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– Definition of Astronaut:
– Trained, equipped, and deployed for human spaceflight programs
– Serve as commander or crew member aboard a spacecraft
– Term can apply to scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists
– Astronauts are of various nationalities
– Russian astronauts are known as cosmonauts

– Other Terms for Astronauts:
– Cosmonauts are Russian or Soviet astronauts
– Taikonauts are Chinese astronauts
– Chinese astronauts are officially called hángtiānyuán
– Rise of the term taikonaut due to Chinese developments in spaceflight
– Origin and use of the term taikonaut are somewhat informal

– Number of Astronauts:
– 600 astronauts have flown in space since 1961
– Astronauts were exclusively sponsored and trained by governments until 2002

– Astronauts vs. Cosmonauts:
– Astronaut is a universal term for space travelers
– Cosmonaut is specific to Russian or Soviet space travelers
– Both terms refer to individuals trained for space missions
– Origin of cosmonaut from Russian term kosmos
– Astronauts and cosmonauts share similar training and roles

– Evolution of Astronaut Training:
– Astronaut training historically conducted by governments
– Training previously sponsored by military or civilian space agencies
– Shift towards commercial space travel has changed astronaut training dynamics
– Increased private sector involvement in astronaut training post-2002
– Collaboration between governments and private companies in astronaut training

Astronaut (Wikipedia)

An astronaut (from the Ancient Greek ἄστρον (astron), meaning 'star', and ναύτης (nautes), meaning 'sailor') is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a human spaceflight program to serve as a commander or crew member aboard a spacecraft. Although generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.

NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II using a Manned Maneuvering Unit outside Space Shuttle Challenger on shuttle mission STS-41-B in 1984

"Astronaut" technically applies to all human space travelers regardless of nationality. However, astronauts fielded by Russia or the Soviet Union are typically known instead as cosmonauts (from the Russian "kosmos" (космос), meaning "space", also borrowed from Greek κόσμος). Comparatively recent developments in crewed spaceflight made by China have led to the rise of the term taikonaut (from the Mandarin "tàikōng" (太空), meaning "space"), although its use is somewhat informal and its origin is unclear. In China, the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps astronauts and their foreign counterparts are all officially called hángtiānyuán (航天员, meaning "heaven navigator" or literally "heaven-sailing staff").

Since 1961, 600 astronauts have flown in space. 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.

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