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{{Other uses}}{{Redirect|Cosmonaut|other uses|Cosmonaut (disambiguation)}}{{pp-semi-indef|small=yes}}{{short description|Person who commands, pilots, or serves as a crew member of a spacecraft}}{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2019}}File:Bruce McCandless II during EVA in 1984.jpg|thumb|NASA Astronaut Bruce McCandless II using a Manned Maneuvering Unit outside {{OV|099}} on shuttle mission STS-41-BSTS-41-BAn astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Although generally reserved for professional space travelers, the terms are sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists and tourists.WEB,weblink Astronaut Fact Book, October 4, 2007, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2006, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink September 26, 2007, live, WEB,weblink Former astronaut visits USU, October 4, 2007, The Utah Statesman, 2005, Marie MacKay, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 26, 2008, Until 2002, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military or by civilian space agencies. With the suborbital flight of the privately funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created: the commercial astronaut.


File:Alan Shepard in capsule aboard Freedom 7 before launch.jpg|upright|thumb|Alan Shepard aboard Freedom 7 (1961)]]The criteria for what constitutes human spaceflight vary, with some focus on the point where the atmosphere becomes so thin that centrifugal force, rather than aerodynamic force, carries a significant portion of the weight of the flight object. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) Sporting Code for astronautics recognizes only flights that exceed the Kármán line, at an altitude of {{convert|100|km|mi|sp=us}}.FAI Sporting Code, Section 8, Paragraph 2.18.1 In the United States, professional, military, and commercial astronauts who travel above an altitude of {{convert|50|mi|km}}WEB,weblink X-15 Space Pioneers Now Honored as Astronauts, Mary, Whelan, June 5, 2013, are awarded astronaut wings.{{As of|2016|November|17}}, a total of 552 people from 36 countries have reached {{convert|100|km|0|abbr=on}} or more in altitude, of which 549 reached low Earth orbit or beyond.WEB,weblink Astronaut/Cosmonaut Statistics, November 17, 2016,, Of these, 24 people have traveled beyond low Earth orbit, either to lunar orbit, the lunar surface, or, in one case, a loop around the Moon.Apollo 13 had to abort an intended lunar landing, and looped around the Moon to return its three astronauts to Earth. Three of the 24—Jim Lovell, John Young and Eugene Cernan—did so twice.WEB,weblink NASA's First 100 Human Space Flights, October 4, 2007, NASA, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink August 27, 2007, dead, {{As of|2016|November|17}}, under the U.S. definition, 558 people qualify as having reached space, above {{convert|50|mi|km}} altitude. Of eight X-15 pilots who exceeded {{convert|50|mi|km}} in altitude, only one exceeded 100 kilometers (about 62 miles). Space travelers have spent over 41,790 man-days (114.5-man-years) in space, including over 100 astronaut-days of spacewalks.WEB,weblink Astronaut Statistics – as of 14 November 2008, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink September 30, 2007, live, WEB,weblink Walking in the Void, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2004, NASA, {{As of|2016}}, the man with the longest cumulative time in space is Gennady Padalka, who has spent 879 days in space.NEWS
, Cheng
, Kenneth
, Breaking Space Records
, June 28, 2015
, New York Times
, March 27, 2015
,weblink" title="">weblink
, April 5, 2015
, live
, mdy
, Peggy A. Whitson holds the record for the most time in space by a woman, 377 days.WEB,weblink Peggy A. Whitson (PhD), Biographical Data, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, May 13, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink May 9, 2008, live,


{{See also|Astronaut ranks and positions}}In 1959, when both the United States and Soviet Union were planning, but had yet to launch humans into space, NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan and his Deputy Administrator, Dr. Hugh Dryden, discussed whether spacecraft crew members should be called astronauts or cosmonauts. Dryden preferred "cosmonaut", on the grounds that flights would occur in the cosmos (near space), while the "astro" prefix suggested flight to the stars. Most NASA Space Task Group members preferred "astronaut", which survived by common usage as the preferred American term.BOOK, Dethloff, Henry C., Suddenly Tomorrow Came... A History of the Johnson Space Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1993, Henry C. Dethloff, 23–24, Chapter 2: The Commitment to Space, 978-1502753588,weblink harv, When the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin in 1961, they chose a term which anglicizes to "cosmonaut".


