This web page contains astronaut facts for kids and is a great resource for anyone of any age researching the astronauts. We’re going to provide you with accurate facts about astronauts from reputable sources.
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The astronaut facts below will help you understand what an astronaut is, what astronauts do, how you become an astronaut, who are some famous astronauts and other helpful astronaut facts.
We hope the below facts about astronaut are helpful and make researching this type of space job fun.
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23 Astronaut Facts for Kids
1. An astronaut is someone who has been trained to be part of a human spaceflight program.
2. The Soviet space program referred to their astronauts as cosmonauts.
3. In the United States, someone is considered an astronaut if they travel 50 miles or more above the Earth’s sea level.
4. Early astronauts in the USA and USSR programs were typically jet fighter pilots.
5. Astronauts go through a lot of physical and mental training before they ever get a chance to go into space.
6. The youngest astronaut to go into space was Gherman Titov at the age of 25 on August 6th, 1961.
7. The oldest astronaut to go into space was John Glenn at the age of 77 on October 29th, 1998.
8. The person who spent the longest time in space during a single mission was Valeri Polyakov. He spent 14 months on the Russian space station Mir.
9. The farthest any astronauts ever got from Earth was during the Apollo 13 mission. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise reached a maximum distance of 249,205 miles during their slingshot around the moon.
10. As of January 2020, 19 astronauts have been killed in separate different spaceflight accidents.
11. The first Soviet Union astronaut to die during spaceflight was Vladimir Komarov during the Soyuz 1 mission on April 24th, 1967.
12. The first American astronaut to die during spaceflight was Michael J. Adams during the X-15 Flight test on November 11th, 1967.
13. The deadliest spaceflight accidents were Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Both events saw the deaths of seven astronauts.
14. As of January 2020, an astronaut has around a 3% chance of dying during a spaceflight.
15. Yuri Gagarin was the first human sent into outer space via the Vostok 1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961.
16. Alan Shepard was the first American sent into outer space via the Freedom 7 spacecraft on May 5th, 1961.
17. John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth via the Friendship 7 spacecraft on February 20th, 1962.
18. Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman sent into outer space via the Vostok 6 spacecraft on June 16th, 1963.
19. Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 21st, 1969.
20. Buzz Aldrin was the second human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 21st, 1969.
21. Sally Ride was the first American woman sent into outer space on the STS-7 mission on June 18th, 1983.
22. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman sent into outer space on the STS-47 mission on September 12th, 1992.
23. Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman sent into outer space on the STS-56 mission on April 8th, 1993.
Pictures of Famous Astronauts
Additional Resources to Research Astronauts
- Current Astronauts at NASA – See which astronauts are currently active with NASA on their website.
- List of Cosmonauts – See a list of cosmonauts that worked with the Soviet space program and the Russian Federal Space Agency.
- Facts About Spacesuits and Spacewalking – Learn about Spacesuits and Spacewalking on the NASA website.
- Astronaut – Wikipedia – Find more Astronaut facts and historical information on the Wikipedia website.