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Meet the Cosmic Pioneers: Five Memorable Astronauts Who Redefined Space Exploration

Space exploration never ceases to fascinate humans with amazing discoveries. Astronauts are invaluable for this reason; they are central to our understanding of outer space. Many astronauts have played remarkable roles, which set the pace for other astronauts and non-astronauts. Here are five astronauts whose giant strides cannot be erased in space exploration.

Eileen Collins

Eileen Collins is an American astronaut who has set great standards for others in the space exploration field. She was one of the women who broke barriers for women in the astronaut program and contributed significantly to the history of space exploration.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Eileen is famously known as the first female Space Shuttle pilot and commander. She played a major role in the success of several Space Shuttle missions, paving the way for women like herself.

Yuri Gagarin

Before exploring space, Yuri Gagarin was a trained military fighter pilot. This skill served as a foundation upon which he set his other space flight training. Gagarin remains one of the most famous space explorers today.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

In 1961, he made the Soviet Union and the world at large proud by becoming the first person to go to space. He also said the first words a human spoke in space at an altitude of 203 miles above the Earth. He proved that humans can go as far as they want to.

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison was a Peace Corps doctor before becoming a NASA astronaut. Throughout her career, Mae achieved unprecedented feats, making her one of the most renowned astronauts in America and globally. 

Courtesy: Wikipedia

In 1992, she set a new record by becoming the first Black woman in space aboard the Endeavor. In just eight days, Mae did 127 orbits around the Earth, showing that gender or race is never a limiting factor. After her retirement, she has been into research and writing children’s books.

Alexei Leonov

Although spacewalks are commonly done by space scientists today, Alexei Leonov was one of those who painted a clear picture of how it happens. The cosmonaut was the first person to ever walk in space. 


He did the famous spacewalk on March 18, 1965, when he got out of the Voskhod 2 spacecraft. His floating movement in the void of space showed scientists the practical version of what they’ve been theorizing. 

Alan Bean

Alan Bean was a famous American astronaut who contributed significantly to the Apollo 12 mission in 1969. He was also the fourth person to walk on the Moon. However, his legacies didn’t stop there.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

He delved into art after his career as an astronaut. His paintings were about his exploration of the Moon and space generally. Fusing space exploration and art, his works set a standard nobody had reached.

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