In English-speaking nations, a professional space traveler is called an astronaut.WEB,weblink – Glossary of Space Exploration Terminology, December 28, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink January 5, 2008, dead, The term derives from the Greek words ástron (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor". The first known use of the term "astronaut" in the modern sense was by Neil R. Jones in his 1930 short story "The Death's Head Meteor". The word itself had been known earlier; for example, in Percy Greg's 1880 book Across the Zodiac, "astronaut" referred to a spacecraft. In Les Navigateurs de l'Infini (1925) by J.-H. Rosny aîné, the word astronautique (astronautic) was used. The word may have been inspired by "aeronaut", an older term for an air traveler first applied in 1784 to balloonists. An early use of "astronaut" in a non-fiction publication is Eric Frank Russell's poem "The Astronaut", appearing in the November 1934 Bulletin of the British Interplanetary Society.Ingham, John L.: Into Your Tent, Plantech (2010): page 82.The first known formal use of the term astronautics in the scientific community was the establishment of the annual International Astronautical Congress in 1950, and the subsequent founding of the International Astronautical Federation the following year.WEB, IAF History, International Astronautical Federation, IAF, August 16, 2010,weblink August 16, 2010, dead,weblink July 19, 2011, NASA applies the term astronaut to any crew member aboard NASA spacecraft bound for Earth orbit or beyond. NASA also uses the term as a title for those selected to join its Astronaut Corps.WEB, Dismukes, Kim – NASA Biography Page Curator, Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, December 15, 2005,weblink March 6, 2007,weblink" title="">weblink March 7, 2007, live, The European Space Agency similarly uses the term astronaut for members of its Astronaut Corps.WEB, The European Astronaut Corps, ESA, ESA, April 10, 2008,weblink December 28, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink December 20, 2008, live,


{{see also|List of cosmonauts}}By convention, an astronaut employed by the Russian Federal Space Agency (or its Soviet predecessor) is called a cosmonaut in English texts. The word is an anglicisation of the Russian word kosmonavt (, {{IPA-ru|kəsmɐˈnaft}}), one who works in space outside the Earth's atmosphere, a space traveler,BOOK, Kotlyakov, Vladimir, Komarova, Anna, Elsevier's Dictionary of Geography: in English, Russian, French, Spanish and German,weblink 2006, Elsevier, 978-0-08-048878-3, 49, which derives from the Greek words kosmos (κόσμος), meaning "universe", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor". Other countries of the former Eastern Bloc use variations of the Russian word kosmonavt, such as the Polish kosmonauta (although Polish also uses astronauta, and the two words are considered synonymsWEB, Astronauta a kosmonauta, Polish Scientific Publishers PWN, PWN, Katarzyna Kłosińska, University of Warsaw, 16 December 2016,weblink April 6, 2019, ).Coinage of the term kosmonavt has been credited to Soviet aeronautics pioneer Mikhail Tikhonravov (1900–1974).BOOK, Brzezinski, Matthew, Matthew Brzezinski, 2007, Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age, New York, Henry Holt & Co., 108, 978-0-8050-8147-3, BOOK, Mike Gruntman, 2004, Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry,weblink Reston, VA, AIAA, 326, 9781563477058, The first cosmonaut was Soviet Air Force pilot Yuri Gagarin, also the first person in space. He was part of the first six Russians, with German Titov, Yevgeny Khrunov, Andriyan Nikolayev, Pavel Popovich, and Grigoriy Nelyubov, who were given the title of pilot-cosmonaut in January 1961.BOOK,weblink Russia's Cosmonauts: Inside the Yuri Gagarin Training Center, Hall, Rex D., David, Shayler, Vis, Bert, 2007-10-05, Springer Science & Business Media, 9780387739755, Valentina Tereshkova was the first female cosmonaut and the first woman in space.NEWS,weblink Russia forgot to send toothbrush with first woman in space, Knapton, Sarah, 2015-09-17, 2019-06-16, 0307-1235, On March 14, 1995,BOOK,weblink Mir Mission Chronicle: November 1994 – August 1996, McDonald, Sue, December 1998, NASA, 52–53, NASA/TP-98-207890, Norman Thagard became the first American to ride to space on board a Russian launch vehicle, and thus became the first "American cosmonaut".NEWS, Illustrious alumnus: Former astronaut Thagard recounts thrills of spaceflight,weblink,, 4 October 2017, NEWS, Astronaut-Physician Counting Down to Blastoff Aboard Russian Craft : Shuttle: Dr. Norman Thagard will become the first American to leave the Earth aboard a Soyuz rocket. Mission will take them to the Mir space station.,weblink Los Angeles Times, 22 January 1995,


