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NASA astronaut afraid of heights, goes to ISS anyway

NASA's Drew Feustel admits to a fear that would prevent most people from becoming an astronaut.


Astronaut Drew Feustel works on the Hubble Space Telescope during a spacewalk in 2009.


NASA astronauts have to meet a lot of requirements, including having a science or engineering background and being able to pass the space agency's stringent physical tests. One issue that won't disqualify you is a fear of heights. 

Astronaut Drew Feustel, who is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on Wednesday, admits to "a mild fear of heights" in a NASA video revealing five things you didn't know about him. He says the fear doesn't affect him when he's 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth.

Feustel has already proven his ability to overcome his fear of heights in pursuit of his life-long dream to be an astronaut. His trip to the ISS will be his third space flight. 

Feustel has logged 29 days in space and 42 hours of spacewalks, including time spent servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. The mere thought of taking a spacewalk and staring down at the blue ball of Earth below would probably cause most people with a fear of heights to have heart palpitations.

The ISS will receive three new spacefarers this week as NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev accompany Feustel on board a Soyuz spacecraft. 

At least Feustel doesn't seem to share previous ISS astronaut Jack Fischer's "sheer terror" at the thought of using the space station's toilet. That's truly something to be frightened about.