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List of astronauts by selection

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

This is an list of astronauts by year of selection, people selected for training by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Until recently, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military or by civilian space agencies. However, with the first sub-orbital flight of the privately-funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created - the commercial astronaut.

While the term astronaut is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists, this article only lists professional astronauts. A list of everyone who has flown in space can be found at List of space travelers by name.

As of 2008, more than 480 people had trained as astronauts.


- Man In Space Soonest Group 1 - USA

Neil A. Armstrong, Albert S. Crossfield, Iven C. Kincheloe, John B. McKay, Joseph A. Walker, Alvin S. White, Robert M. White
Note: In 1957, seven test pilots from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the United States Air Force (USAF), and North American Aviation (NAA) were selected for the Man In Space Soonest project, a U.S. military initiative to put a man in space. While the spaceflight aspect of the project was cancelled, two astronauts would later reach space, Joe Walker as a part of the X-15 program and Neil Armstrong as part of the Gemini and Apollo programs.


- Man In Space Soonest Group 2 - USA

Forrest S. Peterson, Robert A. Rushworth
Note: Rushworth was added to replace Iven Kincheloe from the 1957 selection who died in a test flight.


April 9 - NASA Group 1 - Mercury Seven - USA

Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton.
Note: The first group of astronauts selected by NASA were for Project Mercury in April 1959. All seven were military test pilots, a requirement specified by President Eisenhower to simplify the selection process. All seven eventually flew in space, although one, Deke Slayton, did not fly a Mercury mission due to a medical disqualification, instead flying later on the Apollo-Soyuz mission. The other six each flew one Mercury mission. For two of these, Scott Carpenter and John Glenn, the Mercury mission was their only flight in the Apollo era (Glenn later flew on the Space Shuttle). Three of the Mercury astronauts, Gus Grissom, Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra, also each flew a mission during the Gemini program. Alan Shepard was slated to fly Mercury 10 before its cancellation and was the original commander for the Gemini 3 mission, but did not fly due to a medical disqualification. After surgery to correct the problem, he later flew as commander of Apollo 14. He was the only Mercury astronaut to go to the Moon. Wally Schirra also flew on Apollo as commander of Apollo 7, as well as Mercury and Gemini, the only astronaut to fly on all three types of spacecraft. (Gus Grissom was scheduled to fly the first Apollo flight, but died in a fire on the launch pad during training. It is also widely assumed that had he lived, he would have been the first man to walk on the moon.) Gordon Cooper was a backup commander for Apollo 10, the "dress rehearsal" flight for the lunar landing, and would have commanded another mission (likely to have been Apollo 13, according to the crew rotation), but was bumped from the rotation after a disagreement with NASA management.
At least one member of the Mercury Seven flew on every NASA class of manned spacecraft of the 20th century, from Mercury, through Gemini and Apollo, and ending with John Glenn's flight on the STS-95 Space Shuttle mission.


March 7 - Air Force Group 1 - USSR

Ivan Anikeyev, Pavel Belyayev, Valentin Bondarenko, Valery Bykovsky, Valentin Filatyev, Yuri Gagarin, Viktor Gorbatko, Anatoli Kartashov, Yevgeny Khrunov, Vladimir Komarov, Aleksei Leonov, Grigori Nelyubov, Andrian Nikolayev, Pavel Popovich, Mars Rafikov, Georgi Shonin, Gherman Titov, Valentin Varlamov, Boris Volynov, and Dmitri Zaikin.
Note: The initial group of Soviet cosmonauts was chosen from Soviet Air Force jet pilots.

April - Dyna-Soar Group 1 - USA

Neil Armstrong, Bill Dana, Henry C. Gordon, Pete Knight, Russell L. Rogers, Milt Thompson, and James W. Wood.
Note: In April 1960, seven men were secretly chosen for the Dyna-Soar program. Armstrong had previously been part of the MISS program. Armstrong and Dana left the program in the summer of 1962.


