Astronauts lose as much as 22% of their blood while in space, as a reaction to the uniform blood pressure caused by microgravity. Until their body replaces this blood, many returning astronauts can’t stand for more than a few minutes without fainting.
Russian cosmonauts pee on the rear bus tire before a space launch. The tradition was started by Yuri Gagarin who did it out of necessity and Russians have since emulated him. Female cosmonauts bring along their urine in vials ready to dump on the tire so they can be part of tradition too.
After losing automatic control of his Mercury capsule, astronaut Gordon Cooper was forced to use his knowledge of constellations, wristwatch, and his eyeballs to manually land his spacecraft. He ended up splashing just 4 miles from his recovery ship, the most accurate landing up to that point.
Because nobody had thought to put a diaper inside Alan Shepard’s spacesuit during his Freedom 7 mission, he was forced to relieve himself directly into his suit after being in it for more than eight hours, shorting his medical electrodes.
To become an astronaut in Japan you are tested in your ability to fold a thousand paper cranes. These cranes are then analyzed by a team of psychologists to see how the person deals with boring, repetitive tasks and time constraints. The psychologists check whether the folds get less precise at the end of the task, and see how they compare with the first ones.
As the third man in history stepped onto the moon he said “Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me”.
NASA has a long standing tradition to wake up astronauts with a specially selected track of music each day, usually picked by friends or family members, called “Wake Up Calls”.
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, married a fellow cosmonaut, and they had a daughter, Elena. Elena became the first person to have both parents that have been to outer space.
All astronauts have to learn how to speak Russian, and all cosmonauts have to learn how to speak English.
Plans were in place to sever all communication with astronauts on the moon if they had been stranded by a technical failure.