Encyclopedia Astronautica
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Astronauts
Astronauts, cosmonauts, taikonauts, and their selection groups

Subtopics

Astronaut Persons trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China.

Military Spaceflight Engineer Astronaut Astronauts trained for military spaceflight but not to pilot spacecraft.

Mission Specialist Astronaut Astronauts trained for spaceflight but not to pilot spacecraft.

Payload Specialist Astronaut Astronauts trained for spaceflight but for only support of a specific payload on a single space mission.

Cosmonaut Persons who have been trained for spaceflight in Russia.

Taikonaut Person trained for spaceflight in China.

Man-In-Space-Soonest Group - 1958 To provide pilots for the USAF Project 7969 MISS "Man-In-Space-Soonest" manned spacecraft. On 25 June 1958 the Air Force completed a preliminary astronaut selection for the project. The list was prioritized according to the weight of the pilot due to the low payload available. The 150-175 pound group consisted of test pilots Bob or Robert Walker, Scott Crossfield, Neil Armstrong, and Robert Rushworth. In the 175 to 200 pound group were William Bridgeman, Alvin White, Iven Kincheloe, Robert White, and Jack McKay. It was the first astronaut selection in history.

NASA Group 1 - 1959 Requirement: six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool. Nickname: The Original Seven

Air Force Group 1 - 1960 Requirement: pilot astronauts for the Vostok program.

USAF Dynasoar Group - 1960 Requirement: pilots for X-20A Dynasoar spaceplane flights.

Mercury 13 Group - 1961 Group of 13 female pilots who passed astronaut physical testing in 1961 to prove that women were also qualified for spaceflight. NASA never considered them, maintaining that astronauts had to be qualified test pilots (all of whom were white males). Nickname: The Mercury Thirteen

NASA Group 2 - 1962 Requirement: pilots for the Gemini program and early Apollo missions. Nickname: The Next Nine

USAF Dynasoar Group - 1962 Requirement: supplemental pilot for X-20A Dynasoar spaceplane flights to replace Armstrong and Dana.

Female Group - 1962 Requirement: female astronauts for Vostok and Voskhod flights, primarily for propaganda purposes.

NASA Group 3 - 1963 Requirement: crew members for planned Apollo missions (then planned as 4 Saturn I missions in 1965, 2-4 Saturn IB missions in 1966, 6 Saturn V missions from 1967). Nickname: The Fourteen.

Air Force Group 2 - 1963 Requirement: astronauts for the Soyuz manned spaceflight program.

Air Force Group 2 Supplemental - 1964 Requirement: experienced test pilot for the Soyuz manned spaceflight program.

Voskhod Group - 1964 Payload specialists and physicians for Voskhod spaceflights.

Air Force Group 3 - 1965 Requirement: pilots for planned Soyuz, Soyuz VI, Spiral, and Almaz flights. In 1968-1975 the VVS expected no fewer than 20 Almaz space stations, 50 military 7K-VI missions, 200 Soyuz training spacecraft flights and 400 Soyuz space transport flights.

Journalist Group - 1965 Requirement: journalist for planned Voskhod flight.

Voskhod Physician Group - 1965 Requirement: physician for planned Voskhod flight.

USAF MOL Group 1 - 1965 Requirement: crews for flights of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, a classified military manned space station.

NASA Group 4 - 1965 Requirement: scientist-astronauts for Apollo lunar landing and Apollo applications earth-orbit space station missions. Nickname: The Scientists.

Energia Engineer Group 1 - 1966 Requirement: engineers for planned Soyuz and Almaz flights. In 1968-1975 the VVS expected no fewer than 20 Almaz space stations, 50 military 7K-VI missions, 200 Soyuz training spacecraft flights and 400 Soyuz space transport flights.

USAF MOL Group 2 - 1966 Requirement: crews for flights of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, a classified military manned space station.

NASA Group 5 - 1966 Requirement: pilot-astronauts for the Apollo Applications Program (then planned as 10 lunar landings after Apollo 11 and 30 Apollo flights to earth-orbit space stations). Nickname: The Original Nineteen

Academy of Sciences Group 1 - 1967 Requirement: scientists for lunar landing missions.

NASA Group 6 - 1967 Requirement: additional scientist-astronauts for Apollo lunar landing and earth-orbit space station missions. Nickname: The Excess Eleven.

