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Go For Liftoff!

How to train like an astronaut

Interest Age: 7–11
Grade: 2–5
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RI.4.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Reading Level: Lexile 880L
Hardcover : 9781554519156, 52 pages, April 2017 , 11" x 8.5"
Paperback : 9781554519149, 52 pages, April 2017 , 11" x 8.5"

Table of contents

Welcome from Dr. Dave 4
So You Want to Be an Astronaut 6
Rocks, Docs, and Space 8

Step 1: Develop Your Astronaut Attitude
Going Up? 10
No “I” in Team 12

Step 2: Put the Cool in School
Whys and Hows 14
Now What? 16

Step 3: Terrestrial Tryouts
Space Agencies Want You! 18
Intergalactic Interview 20
Free-Float Fit 22

Step 4: Basic Training
You Can ASCAN 24
Astro-Class 26
Putting the STEM in SySTEM 28
A Need for Speed 30
Get Your Hands on This! 32
Super-Cool Simulators 34
The Pool Rules 36
Swimming with the Fish 38
Orbiting the Great Outdoors 40
Calling All Astronauts 42

Step 5: Your Mission Is Go!
Special Skills 44
Patch Me In 46
Onward and Upward 48

Further Reading 50
Image Credits 50
Index 51


Find out what it takes to become an astronaut—from someone who knows!
How many kids aspire to become an astronaut one day? Wouldn’t it be great to float in space and do neat experiments? But before all the “fun” begins, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to prepare oneself for the ride of a lifetime. Before they are sent to space, astronauts have to go through spacecraft systems training, wilderness training, underwater training, roller coaster–like flight training, and teamwork training, not to mention science, technology, medical, engineering, and math training. Training for flight also depends on being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally, having the right attitude and learning to deal with problems calmly. Dr. Dave speaks from experience when he describes what it’s like to live underwater for weeks at a time, experience free-floating in micro gravity in the “Vomit Comet,” or catch and eat bugs during wilderness training. With its first-hand photos and amusing illustrations, Go for Lift Off is the go-to book for aspiring astronauts.


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2017
  • Joint winner, Top Ten Best Bet, Ontario Library Association 2018
  • Long-listed, American Association for the Advancement of Science SB&F Prize nomination 2017


Praise for To Burp or Not to Burp
"To Burp or Not to Burp is a must-read for those future space explorers and kids curious about how the human body works in space."
—Captain Scott Kelly USN (Ret)Former NASA Astronaut

"Kids, teachers and parents will love Dr. Dave’s wonderful book. It tells it like it is!"
—Barbara Morgan (Ret)Former NASA Astronaut

“This pleasing look at what qualities it takes to be an astronaut will be useful for lessons on space, careers, goal setting, and the value of determination.” 

- School Library Journal, 04/12

“An upbeat, colorful introduction to astronaut training.” 

- Booklist, 04/01/17