhi, INDIA

Dear Space Sister:

Astronauts come from a variety of backgrounds. But they have some qualifications in common. They are all extra-ordinary individuals: academically brilliant, physically in superb condition, highly motivated, risk takers, effective leaders and communicators, and so on.

India has yet to launch a manned space flight. Indian astronauts have participated in manned programs of Russia (and former Soviet Union) and the US. You can obtain details information on what NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) of the US requires of the candidates for the astronaut programs by visiting: Astronauts Wanted, Travel Required.

One can also learn from "how they did it." The story of Kalpana Chawla in Karnal to Cape Canaveral also offers insights into how she did it. You can also find a number of useful websites for Astronaut Wannabe's. NASA offers student programs for a number of countries; see Trip Fuels Pupil's Space Dream. You may also wish to visit the official website of India Space Program.

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