Energia Engineer Group 1 Supplemental - 1967 Requirement: engineers for lunar flyby and landing missions.

Air Force Group 4 - 1967 Requirement: engineers for planned Soyuz and Almaz flights. In 1968-1975 the VVS expected no fewer than 20 Almaz space stations, 50 military 7K-VI missions, 200 Soyuz training spacecraft flights and 400 Soyuz space transport flights.

Energia Engineer Group 2 - 1967 Requirement: engineers for lunar landing missions.

USAF MOL Group 3 - 1967 Requirement: crews for flights of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, a classified military manned space station.

Vulkan Engineering Group - 1968 Requirement: engineer to operate Vulkan space welding system

Academy of Sciences Group 1 Supplemental - 1968 Requirement: senior scientist to command Academy of Sciences cosmonaut corps.

NASA Group 7 - 1969 NASA was forced to take on seven pilot-astronauts from the cancelled USAF MOL military space station program. All of these men would have to wait to the shuttle era for space missions, but they all would eventually fly.

Air Force Group 5 - 1970 Requirement: test pilots for the Spiral spaceplane.

Shuguang Group - 1970 Requirement: pilot astronauts for the Shuguang program.

Almaz Engineer Group 1 - 1972 Requirement: engineer for Almaz military space station missions.

IMBP Group 1 - 1972 Requirement: physicians for Salyut space station missions.

Energia Engineer Group 3 - 1972 Requirement: engineers for Apollo-Soyuz international space docking mission.

Almaz Engineer Group 2 - 1973 Requirement: engineer for Almaz military space station missions.

Energia Engineer Group 4 - 1973 Requirement: engineers for Apollo-Soyuz and Soyuz 7K-S missions.

Intercosmos Group - 1976 Requirement: pilots from friendly socialist countries to visit Salyut space stations for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange missions.

Air Force Group 6 - 1976 Requirement: test pilots for the Buran program.

Cardiologist Group - 1977 Requirement: physician for Salyut space station missions.

Energia Group Special Selection - 1977 Requirement: general designer to supervise training of spaceplane flight-test cosmonauts

IMBP Group 2 - 1978 Requirement: physicians for Mir space station missions.

Intercosmos Group - 1978 Requirement: pilots from friendly socialist countries to visit Salyut space stations for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange missions.

Air Force Group 7 - 1978 Requirement: pilots for the Buran and Mir programs.

Buran Group 1 - 1978 Requirement: test pilots for the Buran program.

NASA Group 8 - 1978 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Nickname: TFNG - Thirty-Five New Guys, also an obscene military phrase.

Energia Engineer Group 5 - 1978 Requirement: engineers for Mir space station missions.

Almaz Engineer Group 3 - 1978 Requirement: engineers for Almaz military space station missions.

Buran Group - 1978 Requirement: test pilot for the Buran program.

Intercosmos Group - 1979 Requirement: pilots from friendly socialist countries to visit Salyut space stations for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange missions.

DoD Group 1 - 1979 Requirement: shuttle manned spaceflight engineers to operate military payloads.

Female Group - 1980 Requirement: female cosmonauts to visit Salyut and Mir space stations, primarily for propaganda purposes, to upstage American female astronaut flights aboard the shuttle.

Energia Engineer Group 6 - 1980 Requirement: female engineer cosmonauts to visit Salyut and Mir space stations, primarily for propaganda purposes, to upstage American female astronaut flights aboard the shuttle.

International Group - 1980 Requirement: French pilot astronaut to visit Salyut space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange missions.

Academy of Sciences Group 2 - 1980 Requirement: female scientist cosmonauts to visit Salyut and Mir space stations, primarily for propaganda purposes, to upstage American female astronaut flights aboard the shuttle.

IMBP Group 3 - 1980 Requirement: female physicians to visit Salyut and Mir space stations, primarily for propaganda purposes, to upstage American female astronaut flights aboard the shuttle.

NASA Group 9 - 1980 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: 19+80 - The two European astronauts in the group were not considered by the Americans to be part of the 'official' group. This led to a scene at graduation.

MAP Group 1 - 1981 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

DoD Group 2 - 1982 Requirement: shuttle manned spaceflight engineers to operate military payloads.

International Group - 1982 Requirement: pilots from India to visit Salyut space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Canada Group 1 - 1983 Requirement: engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flight billets provided in exchange for Canadian development of the shuttle's remote manipulator arm.