{{see also|List of Chinese astronauts}}
(, "Space-universe navigating personnel") is used for astronauts and cosmonauts in general,WEB,weblink Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut who has made China's first manned space flight, Ян Ливэй – первый китайский космонавт, совершивший первый в Китае пилотируемый космический полет, October 13, 2005, October 4, 2007,, Russian,weblink" title="">weblink September 29, 2007, WEB,weblink Chinese embassy in Russia press-release, October 4, 2007,, Russian,weblink" title="">weblink September 27, 2007, live, while (, "navigating outer space personnel") is used for Chinese astronauts. Here, () is strictly defined as the navigation of outer space within the local star system, i.e. solar system. The phrase (, "spaceman") is often used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.WEB,weblink 太空人 : astronaut... : tài kōng rén – Definition – Mandarin Chinese Pinyin English Dictionary – Yabla Chinese,
The term taikonaut is used by some English-language news media organizations for professional space travelers from China.WEB,weblink Chinese taikonaut dismisses environment worries about new space launch center, January 26, 2008, September 25, 2008, China View,weblink" title="">weblink October 3, 2008, live, The word has featured in the Longman and Oxford English dictionaries, the latter of which describes it as a hybrid of the Chinese term {{zh|太空|label=no}} (, 'space') and the Greek (, 'sailor'); the term became more common in 2003 when China sent its first astronaut Yang Liwei into space aboard the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft.WEB,weblink "Taikonauts" a sign of China's growing global influence, September 25, 2008, September 25, 2008, China View,weblink" title="">weblink September 28, 2008, live, This is the term used by Xinhua News Agency in the English version of the Chinese People's Daily since the advent of the Chinese space program.WEB,weblink Chinese taikonaut debuts spacewalk, September 28, 2008, People's Daily Online, Xinhua, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink September 30, 2008, live, The origin of the term is unclear; as early as May 1998, Chiew Lee Yih () from Malaysia, used it in newsgroups.WEB, Lee Yih, Chiew, May 19, 1998, Google search of "taikonaut" sort by date,weblink Usenet posting, Chiew Lee Yih, September 27, 2008, WEB, Lee Yih, Chiew, March 10, 1996, Chiew Lee Yih misspelled "taikonaut" 2 years before it first appear,weblink Usenet posting, Chiew Lee Yih, September 27, 2008,

Other terms

With the rise of space tourism, NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency agreed to use the term "spaceflight participant" to distinguish those space travelers from professional astronauts on missions coordinated by those two agencies.While no nation other than Russia (and previously the Soviet Union), the United States, and China have launched a manned spacecraft, several other nations have sent people into space in cooperation with one of these countries, i.e. the Soviet-led Interkosmos programme. Inspired partly by these missions, other synonyms for astronaut have entered occasional English usage. For example, the term spationaut (French spelling: ) is sometimes used to describe French space travelers, from the Latin word for "space", the Malay term was used to describe participants in the Angkasawan program, and the Indian Space Research Organisation hope to launch a spacecraft in 2022 that would carry vyomanauts, coined from the Sanskrit word ( meaning 'sky' or 'space'). In Finland, the NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra, a Finnish American, has sometimes been referred to as , from the Finnish word .WEB, "Sisunautti" haaveilee uudesta Suomen-matkasta, MTV3, MTV Uutiset, November 1, 2009,weblink April 10, 2018, As of 2019 in the United States, astronaut status is conferred on a person depending on the authorizing agency:
  • one who flies in a vehicle above 50 statute miles for NASA or the military is considered an astronaut (with no qualifier)
  • one who flies in a vehicle to the International Space Station in a mission coordinated by NASA and Roscosmos is a spaceflight participant
  • one who flies above 50 miles in a non-NASA vehicle as a crewmember is considered a commercial astronaut by the Federal Aviation AdministrationWEB, Commercial Astronaut Wings Program,weblink United States Department of Transportation, Office of Commercial Space Transportation, 16 July 2019,
  • one who flies aboard a private (non-NASA) space vehicle to the International Space Station is considered a private astronaut by NASAWEB, Elburn, Darcy, Private Astronaut Missions,weblink, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 16 July 2019, (as of 2019, nobody has yet qualified for this status)
  • a generally-accepted but unofficial term for a paying non-crew passenger who flies a private non-NASA vehicle above 50 statute miles is a space tourist (as of 2019, nobody has yet qualified for this status)

