Hey there, junior astronaut! Fancy seeing you here. Have a virtual seat, we promise you'll be in great company with some of the world's most famous astronauts!
Today, we'll learn more about the first people who made it to space and their incredible achievements.
Can you name any of these famous astronauts? We bet you can. So let's find out a little more about each and discover how they trained to break the ultimate barrier to space.
After all, if you want to become a famous astronaut yourself, you'll need to get up to date, space-speed!
Ready, junior astronaut? Let's begin!
The first man in space
Our famous astronauts' story could not begin with anyone else than with Yuri Gagarin.
Yuri Gagarin, a Russian citizen, was the first human to make it into outer space. Onboard the spaceship Vostok 1, Yuri orbited Earth on 12 April 1961.
Close your eyes and try to imagine how he felt to be the first-ever to experience the sheer immensity of space. What a sensation it must have been!
But make no mistake about it, Yuri worked extra-hard to get there. He completed the Air Force Pilots School and worked several years in the military before being accepted in the Vostok space program.
Once in the program, more work followed! Hard, hard work.
Yuri trained like he was going to the Olympics. He took countless physical and psychological tests and got used to gravity changes. He followed parachute training, proved his patience and strength of mind in isolated rooms, and showed he had the right attitude to handle any situation.
Needless to say, he passed all the tests and won the honour of being the first astronaut in space.
Other notable mentions:
Alan Shepard - the first American man in space, onboard Freedom 7, on 5 May 1961.
The first woman in space
Have you ever heard of Valentina Tereshkova? Well, you did now. Although her name is a bit hard to pronounce, try to spell and remember it.
Why? Because Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to travel to outer space on 16 June, 1963. She spent 2 days, 22 hours and 50 minutes in space, orbiting Earth 48 times onboard Vostok 6.
To this day, Valentina remains the youngest woman in space and the only woman to complete a solo mission. Girls, do you think you can break this record? We believe you can if you start training now.
Because Valentina trained with all her might. Although she worked at a textile factory, she was also slowly becoming a parachute jumping expert. This passion is what earned her a spot in the space program.
Valentina trained for 18 months. She passed numerous physical tests, experienced extreme gravity conditions and big temperature changes, and experimented with long periods of being alone. Of course, she also took flight training since she had no previous experience.
In the end, it was all worth it! Even if she experienced some landing difficulties, Valentina made it back safely, changing the world forever.
Other notable mentions:
Sally Ride - the first American woman in space, on the STS-7 mission, on 18 June, 1983.
Mae Jemison - the first African American woman in space, on the STS-47 mission, on 12 September, 1992.
Ellen Ochoa - the first Hispanic woman in space, on the STS-56 mission, 8 April, 1993.
The first astronaut on the Moon (and the second)
We have no doubt that the name Neil Armstrong rings a bell. Indeed, he is the first astronaut to step foot on the Moon, in 1969.
However, he wasn't the only one. Buzz Aldrin was right next to Neil on the Apollo 11 mission and had the honour of becoming the second astronaut to walk on the Moon. Pilot Michael Collins was also onboard Apollo 11.
Neil Armstrong was an aeronautical engineer who became a civilian research pilot for NASA. However, before joining the space program, he gathered an impressive number of flown hours: 2450 to be precise.
To get ready for the Moon landing, the astronauts trained hard.
They spent most of their time in physical training but also studying rock formations at the Grand Canyon and in Iceland.
At NASA, Neil, Buzz, and Michael spent countless hours in gravity training. For example, suspended sideways, they had to walk along a tilted wall at an angle.
To make things more realistic, the astronauts trained at five different US locations that had Moon-like terrain.
The Apollo mission lasted eight days, three hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds. When they returned, the astronauts had to stay in quarantine for 21 days.
Knowing all this, do you still want to become an astronaut? If the answer is yes, let's jump to how.
Want to become the next famous astronaut?
Now you know just how hard (and amazing) it is to become a famous astronaut.
The first people to make it into space were genuinely determined to push the boundaries of space and break their own limits!
If you think you have what it takes to be the next famous astronaut, join our space programmes.
So, junior astronaut, what do you say, will you join us in space?