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The Real ‘Whiz Kids’: Here Are the Youngest Astronauts to Ever Explore Outer Space

Space exploration always fascinates us as humans. It only takes a long gaze at the night sky to pique our curiosity. While we stared, others didn’t just look at the sky in wonder; they started working towards exploring outer space. Their curiosity eventually motivated them to become astronauts and travel to space- and this article is dedicated to the youngest astronauts ever.

Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud

Sultan, son of the King of Saudi Arabia, was a former Royal Saudi Air Force Pilot. He was the first Arab/Muslim to go to space, the first royal family member to go to space, and the youngest aboard the shuttle.

Courtesy: Pinterest

The Arabian astronaut is a graduate of Syracuse University and the University of Denver. At age 28, he served as a payload specialist on the American STS-51-G Space Shuttle.

Dumitru Prunariu

Dumitru is a Romanian-born diplomat, aviator, and engineer. He had an 8-day space flight with Russian cosmonaut Leonid Popov on the Soyuz 40 when he was 28 years old. His high marks, which superseded that of his classmates, qualified him for the flight.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Onboard, the duo did experiments in biology, astrophysics, and space medicine. Prunariu is a graduate of the University of Bucharest and has received awards such as Hero of the Socialist Republic of Romania and Hero of the Soviet Union. 

Helen Sharman

Helen Sharman, a graduate of the University of Sheffield and the University of London, is the first Western European woman and British cosmonaut in space. She was just 27 years old when she traveled to space aboard the Soyuz TM-12.

Courtesy: Science Museum Blog

Helen responded to a radio ad for people to try out and become the first British space explorer. She was picked live on TV, beating out 13,000 other applicants. Helen got the gold, silver, and bronze awards from the Royal Aero Club.

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina is the first, only, and youngest woman to go on a solo mission to space. She is a graduate of the Light Industry Technical School. At age 26, the Russian pioneer went on solo space exploration on the Vostok 6.

Courtesy: New Mexico Museum of Space History

She took a round trip around the Earth 48 times, spending about three days in space. Her flight, Vostok 6, was the last flight of its fleet. Following her space career, Valentina has remained active politically. 

Oliver Daemen

Oliver Daemen is currently the youngest person to travel to outer space. He is enrolled at Utrecht University, studying Science and Innovation Management. He was only 18 years old when he went to space.

Courtesy: CNBC

He flew as part of the Blue Origin NS-16 mission by Jeff Bezos. He qualified for this once-in-a-lifetime trip through an auction, making him the first commercial space tourist.

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