Space travel milestones

File:Gagarin in Sweden.jpg|thumb|upright=0.667|Yuri GagarinYuri GagarinFile:RIAN archive 612748 Valentina Tereshkova.jpg|thumb|upright=0.667|Valentina TereshkovaValentina TereshkovaFile:Neil Armstrong pose.jpg|thumb|upright=0.667|Neil ArmstrongNeil ArmstrongFile:VladimirRemek.jpg|thumb|upright=0.667|Vladimír Remek, a CzechoslovakCzechoslovakFile:Yang Liwei.jpg|thumb|upright=0.667|Yang Liwei, first person sent into space by ChinaChina{{See also|Spaceflight records|Timeline of space travel by nationality}}The first human in space was Soviet Yuri Gagarin, who was launched on April 12, 1961, aboard Vostok 1 and orbited around the Earth for 108 minutes. The first woman in space was Soviet Valentina Tereshkova, who launched on June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok 6 and orbited Earth for almost three days.Alan Shepard became the first American and second person in space on May 5, 1961, on a 15-minute sub-orbital flight. The first American to orbit the Earth was John Glenn, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. The first American woman in space was Sally Ride, during Space Shuttle Challenger's mission STS-7, on June 18, 1983.WEB,weblink Sally K. Ride, PhD Biography, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2006, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink October 16, 2007, live, In 1992 Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space aboard STS-47.Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was the first person to conduct an extravehicular activity (EVA), (commonly called a "spacewalk"), on March 18, 1965, on the Soviet Union's Voskhod 2 mission. This was followed two and a half months later by astronaut Ed White who made the first American EVA on NASA's Gemini 4 mission.WEB,weblink Educator Features: Going Out for a Walk, NASA, November 27, 2015, The first manned mission to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8, included American William Anders who was born in Hong Kong, making him the first Asian-born astronaut in 1968.The Soviet Union, through its Intercosmos program, allowed people from other "socialist" (i.e. Warsaw Pact and other Soviet-allied) countries to fly on its missions, with the notable exceptions of France and Austria participating in Soyuz TM-7 and Soyuz TM-13, respectively. An example is Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek, the first cosmonaut from a country other than the Soviet Union or the United States, who flew to space in 1978 on a Soyuz-U rocket.WEB,weblink Vladimir Remek Czech Pilot Cosmonaut, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink October 13, 2007, live, Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian citizen to travel to space. He was launched aboard Soyuz T-11, on April 2, 1984.On July 23, 1980, Pham Tuan of Vietnam became the first Asian in space when he flew aboard Soyuz 37.WEB,weblink Salyut 6 EP-7, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink September 30, 2007, live, Also in 1980, Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez became the first person of Hispanic and black African descent to fly in space, and in 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African American to fly into space. In April 1985, Taylor Wang became the first ethnic Chinese person in space.WEB,weblink Taylor G. Wang Biography, October 4, 2007, NASA, 1985, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink September 19, 2007, live, WEB,weblink Taylor Wang, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink August 27, 2007, live, The first person born in Africa to fly in space was Patrick Baudry (France), in 1985.WEB,weblink Tamayo-Mendez, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink September 30, 2007, live, WEB,weblink Baudry, October 4, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica, 2007, Encyclopedia Astronautica,weblink" title="">weblink October 13, 2007, live, In 1985, Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud became the first Arab Muslim astronaut in space.WEB,weblink Sultan Bin Salman Al-Saud Biography, May 1, 2011, NASA, 2006, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink May 25, 2011, live, In 1988, Abdul Ahad Mohmand became the first Afghan to reach space, spending nine days aboard the Mir space station.WEB,weblink Biographies of International Astronauts, August 11, 2007, Space Facts, 2007, Joachim Wilhelm Josef Becker and Heinz Hermann Janssen,weblink" title="">weblink August 12, 2007, live, With the increase of seats on the Space Shuttle, the U.S. began taking international astronauts. In 1983, Ulf Merbold of West Germany became the first non-US citizen to fly in a US spacecraft. In 1984, Marc Garneau became the first of 8 Canadian astronauts to fly in space (through 2010).WEB,weblink Space Missions, Government of Canada, Canadian Space Agency, Directions of communications, Information services and new, media, In 1985, Rodolfo Neri Vela became the first Mexican-born person in space.WEB,weblink Rodolfo Neri Vela (PhD) Biography, October 4, 2007, NASA, 1985, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink October 27, 2007, live, In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to fly in space.NEWS,weblink 1991: Sharman becomes first Briton in space, October 4, 2007, BBC News, BBC News, May 18, 1991,weblink" title="">weblink September 5, 2007, live, In 2002, Mark Shuttleworth became the first citizen of an African country to fly in space, as a paying spaceflight participant.WEB,weblink First African in Space, October 4, 2007, HBD, 2002,,weblink" title="">weblink October 13, 2007, live, In 2003, Ilan Ramon became the first Israeli to fly in space, although he died during a re-entry accident.On October 15, 2003, Yang Liwei became China's first astronaut on the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft.

Age milestones

The youngest person to fly in space is Gherman Titov, who was 25 years old when he flew Vostok 2. (Titov was also the first person to suffer space sickness).NEWS,weblink 1961: Russian cosmonaut spends day in space, October 4, 2007, BBC News, BBC News, August 6, 2007, NEWS,weblink Obituaries—Gherman S. Titov; Cosmonaut Was Second Man to Orbit Earth, February 4, 2015, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2000, Robyn Dixon, The oldest person who has flown in space is John Glenn, who was 77 when he flew on STS-95.WEB,weblink John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (Colonel, USMC, Ret.) NASA Astronaut, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2007,weblink" title="">weblink October 14, 2007, live,

Duration and distance milestones

438 days is the longest time spent in space, by Russian Valeri Polyakov.As of 2006, the most spaceflights by an individual astronaut is seven, a record held by both Jerry L. Ross and Franklin Chang-Diaz. The farthest distance from Earth an astronaut has traveled was {{convert|401056|km|0|abbr=on}}, when Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise went around the Moon during the Apollo 13 emergency.

