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An astronaut is a spaceman. The expression has Greek word roots and means something like “star driver.” In Russia, they called cosmonaut and in China often called taikonaut. Both are astronauts.
Astronaut Coloring Pages Collection
See the collection of Astronaut images to color below.
The first men for space travel came from the army. They flew fighter planes and were therefore used to sitting in machines that moved fast. Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union was the first man in space in 1961. The first American, the first to be called an astronaut, a month later, was Alan Shepard. The first woman in the area, two years later, was named Valentina Tereshkova.
But astronauts come not only from the USA, Russia, and China. Germans, for example, have already traveled with the USA or Russia. The first German in space was Sigmund Jähn from the German Democratic Republic in 1978.
What do you have to do to become an astronaut?
Weightlessness feels a lot like being underwater. That’s why astronauts train in big tanks. Divers make sure nothing happens to them.
There are places where astronauts are trained in the USA, Russia, and Europe. The European Space Agency has its training center in Cologne. Especially many astronauts are not needed at all. That’s why they only invite people for training every few years, and then they have about a dozen training places.
Most people who have studied natural science are accepted. After all, space is mainly used for research. So you have to know a lot about physics, for example. Then there are former pilots.
Astronauts must be healthy and fit because the flight is exhausting. It is also essential to be able to work well with other people. You have to speak English very well and, depending on the situation, Russian as well. Understanding of technology is also essential. Astronauts must not be too tall, not too small, and not take drugs.
The training is hard and takes several years. Everything that you might have to do later in space is often practiced. But the flight is dangerous, and you don’t get paid very well. It is also possible that you have tried hard, and in the end, you are not allowed to fly. Nevertheless, well over a thousand people apply when new astronauts are trained.
You can also go into space if you have a lot of money. A well-known tourist in space, who came to the International Space Station, was an entrepreneur from the USA. In 2001 he went with the Russian Soyuz TM-3. He paid $20 million for it.