So many kids grow up wanting to be astronauts, but very few actually make the grade. There are a lot of things that have to happen when it comes to being an astronaut. It seems like such an awesome job, being able to get into an astronaut’s uniform, and fly into space in the back of a spaceship! But, there is a lot involved in becoming an astronaut.
Helping to shape the future of space travel is not something that just anyone can do. Astronauts need to have a lot of skill, discipline, drive, scientific knowledge, and bravery. There have been plenty of really important and notable astronauts throughout history, many of whom have made significant contributions to the world, and have helped shape the future of space travel; here are some of the most notable.
Who could overlook Neil Armstrong in the pantheon of notable astronauts?! He is known as the first man to walk on the Moon, and his immortal line “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” is known the world over. He was also NASA’s first civilian pilot to fly into space and is considered to be an icon of space travel, science, and American culture.
Buzz Aldrin is often overlooked, but he is still one of the most important figures in space travel. He’s the second person ever to walk on the Moon, as part of the mission with Neil Armstrong. Aldrin also holds the honor of being the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon, taking communion. In the years after leaving NASA he suffered from depression and alcoholism, and in his later years became an advocate for space exploration to Mars.
Sally Ride is a name you may not be overly familiar with, but she’s important. In 1983, Ride made history by becoming the first American woman in space, and, at 32, remains the youngest ever American astronaut in space. She also flew the Challenger twice, worked as a physics professor, and was part of a committee that investigated the Columbia and Challenger shuttle disasters. She left NASA in 1987, and, up until she passed away in 2012, she remained an iconic figure in the American space program.
He may not have been the first man on the Moon, but Russian Gagarin was officially the first-ever man to go into space. In 1960 he joined the burgeoning Soviet Space Program and was selected as the first man to trial space travel. This is a feat the likes of which has not yet been matched in the world. Gagarin set the bar for those who followed after and has become one of the most important names in space exploration.
These are just some of the men and women who have made a significant impact as astronauts. There are a lot of things to consider, but all of them have made an impact on space travel, science, and the evolution of mankind. Others could have made it onto this list, but we narrowed it down to these few iconic figures.