A Cosmonaut is a Russian astronaut.

A Cosmonaut by the name of Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space.


By convention, an astronaut employed by the Russian Federal Space Agency (or its Soviet predecessor) is called a cosmonaut in English texts. The word is an anglicisation of the Russian word kosmonavt (Russian: космонавт Russian pronunciation: [kəsmɐˈnaftʰ]), one who works in space outside the Earth's atmosphere, a space traveler, which derives from the Greek words kosmos (κόσμος), meaning "universe", and nautes (ναύτης), meaning "sailor". Other countries of the former Eastern Bloc use variations of the Russian word kosmonavt, such as the Polish kosmonauta. The Soviet Air Force pilot Yuri Gagarin was the first cosmonaut—indeed the first person—in space. Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian factory worker, was the first woman in space, as well as arguably the second civilian to make it there (see below for a further discussion of civilians in space). On March 14, 1995, Norman Thagard became the first American to ride to space on board a Russian launch vehicle, and thus became the first "American cosmonaut".

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