Civilian and non-government milestones

The first civilian in space was Valentina TereshkovaWEB,weblink Valentina Vladimirovna TERESHKOVA, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 23, 2011, aboard Vostok 6 (she also became the first woman in space on that mission).Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the USSR's Air Force, which did not accept female pilots at that time. A month later, Joseph Albert Walker became the first American civilian in space when his X-15 Flight 90 crossed the {{convert|100|km|nmi|sp=us|abbr=off}} line, qualifying him by the international definition of spaceflight.WEB,weblink Civilians in Space, WEB,weblink Joseph A Walker, Walker had joined the US Army Air Force but was not a member during his flight. The first people in space who had never been a member of any country's armed forces were both Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov aboard Voskhod 1.The first non-governmental space traveler was Byron K. Lichtenberg, a researcher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who flew on STS-9 in 1983.WEB,weblink Byron K. Lichtenberg Biography, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2002, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink September 19, 2007, live, In December 1990, Toyohiro Akiyama became the first paying space traveler as a reporter for Tokyo Broadcasting System, a visit to Mir as part of an estimated $12 million (USD) deal with a Japanese TV station, although at the time, the term used to refer to Akiyama was "Research Cosmonaut".WEB,weblink Paying for a Ride, October 4, 2007, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 2007, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum,weblink" title="">weblink October 26, 2007, live, NEWS,weblink Mir Space Station 1986–2001, October 4, 2007, BBC News, 1990, BBC News, WEB,weblink Akiyama, October 4, 2007, Spacefacts, 1990, Spacefacts,weblink" title="">weblink September 30, 2007, live, Akiyama suffered severe space sickness during his mission, which affected his productivity.The first self-funded space tourist was Dennis Tito on board the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-3 on April 28, 2001.

Self-funded travelers

The first person to fly on an entirely privately funded mission was Mike Melvill, piloting SpaceShipOne flight 15P on a suborbital journey, although he was a test pilot employed by Scaled Composites and not an actual paying space tourist.WEB,weblink Pilot Announced on Eve of Private Space Mission, October 4, 2007,, 2004, Leonard David, dead,weblink" title="">weblink February 13, 2006, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink October 11, 2007, Michael Melvill, First Civilian Astronaut, SpaceShipOne, October 4, 2007, Royce Carlton Inc., 2007, Royce Carlton Inc, Seven others have paid the Russian Space Agency to fly into space:
  1. Dennis Tito (American): April 28 – May 6, 2001 (ISS)
  2. Mark Shuttleworth (South African): April 25 – May 5, 2002 (ISS)
  3. Gregory Olsen (American): October 1–11, 2005 (ISS)
  4. Anousheh Ansari (Iranian / American): September 18–29, 2006 (ISS)
  5. Charles Simonyi (Hungarian / American): April 7–21, 2007 (ISS), March 26 – April 8, 2009 (ISS)
  6. Richard Garriott (British / American): October 12–24, 2008 (ISS)
  7. Guy Laliberté (Canadian): September 30, 2009 – October 11, 2009 (ISS)


File:Gemini 5 Elliot See water egress training.jpg|right|thumb|upright|Elliot SeeElliot See{{See also|Astronaut ranks and positions}}The first NASA astronauts were selected for training in 1959.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink August 19, 2007, Astronaut Candidate Training, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2006, NASA, Early in the space program, military jet test piloting and engineering training were often cited as prerequisites for selection as an astronaut at NASA, although neither John Glenn nor Scott Carpenter (of the Mercury Seven) had any university degree, in engineering or any other discipline at the time of their selection. Selection was initially limited to military pilots.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, February 15, 1997, Selection and Training of Astronauts, October 4, 2007, NASA, 1995, NASA, BOOK, Nolen, Stephanie, Promised The Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race, 2002, Penguin Canada, Toronto, 978-0-14-301347-1, 235, registration,weblink The earliest astronauts for both America and the USSR tended to be jet fighter pilots, and were often test pilots.Once selected, NASA astronauts go through twenty months of training in a variety of areas, including training for extravehicular activity in a facility such as NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Astronauts-in-training (astronaut candidates) may also experience short periods of weightlessness (microgravity) in an aircraft called the "Vomit Comet," the nickname given to a pair of modified KC-135s (retired in 2000 and 2004, respectively, and replaced in 2005 with a C-9) which perform parabolic flights. Astronauts are also required to accumulate a number of flight hours in high-performance jet aircraft. This is mostly done in T-38 jet aircraft out of Ellington Field, due to its proximity to the Johnson Space Center. Ellington Field is also where the Shuttle Training Aircraft is maintained and developed, although most flights of the aircraft are conducted from Edwards Air Force Base.Astronauts in training must learn how to control and fly the Space Shuttle and, it is vital that they are familiar with the International Space Station so they know what they must do when they get there.WEB,weblink NASA – Astronauts in Training,, Denise Miller: MSFC, 2018-04-03,

