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The first Friday in May is National Space Day! This day is dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities that come from space exploration and research. In honor of National Space Day, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about space exploration.


1. A space suit weighs roughly 280 pounds, without the astronaut, and takes about 45 minutes to put on.

2. To even apply to be an astronaut, candidates must complete at least 1,000 hours of fly time in a jet aircraft first.

3. The first artificial satellite sent into space by the United States was the Explorer 1, launched on January 31st, 1958.

4. America’s first space station was Skylab, which contained almost 12,000 cubic feet of living space, and was longer than a 12-story building.

5. A manned rocket reaches the moon in less time than it took for a stagecoach to travel the length of England.

6. Each space shuttle astronaut is allotted 3.8 pounds of food for each day, and the foods are individually-packaged for ease of handling in zero gravity.

7. Flying American flags to space began with the flight of the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in 1961. Elementary students from a Cocoa Beach, FL school purchased the flag for Shepard to carry onboard the Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft. 

8. A full NASA space suit costs $12,000,000.

9. Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made the first lunar landing on July 20th, 1969.

10. In 1981, the first reusable spacecraft, the Space Shuttle Columbia, launched and returned from space.