MAP Group 2 - 1983 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Energia Engineer Group 6 Supplemental - 1983 Requirement: all-female crew to visit Mir space stations for propaganda purposes on International Women's Day.

Energia Engineer Group 7 - 1984 Requirement: engineers for Mir missions.

MAP Group 3 - 1984 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

NASA Group 10 - 1984 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Maggots. Named by Bill Shepherd, who dubbed them in their earliest group training in aircraft survival school, a term familiar to graduates of USMC boot camp.

DoD Group 3 - 1985 Requirement: shuttle manned spaceflight engineers to operate military payloads.

NASDA Group - 1985 Requirement: Japanese astronauts for flights aboard Shuttle, ISS.

NASA Group 11 - 1985 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights.

International Group - 1985 Requirement: pilots from Syria to visit Salyut space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Buran Group 2 - 1985 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Energia Engineer Group 8 - 1985 Requirement: engineers for Mir missions.

IMBP Group 4 - 1985 Requirement: physicians for Mir space station missions.

CNES Group 1 - 1985 Requirement: French astronauts for spaceflights to Mir space station,

CNES Group - 1985 Requirement: French astronauts for spaceflights to Mir space station.

MAP Group 4 - 1985 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

International Group - 1986 Requirement: French test pilot for missions aboard Hermes, Mir, and Buran.

Air Force Group 8 - 1987 Requirement: pilots for the Buran and Mir programs.

Chkalov Group 1 - 1987 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

DLR Group 1 - 1987 Requirement: German astronauts for flights to the Mir space station and aboard the shuttle.

Energia Engineer Group 9 - 1987 Requirement: engineers for Mir missions.

International Group - 1987 Requirement: pilot from Bulgaria to visit Mir space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission. This was compensation mission due to failure to deliver Bulgarian cosmonaut on earlier mission to Salyut.

NASA Group 12 - 1987 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Gaffers (acronym for 'George Abbey Final Fifteen' - the last group selected with George Abbey as Director of Flight Crew Operations). The class motto: 'What's the rush?' since there was expected to be along wait for flights after the Challenger disaster.

International Group - 1988 Requirement: pilots from Afghanistan to visit Salyut space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Chkalov Group 2 - 1988 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

MAP Group 5 - 1989 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Japanese Commercial Group - 1989 Requirement: Japanese astronauts for commercial mission to Mir.

Air Force Group 10 - 1989 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for Mir missions.

Energia Engineer Group 10 - 1989 Requirement: engineers for missions to the Mir space station.

Austrian Commercial Group - 1989 Requirement: Austrian cosmonaut for commercially funded mission to Mir station.

Buran Group 3 - 1989 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

British Commercial Group - 1989 Requirement: British cosmonaut for commercially funded mission to Mir station.

IMBP Group 5 - 1989 Requirement: physicians for Mir space station missions.

Engineer Commercial Group - 1990 Null

Journalist Group - 1990 Requirement: journalists to visit Mir space station.

Air Force Group 11 - 1990 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for Mir missions.

DLR Group 2 - 1990 Requirement: German astronauts for flights to the Mir space station and aboard the shuttle.

Zvezda Engineer Group - 1990 Requirement: engineer for flights to Mir space station.

CNES Group 2 - 1990 Requirement: French astronauts for spaceflights aboard Hermes spaceplane and to Mir and US space stations.

German Commercial Group - 1990 Requirement: German astronauts for missions aboard Mir, Shuttle, Hermes spaceplane, and ISS.

NASA Group 13 - 1990 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Hairballs. As the 13th astronaut group, the 'unlucky' theme was discussed in designing an emblem for the group. A black cat was used on an early patch design rejected by NASA. This reminded some of hairballs and the group members adopted this as a nickname.

Buran Group 3 Supplemental - 1990 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Italian Space Agency Group - 1990 Requirement: Italian astronauts for missions aboard Hermes, Mir, and Shuttle.

Kazakhstan Group - 1991 Requirement: pilots from Kazakhstan to visit Mir space station.

Air Force Group 11 Supplemental - 1991 Requirement: pilot cosmonaut for Mir missions.

Chkalov Group 3 - 1992 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Energia Engineer Group 11 - 1992 Requirement: engineers for missions to the Mir space station.

