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How often do astronauts die out in space? And if they do what causes them to die? And how long can you live in space and your body is still fully functional?
Question Date: 2013-10-24
Answer 1:

Astronauts very rarely die in outer space. Space itself is not the biggest danger. Getting there, and getting back are much more dangerous. Technically speaking, there are only 3 men who have ever died IN space. They were Russian cosmonauts, the crew of Soyuz 11, died when a valve on their craft burst which allowed all of their oxygen to escape into space. They suffocated before they could return home.

No astronaut has ever died due to exposure to space. In fact, some animals have been exposed to space for breif periods (10 seconds) and lived relatively unharmed. There is a pressure difference if you're exposed to space, but your skin and veins are hardy enough to protect you. It is cold, but you also need something to transfer that cold to you (more correctly, you need to be able to transfer your body heat to something). Since space is mostly empty, that can take a long time. Really the biggest danger is suffocation.

But space flight does carry heavy risks and sometimes things do go wrong. In total 18 astronauts/cosmonauts have died during their space missions in 4 separate incidents.

In addition though, many more people have been killed as a result of accidents that occur when handling and testing some of the components of space vehicles, or even during training. Getting to space is no small feat and doing so pushes the bounds of what scientists and engineers know. It carries dangers with it, as does any activity. But we chose to boldly go where no one has been before to satisfy our thirst for knowledge about the universe around us.

Hope that helps.

Answer 2:

Great question! Astronaut deaths are few in number, and even fewer are a direct result of exposure to outer space. The only documented deaths of humans in outer space happened in June 30, 1971, with the Soviet crew of three onboard Soyuz 11. When they were undocking from space station Salyut 1, a valve opened with caused decompression (escape of gas) from their cabin, ultimately suffocating the cosmonauts. More common space disasters such as US Space Shuttle Challenger occur during space flight and are below the limits of outer space. These disasters usually involve vehicle disintegration as a result of faulty construction.

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