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Astronauts and Cosmonauts

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Profiles

  • Charles Duke
    Charles Moss Duke, Jr. (born October 3, 1935) is a retired US Air Force brigadier general, and a former United States astronaut for NASA. As lunar module pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972, he became the te...
  • Frederick Hamilton "Rick" Hauck
    Frederick Hamilton "Rick" Hauck (pronounced "Howk"; born April 11, 1941) is a retired Captain in the United States Navy, a former fighter pilot and NASA astronaut. He piloted Space Shuttle mission ST...
  • Martin Joseph Fettman
    Martin Joseph Fettman (B.S., D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., Diplomate, ACVP) is an American pathologist and researcher who flew on NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-58 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia as a Paylo...
  • Judith Resnik (1949 - 1986)
    Judith Arlene Resnik (April 5, 1949 – January 28, 1986) was an American engineer and a NASA astronaut who died when the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed during the launch of mission STS-...
  • Brewster H. Shaw
    Brewster Hopkinson Shaw, Jr. (born May 16, 1945) is a former NASA astronaut, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former executive at Boeing. Shaw was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on...

On April 7, 2011 United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight.*Space Exploration commemorative US Stamps.

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  • The first human in space was Soviet Yuri Gagarin, who was launched into space on April 12, 1961 aboard Vostok 1 and orbited around the Earth for 108 minutes.
  • The first woman in space was Russian Valentina Tereshkova, who launched on June 16, 1963 aboard Vostok 6 and orbited Earth for almost three days.

  • Cosmonautics Day (Russian: День Космона́втики) is a holiday celebrated in Russia and some other former USSR countries on April 12. This holiday celebrates the first manned space flight made on April 12, 1961 by the 27-year-old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin circled the Earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. Coincidentally, it is also the anniversary of the first Space Shuttle launch that occurred 20 years after the historic Vostok flight.

  • 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 woman in space was Sally Ride, during Space Shuttle Challenger's mission STS-7, on June 18, 1983.
  • In 1992 Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space aboard STS-47.

  • 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.

  • In April 1985, Taylor Wang became the first ethnic Chinese person in space.
  • On 15 October 2003, Yang Liwei became China's first astronaut on the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft.

  • 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. An example is Vladimír Remek, a Czechoslovak, who became the first non-Soviet European in space in 1978 on a Russian Soyuz-U rocket.

  • On July 23, 1980, Pham Tuan of Vietnam became the first Asian in space when he flew aboard Soyuz 37.

  • Also in 1980, Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez became the first person of Hispanic and black African descent to fly in space, Guion Bluford became the first African American to fly into space.
  • The first person born in Africa to fly in space was Patrick Baudry, in 1985.

  • In 1985, Saudi Arabian Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud became the first Arab Muslim astronaut in space.

  • In 1988, Abdul Ahad Mohmand became the first Afghan to reach space, spending nine days aboard the Mir space station.

  • With the larger number of seats available 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).

  • In 1985, Rodolfo Neri Vela became the first Mexican-born person in space.
  • In 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton to fly in space.

  • In 2002, Mark Shuttleworth became the first citizen of an African country to fly in space, as a paying spaceflight participant.