March 12 - Female Group - USSR

Tatyana Kuznetsova, Valentina Ponomaryova, Irina Solovyova, Valentina Tereshkova, and Zhanna Yorkina.
Note: On March 12, 1962, a group of five civilian women with parachuting experience was added to the cosmonaut training program. Only Tereshkova would fly. A leading Soviet high-altitude parachutist, 20-year-old Tatyana Kuznetsova was, and remains, the youngest person ever selected to train for spaceflight.

September 17 - NASA Group 2 - The Next Nine (Also: The Nifty Nine, The New Nine) - USA

Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Charles Conrad, Jim McDivitt, Jim Lovell, Elliott See, Tom Stafford, Ed White and John Young.
Note: A second group of nine astronauts was selected by NASA in September 1962. All of this group flew missions in the Gemini program except Elliott See, who died in a flight accident while preparing for the Gemini 9 flight. All of the others also flew on Apollo, except for Ed White, who died in the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. Three of this group, McDivitt, Borman and Armstrong, made single flights in both Gemini and Apollo. Four others, Young, Lovell, Stafford and Conrad, each made two flights in Gemini and at least one flight in Apollo. Young and Lovell both made two Apollo flights. Conrad and Stafford also made second flights in Apollo spacecraft, Conrad on Skylab 2 and Stafford in Apollo-Soyuz. Six of this group, Borman, Lovell, Stafford, Young, Armstrong and Conrad, made flights to the Moon. Lovell and Young went to the Moon twice. Armstrong, Conrad, and Young walked on the Moon. McDivitt was later Apollo Program Director and became the first general officer and would have been either the prime LM Pilot or backup commander for Apollo 14, but left NASA due to a conflict between Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton. John Young also later flew on the Space Shuttle (STS-1 and STS-9) and would retire from NASA in 2004. He was both the first and last of his group to go into space.

September 19 - Dyna-Soar Group 2 - USA

Albert Crews
Note: On September 19, 1962, Crews was added to the Dyna-Soar program and the names of the six active Dyna-Soar astronauts were announced to the public.


January 10 - Air Force Group 2 - USSR

Yuri Artyukhin, Eduard Buinovski, Lev Demin, Georgi Dobrovolski, Anatoli Filipchenko, Aleksei Gubarev, Vladislav Gulyayev, Pyotr Kolodin, Eduard Kugno, Anatoli Kuklin, Aleksandr Matinchenko, Vladimir Shatalov, Lev Vorobyov, Anatoli Voronov, Vitali Zholobov

October 17 - NASA Group 3 - The Fourteen - USA

Buzz Aldrin, William Anders, Charles Bassett, Alan Bean, Eugene Cernan, Roger Chaffee, Michael Collins, Walter Cunningham, Donn Eisele, Theodore Freeman, Richard Gordon, Russell Schweickart, David Scott, Clifton Williams
Note: All of the third group (except those who died) flew on the Apollo program - Aldrin, Bean, Cernan and Scott walked on the Moon. Five of them (Aldrin, Cernan, Collins, Gordon and Scott) also flew missions during the Gemini program. Cernan would be the only astronaut from this group to fly to the Moon twice (Apollo 10 and Apollo 17), while Bean would command the Skylab 3 mission.
Bassett, Chaffee, Freeman and Williams all died before they could fly in space - Chaffee in the Apollo 1 fire, the others in plane crashes.


January 25 - Air Force Group 2 Supplemental - USSR

Georgi Beregovoi

May 26 - Voskhod Group (Medical Group 1) - USSR

Vladimir Benderov, Georgi Katys, Vasili Lazarev, Boris Polyakov, Aleksei Sorokin, Boris Yegorov

June 11 - Civilian Specialist Group 1 - USSR

Konstantin Feoktistov


June 1 - Journalist Group 1 - USSR

Yaroslav Golovanov, Yuri Letunov, Mikhail Rebrov
Note: In 1965, three civilian journalists were selected for cosmonaut training in preparation for flight on a Voskhod mission. When the Voskhod program was canceled, Golovanov and Letunov were dismissed. Rebrov, on the other hand, stayed with the space program as a journalist until 1974.

June 1 - Medical Group 2 - USSR

Yevgeni Illyin, Aleksandr Kiselyov, Yuri Senkevich
Note: These physicians were selected for the long-duration Voskhod flights, all of which were subsequently canceled to make way for the Soviet Moon program. All three were dismissed at the beginning of the following year.

