The Space & Beyond Blog

The six most famous astronauts … and five more you should know

Famous astronauts whose actions and achievements made history and set records

A picture of the Huntsville Times newspaper story on cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s accomplishment next to a picture of Gagarin in his spacesuit.

On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin (left, on the way to the launch pad) became the first human in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. Newspapers like The Huntsville Times (right) trumpeted Gagarin’s accomplishment. Source: NASA

A picture of the famous astronaut John Glenn in a spacesuit.

In February 1960, famous NASA astronaut John Glenn donned his silver Mercury pressure suit in preparation for his launch into the history books aboard Friendship 7. Source: NASA

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A picture of Buzz Aldrin’s foot and footprint on the moon.

Famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin took this photo of his boot and a partial bootprint as he tested the mechanics of the lunar soil. The rock in front of his toe measures 2 inches (5 cm) across. Source: NASA

A picture of Jim Lovell in his spacesuit.

During a training session at the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 28, 1970, famous astronaut Jim Lovell suits up for an extravehicular activity simulation for the Apollo 13 mission. Source: NASA

A headshot of Sally Ride in front of an American flag.

Sally Ride’s first space mission lasted 147 hours. Source: NASA

A headshot of Christa McAuliffe with an American flag in the background.

Famous astronaut Christa McAuliffe. Source: NASA

A picture of Mae Jemison floating in the Endeavour space shuttle.

Famous astronaut Mae Jemison on the Endeavour space shuttle in September 1992. Source: NASA

A picture of Chris Hadfield in a spacesuit.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield participates in an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit fit check in the Space Station Airlock Test Article (SSATA) in the Crew Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on July 31, 2012. Source: Mark Sowa/NASA

A picture of Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly wearing matching blue NASA jackets and looking each other in the eyes.

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly (left) cracks a slight smile while posing with his identical twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly (right). As part of NASA’s Twins Study, Scott took a long trip to space, while Mark remained on Earth. Researchers then monitored how their bodies reacted to their differing environments. Source: NASA

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