NASA candidacy requirements

  • Be citizens of the United States.WEB,weblink Astronaut Candidate Program, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2007, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink October 11, 2007, dead,
  • Pass a strict physical examination, and have a near and distant visual acuity correctable to 20/20 (6/6). Blood pressure, while sitting, must be no greater than 140 over 90. There are currently no age restrictions.WEB,weblink astronaut selection, NASA, NASA,

Commander and Pilot

  • A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics is required.
  • At least 1,000 hours' flying time as pilot-in-command in jet aircraft. Experience as a test pilot is desirable.
  • Height must be 5 ft 2 in to 6 ft 2 in (1.58 m to 1.88 m).
  • Distant visual acuity must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye.
  • The refractive surgical procedures of the eye, PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK, are now allowed, providing at least 1 year has passed since the date of the procedure with no permanent adverse after effects. For those applicants under final consideration, an operative report on the surgical procedure will be requested.

Mission Specialist

File:Mae Carol Jemison.jpg|thumb|right|upright|Mission Specialist Mae Jemison, a physician and chemical engineer, served on the Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-47STS-47
  • A bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics, as well as at least three years of related professional experience (graduate work or studies) and an advanced degree, such as a master's degree (one to three years) or a doctoral degree (three years or more).
  • Applicant's height must be between 4 ft 10.5 in and 6 ft 4 in (1.49 m and 1.93 m).

Mission Specialist Educator

  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with teaching experience, including work at the kindergarten through twelfth grade level. An advanced degree, such as a master's degree or a doctoral degree, is not required, but is strongly desired.WEB,weblink NASA Opens Applications for New Astronaut Class, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2007, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink September 27, 2007, live,
Mission Specialist Educators, or "Educator Astronauts", were first selected in 2004, and as of 2007, there are three NASA Educator astronauts: Joseph M. Acaba, Richard R. Arnold, and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger.WEB,weblink 'Next Generation of Explorers' Named, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2004, NASA, WEB,weblink NASA's New Astronauts Meet The Press, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2004, NASA, Barbara Morgan, selected as back-up teacher to Christa McAuliffe in 1985, is considered to be the first Educator astronaut by the media, but she trained as a mission specialist.WEB,weblink Barbara Radding Morgan – NASA Astronaut biography, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2007, NASA,weblink" title="">weblink October 2, 2007, live, The Educator Astronaut program is a successor to the Teacher in Space program from the 1980s.WEB,weblink NASA Assures That Teachers Will Fly in Space, October 4, 2007,, 2007, Tariq Malik, dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 25, 2006, WEB,weblink Educator Astronaut Program, October 4, 2007, NASA, 2005, NASA, dead,weblink May 16, 2008,

