Why are astronauts famous

Ten at ten | The 10 greatest spacemen of all time!

On April 12th we celebrate International Human Spaceflight Day!

Because exactly 53 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin flew into space with the Vostok 1. He was the first person in weightlessness!

Just a few years later, the first man stood on the moon in 1969! And said what is probably the most famous phrase in space travel, "That's a small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"!

We have put together the ten greatest heroes of space travel for you!

Every day from 10 o'clock there is our "Ten at Ten" list at BILD.de with ten original facts, tips or ideas on a topic - let yourself be surprised ten times over every morning.

TODAY: The ten greatest spacemen of all time!

1. Neil Armstrong

Everyone knows him! On July 21, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to land on the moon. With his words “This is a small step for a person, a huge step for mankind”, he went down in world history. The Ohio-born astronaut had German roots. His maternal great-grandfather came from North Rhine-Westphalia. The American national hero died in 2012 as a result of a heart operation. He was 82 years old.

Neil Armstrong († 82) shortly before his start into space. Right: The photo evidence for the first steps on the moon

2. Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin

On April 12, 1961, the only 1.57 meter tall Soviet cosmonaut completed the first manned flight into space with the spaceship Vostok 1. Gagarin orbited the earth once in 106 minutes. Shortly after his appointment as a cosmonaut trainer, he had a fatal accident in 1968 during a training flight at the age of 34.

3. Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova

The first woman in space! The Soviet cosmonaut was a great admirer of Yuri A. Gagarin and applied for the cosmonaut school several times. In the spring of 1963, Tereschkowa started her first flight into space on board the Vostok 6. During the three-day flight, she circled the earth 49 times. Today the 77-year-old Tereschkowa, who has the military rank of major general retired. of the Russian armed forces, a deputy for the party "United Russia".

4. Alan Shepard

The first American in space. He flew into space on May 5, 1961 in the first manned flight of a US spaceship. During this mission he reached an astonishing altitude of 187 kilometers. Shepard did his first flight to the moon ten years later. It was the third moon landing in history and Shepard was the oldest astronaut on board at the age of 44. He had brought a golf club and balls with him for his first steps on the moon. He not only holds the record as the first American in space, but also goes down in history as the first golfer on the moon. After his active time as an astronaut, he received several honorary doctorates. In 1996, Shepard was diagnosed with leukemia, from which he died just two years later at the age of 74.

5. Alexey Archipowitsch Leonow

The Russian was the first person to go outside a spaceship - and is therefore the bravest of our top 10! At the age of only 25, he and 19 other pilots formed the first cosmonaut group in the USSR. During his first space mission on board the Woschod 2 in 1965, Leonov was the first person to leave the spaceship and hover in orbit for twelve minutes. Only connected to the spaceship by a safety line! His re-entry into the spaceship was difficult - his suit had inflated so much from the pressure difference to the vacuum of space that it did not fit through the hatch. Only through a daring action in which he let the air out of the suit, he could save himself. After his career as a cosmonaut, the now 77-year-old Leonov wrote several books about his experiences in space.

6. Buzz Aldrin

Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. became known as the second man on the moon. Together with Neil Armstrong, he was part of the team on the first moon landing. There are many stories about the first step on the lunar surface. It was often said that Armstrong wanted the fame to himself and was therefore the first to leave the spaceship. But in an interview a few years ago, Aldrin denied the stories. He himself was afraid of the fame that would come over him as a result of this event. Tragic: Aldrin's mother took her own life just a few days before the flight to the moon, her maiden name was Moon. Coincidence or a hint of fate? After the great fame, it became quiet about the former hero. This drew more and more attention to himself through divorces and binge drinking. But to this day, Aldrin has not let go of space. Every day he thinks of the moments that will rule his life forever. The 84-year-old calls the time after the moon, the “melancholy of the task accomplished”.

Buzz Aldrin (84) in a space suit. This famous photo of Aldrin on the moon (r.) Was taken by his team-mate Neil Armstrong during the moon landing in 1969

7. John Herschel Glenn Jr.

The record holder! The sprightly 92-year-old American can look back on a remarkable career. Not only was he the first American to orbit the earth (1962), he was also a test pilot, marine and US Senator! Glenn embarked on his first space mission in 1962. As a pilot at the tip of an Atlas rocket, he circled the earth three times. But it's not the only record Glenn holds. After his first space flight, he turned to politics - in 1980 he became a Senator for the US state of Ohio. He completed his second and last space flight 36 years after his first: At the proud age of 77, Glenn once again took the space shuttle Discovery into the endless expanses. This makes him the oldest person to have been in space! Other records: oldest living space traveler and longest time period between two flights!

8. Valery Vladimirovich Polyakov

The 71-year-old holds the world record for the longest lasting space flight, which started in January 1994. Polyakov was in space for a total of 437 days! However, the former Soviet cosmonaut never left his spaceship. After his two missions, he was named Hero of the Russian Federation in 1995 by the then Russian President, Boris Yeltsin. Shortly afterwards he left the cosmonaut program.

9. James Arthur Lovell

The man of missed opportunities! 1st chance: He took part in the first selection process for future astronauts of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), was shortlisted and still did not make it. 2nd chance: Lovell was actually intended for the flight to the first moon landing in 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But it was only planned as a replacement! Lovell was the first astronaut to make four space flights and the first to go to the moon without landing. When he took off for the moon on the Apollo 13 in 1970, the mission had to be aborted due to an explosion on board - all three crew members returned to Earth alive. The dramatic rescue of the Apollo 13 crew was filmed in 1995 with Tom Hanks in the lead role. Lovell is now 86 years old.

10. Christa McAuliffe

The first teacher in orbit! The second woman on our list was a history and English teacher. McAuliffe applied for the "Teachers-in-Space" tender published by NASA in 1985. It had prevailed against 11,000 applicants and was allowed to take its first flight with the spaceship Challenger only a year later. The Challenger exploded just seconds after takeoff - all seven crew members died! Tragically in context are McAuliffe's last words before boarding the spaceship, “I really don't want to say goodbye to any of you people (I really don't want to say goodbye to any of you) ". The 37-year-old left her husband and two children.

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