Monday, September 20

Five Astronauts Who Made History (Beyond Armstrong and Gagarin) | Digital Trends Spanish

Yuri Gagarin or Neil Armstrong are surely the first that will come to mind if you are asked to name two astronauts. The Russian was the first to orbit the Earth, while the American took humanity’s first step on the Moon. But they are not the only ones who have made history: these are five astronauts you should know beyond Armstrong and Gagarin.

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First female: Valentina Tereshkova

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The Russian On June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft. She spent three days in space, during which time she completed 48 orbits around the Earth. Tereshkova, who was a textile factory worker before being recruited, was the only woman to complete a solo space mission.

First Latin American: Arnaldo Tamayo

Arnaldo Tamayo
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A native of Baracoa, Arnaldo Tamayo was not only the first Cuban to fly into space, but also the first Latin American and the first Afro-descendant. After overcoming 600 applicants, in March 1978 Tamayo was chosen to join the Intercosmos program of the former Soviet Union along with his compatriot José López, who was a reserve. On September 18, 1980, he took off aboard the Soyuz 38 spacecraft that docked at the Saliut 6 space station. Tamayo performed 21 experiments, completed 128 orbits of Earth, and spent 7 days and 20 hours in space.

First Mexican: Rodolfo Neri

Rodolfo Neri, with a large Mexican hat in the top row, along with the rest of the crew of the STS-61-B mission of the shuttle Atlantis.
Rodolfo Neri, with a large Mexican hat in the top row, along with the rest of the crew of the STS-61-B mission of the shuttle Atlantis. Getty Images

On the night of November 26, 1985, engineer Rodolfo Neri became the first Mexican and second Latin American to fly into space. He did so as a specialist on the STS-61-B mission of NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis, whose mission was to put three satellites into orbit, including the Morelos II of Mexico. It remained in orbit for 7 days, a period in which it carried out multiple experiments by Mexican scientists.

First Afro-descendant woman: Mae Jemison

Mae jemison
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American engineer and doctor Mae Jemison was the first African-descendant woman to travel into space. Jemison traveled in 1992 aboard mission STS47 of the shuttle Endeavor on mission STS47 and spent 190 hours in space. During this period, Jemison conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness.

First Spanish: Pedro Duque

Pedro Duque, the first astronaut of Spanish nationality
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Although he was not the first born in Spain to reach space, the aeronautical engineer Pedro Duque was the first Spanish national to achieve this. In October 1998, he joined the STS-95 mission of the space shuttle Discovery and for nine days he supervised the experimental module of the European Space Agency (ESA). Five years later he participated in another ten-day mission to the International Space Station. Between 2018 and 2021 he served as Spanish Minister of Sciences.

However, the first born in Spain was Miguel Eladio López-Alegría, who renounced his Spanish nationality to adopt the American one. In 1995, López-Alegría orbited the Earth for 15 days and 21 hours. Since then, he has participated in four other missions.

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