June 28 - NASA Group 4 - The Scientists - USA

Owen Garriott, Edward Gibson, Duane Graveline, Joseph Kerwin, Curt Michel, Harrison Schmitt
Note: Graveline and Michel left NASA without flying in space. Schmitt walked on the Moon on Apollo 17. Garriott, Gibson and Kerwin all flew to Skylab. Garriott also flew on the Space Shuttle and was the first Amateur radio operator to operate from orbit.

October 28 - Air Force Group 3 - USSR

Boris Belousov, Vladimir Degtyarov, Anatoli Fyodorov, Yuri Glazkov, Vitali Grishchenko, Veygeni Khludeyev, Leonid Kizim, Pyotr Klimuk, Gennadi Kolesnikov, Aleksandr Kramarenko, Mikhail Lisun, Aleksandr Petrushenko, Vladimir Preobrazhensky, Valeri Rozhdestvensky, Gennadi Sarafanov, Ansar Sharafutdinov, Vasili Shcheglov, Aleksandr Skvortsov, Eduard Stepanov, Valeri Voloshin, Oleg Yakovlev, Vyacheslav Zudov
Note: This group of cosmonauts was selected for participation in five separate Soyuz programmes that the USSR was running. These included military programs (with and without the Almaz/Salyut space stations) and two lunar programs (only one of which aimed at an actual lunar landing). In the end, only the orbital program and the space station program went ahead, and few of the cosmonauts from this group ever were given the chance to fly.

November - USAF MOL Group 1 - USA

Michael J. Adams, Albert H. Crews Jr., John L. Finley, Richard E. Lawyer, Lachlan Macleay, Francis G. Neubeck, James M. Taylor, Richard H. Truly.
Note: This group was selected for training for the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Of this group, only Truly transferred to NASA after the cancellation of the MOL program and later flew on the Space Shuttle. In 1989, Truly became the first astronaut to be NASA Administrator.


April 4 - NASA Group 5 - The Original 19 - USA

Vance Brand, John S. Bull, Gerald Carr, Charles Duke, Joseph Engle, Ronald Evans, Edward Givens, Fred Haise, James Irwin, Don Lind, Jack Lousma, Ken Mattingly, Bruce McCandless II, Edgar Mitchell, William Pogue, Stuart Roosa, John Swigert, Paul Weitz, Alfred Worden.
Note: This group -- except John Bull, who left NASA due to a medical disqualification; Edward Givens, who died; Joseph Engle, who was bumped from Apollo 17 for Harrison Schmitt; and Bruce McCandless and Don Lind, who were candidates for one of three canceled Apollo flights -- flew on all Apollo flights after Apollo 12. Fred Haise and John Swigert flew on Apollo 13, the latter replacing Ken Mattingly after he was scrubbed due to measles exposure although he later flew on Apollo 16. Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa both flew on Apollo 14 with Alan Shepard, while Alfred Worden and James Irwin flew with David Scott on Apollo 15. Charles Duke, who was CAPCOM for Apollo 11, flew on Apollo 16 with John Young and Mattingly, while Ron Evans served as Command Module Pilot with Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt on Apollo 17. Paul Weitz, Jack Lousma, Gerald Carr and William Pogue flew aboard Skylab while Vance Brand, a backup Skylab astronaut, flew aboard ASTP with Thomas Stafford and Deke Slayton in 1975. Joseph Engle and Fred Haise, in 1977, commanded crews on the Space Shuttle Enterprise landing tests, with Engle, Mattingly, Bruce McCandless, and Don Lind later flying actual Space Shuttle flights. Engle, with MOL transferee Richard H. Truly, would command the last all-rookie US spaceflight crew (STS-2) in November, 1981, as current NASA policy requires that the Shuttle commander be an experienced astronaut.

