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An astronaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight programme to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. They operate experiment apparatus and orbiter systems during space flight and conduct experiments on board a Space Shuttle or International Space Station. The term astronaut is a Greek word meaning ‘star sailor’. 

Space flight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of space flight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other earth observation satellites.

A commander has on-board responsibility for the vehicle, crew, mission success, and safety of the flight. A Pilot assists the commander in controlling and operating the vehicle and may assist in the deployment and retrieval of satellites using the remote manipulator system (RMS), referred to as the robot arm or mechanical arm. A mission specialist works with the commander and the pilot and has overall responsibility for coordinating shuttle operations in the following areas: Shuttle systems, crew activity planning, consumables usage, and experiment/payload operations.

Salaries start at around £46,000 to £74,000 a year.

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