Health risks of space travel

File:Padalka Fincke ISS ultrasound.jpg|thumb|right|Gennady Padalka performing ultrasound on Michael Fincke during ISS Expedition 9Expedition 9{{See also|Effect of spaceflight on the human body|Space medicine}}Astronauts are susceptible to a variety of health risks including decompression sickness, barotrauma, immunodeficiencies, loss of bone and muscle, loss of eyesight, orthostatic intolerance, sleep disturbances, and radiation injury.NEWS, Chang, Kenneth, Beings Not Made for Space,weblink January 27, 2014, The New York Times, January 27, 2014, MAGAZINE, Mann, Adam, Blindness, Bone Loss, and Space Farts: Astronaut Medical Oddities,weblink July 23, 2012, Wired (magazine), Wired, July 23, 2012, JOURNAL, Mader, T. H., Optic Disc Edema, Globe Flattening, Choroidal Folds, and Hyperopic Shifts Observed in Astronauts after Long-duration Space Flight,weblink 2011, Ophthalmology (journal), Ophthalmology, 118, 10, 2058–2069, 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.06.021, 21849212, etal, WEB, Puiu, Tibi, Astronauts' vision severely affected during long space missions,weblink November 9, 2011,, February 9, 2012, WEB,weblink Male Astronauts Return With Eye Problems (video), February 9, 2012, CNN News, April 25, 2012, WEB, Space Staff, Spaceflight Bad for Astronauts' Vision, Study Suggests,weblink March 13, 2012,, March 14, 2012, JOURNAL, Kramer, Larry A., Orbital and Intracranial Effects of Microgravity: Findings at 3-T MR Imaging,weblink Radiology (journal), Radiology, 10.1148/radiol.12111986, March 13, 2012, March 14, 2012, 263, 3, 819–827, etal, free, WEB,weblink Soviet cosmonauts burnt their eyes in space for USSR's glory, December 17, 2008, Pravda.Ru, April 25, 2012, WEB, Fong, MD, Kevin, The Strange, Deadly Effects Mars Would Have on Your Body,weblink February 12, 2014, Wired (magazine), Wired, February 12, 2014, NEWS, Howell, Elizabeth, Brain Changes in Space Could Be Linked to Vision Problems in Astronauts,weblink November 3, 2017, Seeker (media company), Seeker, November 3, 2017, A variety of large scale medical studies are being conducted in space via the National Space and Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to address these issues. Prominent among these is the Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity Study in which astronauts (including former ISS commanders Leroy Chiao and Gennady Padalka) perform ultrasound scans under the guidance of remote experts to diagnose and potentially treat hundreds of medical conditions in space. This study's techniques are now being applied to cover professional and Olympic sports injuries as well as ultrasound performed by non-expert operators in medical and high school students. It is anticipated that remote guided ultrasound will have application on Earth in emergency and rural care situations, where access to a trained physician is often rare.NASA – Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity {{webarchive |url= |date=October 29, 2009 }}Rao, S. , van Holsbeeck, L. , Musial, J. L., Parker, A. , Bouffard, J. A., Bridge, P. , Jackson, M. and Dulchavsky, S. A. (2008), weblink" title="">A Pilot Study of Comprehensive Ultrasound Education at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, 27: 745–749. {{doi|10.7863/jum.2008.27.5.745}}Evaluation of Shoulder Integrity in Space: First Report of Musculoskeletal US on the International Space Station:weblink 2006 Space Shuttle experiment found that Salmonella typhimurium, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning, became more virulent when cultivated in space.WEB, Caspermeyer, Joe, Space flight shown to alter ability of bacteria to cause disease,weblink September 23, 2007, Arizona State University, September 14, 2017, More recently, in 2017, bacteria were found to be more resistant to antibiotics and to thrive in the near-weightlessness of space.WEB, Dvorsky, George, Alarming Study Indicates Why Certain Bacteria Are More Resistant to Drugs in Space,weblink September 13, 2017, Gizmodo, September 14, 2017, Microorganisms have been observed to survive the vacuum of outer space.JOURNAL, ERA-experiment "space biochemistry", Advances in Space Research, 16, 8, 1995, 119–129, 10.1016/0273-1177(95)00280-R, 11542696, Dose, K., Bieger-Dose, A., Dillmann, R., Gill, M., Kerz, O., Klein, A., Meinert, H., Nawroth, T., Risi, S., Stridde, C., 1995AdSpR..16..119D,weblink {{Dead link|date=October 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}JOURNAL, Biological responses to space: results of the experiment "Exobiological Unit" of ERA on EURECA I, Adv. Space Res., 1995, Horneck G., Vaisberg, Eschweiler, U., Reitz, G., Wehner, J., Willimek, R., Strauch, K., 16, 8, 105–18, 11542695, 1995AdSpR..16..105V, 10.1016/0273-1177(95)00279-N, On December 31, 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that human spaceflight may harm the brain and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease.JOURNAL, Cherry, Jonathan D., Frost, Jeffrey L., Lemere, Cynthia A., Williams, Jacqueline P., Olschowka, John A., O'Banion, M. Kerry, Liu, Bin, Galactic Cosmic Radiation Leads to Cognitive Impairment and Increased Aβ Plaque Accumulation in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease, 10.1371/journal.pone.0053275, 7, e53275, PLoS ONE, 12, 2012, Feinstein, Douglas L, 23300905, 3534034, 2012PLoSO...753275C, WEB, Staff, Study Shows that Space Travel is Harmful to the Brain and Could Accelerate Onset of Alzheimer's,weblink January 1, 2013, SpaceRef, January 7, 2013, WEB, Cowing, Keith, Keith Cowing, Important Research Results NASA Is Not Talking About (Update),weblink January 3, 2013, NASA Watch, January 7, 2013, In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.NEWS, Dunn, Marcia, Report: NASA needs better handle on health hazards for Mars,weblink October 29, 2015, AP News, October 30, 2015, WEB, Staff, NASA's Efforts to Manage Health and Human Performance Risks for Space Exploration (IG-16-003),weblink October 29, 2015, NASA, October 29, 2015, Over the last decade, flight surgeons and scientists at NASA have seen a pattern of vision problems in astronauts on long-duration space missions. The syndrome, known as visual impairment intracranial pressure (VIIP), has been reported in nearly two-thirds of space explorers after long periods spent aboard the International Space Station (ISS).On November 2, 2017, scientists reported that significant changes in the position and structure of the brain have been found in astronauts who have taken trips in space, based on MRI studies. Astronauts who took longer space trips were associated with greater brain changes.JOURNAL, Roberts, Donna R., et al, Effects of Spaceflight on Astronaut Brain Structure as Indicated on MRI, November 2, 2017, New England Journal of Medicine, 377, 18, 1746–1753, 10.1056/NEJMoa1705129, 29091569, WEB, Foley, Katherine Ellen, Astronauts who take long trips to space return with brains that have floated to the top of their skulls,weblink November 3, 2017, Quartz (publication), Quartz, November 3, 2017, Being in space can be physiologically deconditioning on the body. It can affect the otolith organs and adaptive capabilities of the central nervous system. Zero gravity and cosmic rays can cause many implications for astronauts.JOURNAL, YOUNG, LAURENCE R., 1999-05-01, Artificial Gravity Considerations for a Mars Exploration Mission, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 871, 1 OTOLITH FUNCT, 367–378, 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1999.tb09198.x, 1749-6632, 1999NYASA.871..367Y, In October 2018, NASA-funded researchers found that lengthy journeys into outer space, including travel to the planet Mars, may substantially damage the gastrointestinal tissues of astronauts. The studies support earlier work that found such journeys could significantly damage the brains of astronauts, and age them prematurely.NEWS, Griffin, Andrew, Travelling to Mars and deep into space could kill astronauts by destroying their guts, finds Nasa-funded study – Previous work has shown that astronauts could age prematurely and have damaged brain tissue after long journeys,weblink October 2, 2018, The Independent, October 2, 2018, Researchers in 2018 reported, after detecting the presence on the International Space Station (ISS) of five Enterobacter bugandensis bacterial strains, none pathogenic to humans, that microorganisms on ISS should be carefully monitored to continue assuring a medically healthy environment for astronauts.WEB, BioMed Central, ISS microbes should be monitored to avoid threat to astronaut health,weblink November 22, 2018, EurekAlert!, November 25, 2018, JOURNAL, Singh, Nitin K., et al, Multi-drug resistant Enterobacter bugandensis species isolated from the International Space Station and comparative genomic analyses with human pathogenic strains, November 23, 2018, BMC Microbiology, 18, 175, 10.1186/s12866-018-1325-2, 6251167, A recent study by Russian scientists published in April 2019 stated that astronauts facing space radiation could face temporary hindrance of their memory centres. While this does not affect their intellectual capabilities, it temporarily hinders formation of new cells in brain's memory centers. The study conducted by Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) concluded this after they observed that mice exposed to neutron and gamma radiation did not impact the rodents' intellectual capabilities.WEB,weblink Radiation can impact astronauts' memory temporarily: Here's all you need to know {{!, Health Tips and News||access-date=2019-04-10}}(File:AstronautsEatingBurgers.jpg|thumb|right|Astronauts making and eating hamburgers on board the ISS, August 2007.)