May 23 - Civilian Specialist Group 2 - USSR

Sergei Anokhin, Vladimir Bugrov, Gennadi Dolgopolov, Georgi Grechko, Valeri Kubasov, Oleg Makarov, Vladislav Volkov, Aleksei Yeliseyev

June 30 - USAF MOL Group 2 - USA

Karol Bobko, Robert Crippen, Gordon Fullerton, Henry Hartsfield, Robert Overmyer.
Note: This group was selected for training for the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. All transferred to NASA after the MOL program was canceled and all five flew on the Space Shuttle as pilot astronauts.


January 31 - Civilian Specialist Group 2 Supplemental - USSR

Nikolai Rukavishnikov, Vitali Sevastyanov

May 7 - Air Force Group 4 - USSR

Vladimir Alekseyev, Vladimir Beloborodov, Mikhail Burdayev, Sergei Gaidukov, Vladimir Isakov, Vladimir Kovalyanok, Vladimir Kozelsky, Vladimir Lyakhov, Yuri Malyshev, Viktor Pisarev, Nikolai Porvatkin, Mikhail Sologub

May 22 - Academy of Sciences Group - USSR

Mars Fathulin, Rudolf Gulyayev, Ordinard Kolomitsev, Vsevolod Yegorov, Valentin Yershov

June - USAF MOL Group 3 - USA

James Abrahamson, Robert Herres, Robert H. Lawrence Jr, Donald Peterson.
Note: This group was selected for training for the US Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Lawrence was the first African-American to be chosen as an astronaut, but was killed in a jet accident before the MOL program was canceled in 1969 (had Lawrence not died, he would have been, if accepted by NASA, the first African-American astronaut for the agency, pre-dating Guion Bluford by nine years). Peterson transferred to NASA in 1969 after the MOL cancellation and would fly on the Space Shuttle. Herres would later become the first Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1987.

October 4 - NASA Group 6 - XS-11 (The Excess Eleven) - USA

Joseph Allen, Philip Chapman, Anthony England, Karl Henize, Donald Holmquest, William B. Lenoir, Anthony Llewellyn, Story Musgrave, Brian O'Leary, Robert Parker, William Thornton.
Note: This second group of scientist-astronauts were assigned as backup crew members for the last three Apollo missions or as backup crew members for Skylab. Except for Chapman, Holmquest, Llewellyn, and O'Leary, the group members eventually flew as Mission Specialists during the Space Shuttle program. With his flight on STS-61 (a Hubble Space Telescope repair flight) at the age of 58, Musgrave held the title of "oldest astronaut" prior to John Glenn's second flight.


May 27 - Civilian Specialist Group 3 - USSR

Vladimir Fartushny, Viktor Patsayev, Valeri Yazdovsky


August 14 - NASA Group 7 - USA

Karol Bobko, Robert Crippen, Gordon Fullerton, Henry Hartsfield, Robert Overmyer, Donald H. Peterson, Richard Truly.
Note: This group is all USAF Manned Orbiting Laboratory astronauts who transferred to NASA after the cancellation of the MOL program in 1969. All flew on early Space Shuttle flights. Truly, in 1989, would become the first astronaut to become NASA Administrator, holding the position until 1992.

September 10 - Civilian Engineer Group - USSR

Anatoli Demyanenko, Valeri Makrushin, Dmitri Yuyukov


April 27 - Air Force Group 5 - USSR

Anatoli Berezovoi, Aleksandr Dedkov, Vladimir Dzhanibekov, Nikolai Fefelov, Valeri Illarianov, Yuri Isaulov, Vladimir Kozlov, Leonid Popov, Yuri Romanenko


February 25 - 1971 Scientific Group - USSR

Gurgen Ivanyan

May - Shuguang Group 1970 - China

Chai Hongliang, Dong Xiaohai, Du Jincheng, Fang Guojun, Hu Zhanzi, Li Shichang, Liu Chongfu, Liu Zhongyi, Lu Xiangxiao, Ma Zizhong, Meng Senlin, Shao Zhijian, Wang Fuhe, Wang Fuquan, Wang Quanbo, Wang Rongsen, Wang Zhiyue, Yu Guilin, Zhang Ruxiang


