Being an astronaut requires an intense training and takes an awfully long time. And even though one will face a lot of difficult situations during this training period, astronauts tend to agree that the most challenging part is… learning to speak Russian!
Yes, you’ve read that right: as a part of their extensive training, all astronauts have to learn to speak Russian (and all cosmonauts have to learn how to speak English).
And they don’t just need to communicate, they need to be fluent at it so they are able to run the ISS using Russian-language training manuals if necessary. The process does not only include classroom instruction, but NASA actually sends future astronauts to live with a family in Moscow so they can really pick up on colloquialisms! (the article continues after the ad)
When in Russia, astronauts visit the Soyuz spacecraft and the Russian segment of the space station where of course, everything is in Russian. Everything, from the training to the books is in the Russian language. For an astronaut to be able to travel to space, he or she must pass a standard test that is used by the foreign affairs department as well as a verbal test in which you call your examiner on the phone and have a discussion. If you can fluently communicate, then you are good to go, if not, you fail and you continue your Russian language training!
Wow! How difficult is that?
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: What Condom Sizes Did Apollo Astronauts Wear In Space?
Main Article Photo: Maxim Zmeyev / Reuters
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT? LEARN HOW TO SPEAK RUSSIAN | Hardest part of becoming an astronaut? Learning Russian, says Tim Peake