Food and drink

An astronaut on the International Space Station requires about {{cvt|830|g|oz|lk=on}} mass of food inclusive of food packaging per meal each day. (The packaging mass for each meal is about {{cvt|120|g|oz|disp=or}}) Longer-duration missions require more food.Shuttle astronauts worked with nutritionists to select menus that appeal to their individual tastes. Five months before flight, menus are selected and analyzed for nutritional content by the shuttle dietician. Foods are tested to see how they will react in a reduced gravity environment. Caloric requirements are determined using a basal energy expenditure (BEE) formula.On Earth, the average American uses about {{convert|35|USgal|L}} of water every day. On board the ISS astronauts limit water use to only about {{convert|3|USgal|L|spell=in}} per day.WEB, Human Needs: Sustaining Life During Exploration,weblink, (File:NASA - Astropin.png|left|thumb|NASA Astronaut lapel pin)


In Russia, cosmonauts are awarded Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Russian Federation upon completion of their missions, often accompanied with the award of Hero of the Russian Federation. This follows the practice established in the USSR where cosmonauts were usually awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.At NASA, those who complete astronaut candidate training receive a silver lapel pin. Once they have flown in space, they receive a gold pin. U.S. astronauts who also have active-duty military status receive a special qualification badge, known as the Astronaut Badge, after participation on a spaceflight. The United States Air Force also presents an Astronaut Badge to its pilots who exceed {{convert|50|mi|km}} in altitude.(File:amf space mirror.jpg|right|thumb|Space Mirror Memorial)


Eighteen astronauts (fourteen men and four women) have lost their lives during four space flights. By nationality, thirteen were American (including one born in India), four were Russian (Soviet Union), and one was Israeli.Eleven people (all men) have lost their lives training for spaceflight: eight Americans and three Russians. Six of these were in crashes of training jet aircraft, one drowned during water recovery training, and four were due to fires in pure oxygen environments.The Space Mirror Memorial, which stands on the grounds of the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, commemorates the lives of the men and women who have died during spaceflight and during training in the space programs of the United States. In addition to twenty NASA career astronauts, the memorial includes the names of a U.S. Air Force X-15 test pilot, a U.S. Air Force officer who died while training for a then-classified military space program, and a civilian spaceflight participant.

See also

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External links

{{Wiktionary|cosmonaut|spationaut|astronaut|taikonaut}}{{Commons category|Astronauts}} {{Spaceflight}}{{Authority control}}

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