What to Take Care of Before You Head Into Space5 min read

While it might seem like being an astronaut is just a childhood dream, civilian and even recreational space travel is right around the corner. And if you are going to go to space, it is helpful to know just what you need to bring along and what you should take care of before your epic departure. So what do professional astronauts do, and what can we learn from them?

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Here are some important things to pack and to take care of before you head off into space.

Pack Your Bags

Like going on any other trip, you need to pack a bag before you head out. However, you would not pack the same way for a vacation on the beach as you would for a ski trip, and space is its own environment as well.

Even though space is cold, that doesn’t mean you need to pack a parka — in fact, quite the opposite. For any trips you make outside the spacecraft, the outerwear you need will be provided for you. You will want to be comfortable and prepared to exercise, so here is the list most astronauts use.

  • A pair of shoes for the treadmill. Whether you walk or run, keeping your body moving in space is just as important as it is on earth.
  • A pair of shoes for the bike. You’ll also want to mix it up a little bit, and yes, there is a stationary bike even on the International Space Station, and there probably will be one on your spacecraft as well.
  • One pair of exercise shorts and one T-shirt for every three days of exercise. You can’t do laundry in space (yet), but you don’t get as sweaty either, so you can wear even your workout clothes longer.
  • One pair of work or everyday clothes for every 10 days you will be in space.
  • A pair of socks and underwear for every two days you will be in space. Yes, you can change these less often as well, but your fellow travelers will thank you for doing so.
  • Two sweaters, just in case your roomie messes with the climate controls.
  • Two pair of Russian overalls — very handy for working in space or even just as a fashion statement.
  • Reading material so you don’t get bored. Take some books with you, but you might want to avoid apocalyptic sci-fi..

Remember, don’t forget anything. At least so far, there is no store in space, and dirty clothes never come back with you; they actually get destroyed by reentering the atmosphere, so there will probably be no spares on board either.

Get Your Affairs in Order

Going to space, while probably safer than it ever has been, still comes with a certain amount of danger. The first phases of civilian space travel will likely be especially dangerous. So before you leave Earth, be sure you have all of your affairs in order.

  • A Will: Let’s face it, even if you are staying on terra firma, you should have a will and a good estate plan in place just in case something happens to you. It is even more important when you are going into space or engaging in other high-risk activities.
  • Life Insurance: You want your family to be taken care of if anything happens to you while you are in space, so be sure to have a good insurance policy in place.
  • Put Your Stuff in Storage: Vacations and trips in space will likely be longer than the ones you take on Earth, and depending on how long you plan to be gone will depend on what you need to put into storage. You may not want that classic car you own sitting out the whole time.
  • Money Talk: You will need to have your bills on autopay, or have someone who is in charge of paying them while you are gone. You can probably stop your magazine subscriptions too.

Once you are sure you have all of your affairs in order so things are taken care of while you are in space, you can think about the other exciting parts of space travel.

Plant Your Seeds

Travel in space is not the same as travel on Earth, not by a long shot, and even the most luxurious spacecraft will likely pale in comparison to a cruise ship, at least for now. There are some things that we take for granted here that we will not have there.

One of those is delicacies like fruits and vegetables. While astronauts get some of these through deliveries to the space station, traveling through deep space might not mean that is possible. While freeze dried foods are okay and drinks like Tang offer some vitamin supplements, nutrition is a big deal in space.

The other big deal is fresh, breathable air. One of the best ways to get it is through plants. Plants clean the air and help ensure the right balance of oxygen and CO2. Conveniently, they can also provide food.

So far, it has proven to be tough to grow crops in space but not impossible, and some crops actually do well. In the future, before you go into space, you will plant some simple crops before you go and take them with you. Those same plants will help you keep the air in your craft fresh, clean, and full of oxygen. Plants will be the most important thing we will take with us into space.

Civilian space travel is just around the corner, and while astronauts will continue their forays beyond the atmosphere, tourists will soon join them. These are just a few of the things you will need to take with you and take care of before you head into space.


Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things nature, especially humans, and was driven to pursue an Anthropology degree due to her childhood love of Indiana Jones and Laura Croft. Now she lovingly writes about all things great and small.

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