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What does it mean to be a NASA astronaut in the celebrity space age of Elon Musk and Richard Branson?

The journey to outer space for American astronauts for the past seven years has begun at a Soviet-era launch site in Kazakhstan, deep in Central Asia. There, they pay homage to Russian cosmonauts and graciously participate in the rituals of their hosts, even the tradition of urinating on the right rear tire of the bus that ferries them to the rocket.

The landscape is barren and desiccated, resembling the moon or some distant celestial body, a reminder that the astronauts are a long way from Cape Canaveral.

MSN.com

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