Image: Cosmic kit

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is suited, booted and ready for his Cosmic Kiss mission. As a member of US Commercial Crew-3 he will be launched to the International Space Station in a Crew Dragon spacecraft in around one month's ...

Astronaut geology bound for the moon

Finding and collecting the best lunar samples will be a major task for the next astronauts on the moon. ESA's Pangaea training campaign launches today to equip astronauts with a geologist's eye on the moon—humanity's next ...

China's Mars rover soldiers on after completing program

China's Zhurong Mars rover is soldiering on after completing its initial program to explore the red planet and search for frozen water that could provide clues as to whether it once supported life.

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Astronaut

An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. While generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.

Until 2003, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military, or by civilian space agencies. However, with the sub-orbital flight of the privately-funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created: the commercial astronaut.

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