NASA Group 14 - 1992 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Hogs.

Canada Group 2 - 1992 Requirement: engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flight billets provided in exchange for Canadian development of the shuttle's remote manipulator arm.

NASDA Group 2 - 1992 Requirement: Japanese astronauts for flights aboard Shuttle, ISS.

ESA Group 1 - 1992 Requirement: ESA astronauts for Mir, Shuttle, and ISS missions.

Chkalov Group 4 - 1993 Requirement: test pilots for Buran spaceplane

Commercial Group - 1993 Requirement: ESA astronauts for flights to the Mir space station.

Energia Engineer Group 12 - 1994 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

NASA Group 15 - 1995 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Flying Escargot. Originally dubbed the 'snails' by the Hogs, because they were supposed to be the class of 1994, but the announcement was delayed a year;. They renamed themselves with the better-sounding French equivalent.

Chkalov Group 5 - 1995 Requirement: replace losses in space test pilot group for Buran spaceplane

Kirgiz Group - 1996 Requirement: pilots from Kyrgyzstan to visit Mir space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Air Force Group 11 Supplemental - 1996 Requirement: pilot cosmonaut for Mir missions.

China Group - 1996 Requirement: two trainees to receive intense cosmonaut training in Russia and become instructors for China's astronaut training for the Shenzhou program.

NASA Group 16 - 1996 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Sardines (named because that's how packed they were; at 44 this was the largest ASCAN class of all time)

Energia Engineer Group 13 - 1996 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

Ukraine Group - 1996 Requirement: pilots from Ukraine to visit Mir space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Khrunichev Engineer Group - 1997 Requirement: engineer for flights to Mir.

Air Force Group 12 Supplemental - 1997 Requirement: flight of representative of Russian President's office on Mir and ISS missions.

Air Force Group 12 - 1997 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for ISS missions.

Energia Engineer Group 14 - 1997 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

International Group - 1997 Requirement: pilots from Slovakia to visit Mir space station for propaganda purposes on Soyuz ferry-exchange mission.

Energia Engineer Group 14 Supplemental - 1998 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

Air Force Group 12 Supplemental - 1998 Requirement: flight of representative of Russian space forces on ISS missions.

China Group 1 - 1998 Requirement: pilot astronauts for the Shenzhou program.

ESA Group 3 - 1998 Requirement: ESA astronauts for Mir, Shuttle, and ISS missions.

NASA Group 17 - 1998 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Penguins. Originally called the Dodos by the Sardines, after an extinct flightless bird; they renamed themselves after a flightless bird that eats fish...

Energia Engineer Group 14 Supplemental - 1999 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

NASDA Group 3 - 1999 Requirement: Japanese astronauts for flights aboard Shuttle, ISS.

NASA Group 18 - 2000 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Nickname: The Bugs.

Space Tourist Group - 2000 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Space Tourist Group - 2001 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Kazakhstan Group - 2002 Requirement: pilots from Kazakhstan to visit ISS space station.

Air Force Group 13 - 2003 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for ISS missions.

Energia Engineer Group 15 - 2003 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

IMBP Group 6 - 2003 Requirement: physicians for ISS space station missions.

NASA Group 19 - 2004 Requirement: pilot and mission specialists for post-ISS spaceflights to the moon and beyond

Space Tourist Group - 2005 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Energia Engineer Group 16 - 2006 Requirement: engineer-cosmonauts for ISS missions.

Air Force Group 14 - 2006 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for ISS missions.

Space Tourist Group - 2006 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Space Tourist Group - 2007 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Space Tourist Group - 2008 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

Space Tourist Group - 2009 Paid space tourist mission to ISS.

NASA Group 20 - 2009 Requirement: pilot and mission specialists for post-ISS spaceflights to the moon and beyond. Nickname: The Chumps (unexplained; originally the Chimps, but perhaps the Chumps based on the unlikelihood they will ever fly in space).

ESA Group 3 - 2009 Astronaut training group.

China Group 2 - 2010 Requirement: pilot astronauts for the Shenzhou program. Included first female astronauts for the Chines space program.

Energia Engineer Group 17 - 2010 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.

Air Force Group 15 - 2010 Requirement: pilot cosmonauts for ISS missions.

Energia Engineer Group 18 - 2010 Requirement: engineers for missions to the ISS space station.



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