March 22 - Civilian Specialist Group 4 - USSR

Boris Andreyev, Valentin Lebedev, Yuri Ponomaryov

March 22 - Medical Group 3 - USSR

Georgi Machinski, Valeri Polyakov, Lev Smirenny


March 27 - Civilian Specialist Group 5 - USSR

Vladimir Aksyonov, Vladimir Gevorkyan, Aleksandr Ivanchenkov, Valeri Romanov, Valery Ryumin, Gennady Strekalov


January 1 - Physician Group - USSR

Zyyadin Abuzyarov


August 23 - Air Force Group 6 - USSR

Leonid Ivanov, Leonid Kadenyuk, Nikolai Moskalenko, Sergei Protchenko, Yevgeni Saley, Anatoly Solovyev, Vladimir Titov, Vladimir Vasyutin, Alexander Volkov

November 25 - 1976 Intercosmos Group - USSR

Miroslaw Hermaszewski, Zenon Jankowski, Sigmund Jähn, Eberhard Köllner, Oldrich Pelcak, Vladimír Remek


January 16 - NASA Group 8 - TFNG (Thirty-Five New Guys) - USA

Pilots: Daniel Brandenstein, Michael Coats, Richard Covey, John Creighton, Robert Gibson, Frederick D. Gregory, Frederick Hauck, Jon McBride, Francis "Dick" Scobee, Brewster Shaw, Loren Shriver, David Walker, Donald Williams
Mission specialists: Guion Bluford, James Buchli, John Fabian, Anna Fisher, Dale Gardner, S. David Griggs, Terry Hart, Steven Hawley, Jeffrey Hoffman, Shannon Lucid, Ronald McNair, Richard Mullane, Steven Nagel, George Nelson, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Sally Ride, Rhea Seddon, Robert Stewart, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Norman Thagard, James van Hoften
Due to the long delay between the last Apollo mission and the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981, few astronauts from the older groups stayed with NASA. Thus in 1978 a new group of 35 astronauts was selected after 9 years without new astronauts, including the first female astronauts, and also the first black astronauts Guion Bluford and Frederick D. Gregory. Since then, a new group has been selected roughly every two years.
Two different astronaut groups were formed: pilots and mission specialists. Additionally the shuttle program has payload specialists who are selected for a single mission and are not part of the astronaut corps - among them were mostly scientists, also a few politicians and many international astronauts.
Of the first of the post-Apollo group, Sally Ride would become the first American woman in space (STS-7). Later, she would fly with Kathryn Sullivan on a Shuttle flight, in which Sullivan would become the first American woman to perform an EVA. Dr. Thagard, who flew with Ride on STS-7, would later become the first American to be launched on a Russian rocket (Soyuz TM-18 or "Mir-18") to the Mir space station, while Shannon Lucid would serve on the Mir for slightly over 6 months, breaking all American space duration records (both the Skylab 4 record and Thagard's) in 1996-97 until Sunita Williams (who was selected 20 years later) broke Lucid's record. Of this group, Scobee, Resnik, Onizuka, and McNair would perish in the Challenger Disaster. Of the astronauts chosen, only Anna Fisher still remains on active duty (although her tenure included an extended leave of absence from 1989 to 1996), while Robert Gibson and Rhea Seddon became the first active duty astronauts to marry (both are now retired). Although classed as inactive, Shannon Lucid continues to serve as CAPCOM to shuttle missions as of 2009. After the Challenger Disaster, Sally Ride would serve on both the Rogers Commission and the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

March 1 - 1978 Intercosmos Group - USSR

Aleksandr P. Aleksandrov, Dumitru Dediu, Jose Lopez Falcon, Bertalan Farkas, Maidarzhavyn Ganzorig, Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa, Georgi Ivanov, Bela Magyari, Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, Dumitru Prunariu

May 1 - Spacelab Payload Specialists Group 1 - ESA

Ulf Merbold, Claude Nicollier, Wubbo Ockels, Franco Malerba


April 1 - 1979 Intercosmos Group - USSR

Tuân Pham, Thanh Liem Bui

USAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer - Group 1

David M. Vidrine, Eric E. Sundberg, Malcolm W. Lydon, Paul A. Sefchek, Keith C. Wright, Gary E. Payton, John B. Watterson, Terry A. Higbee, Daryl J. Joseph, Jerry J. Rij, Michael A. Hamel, Jeffrey E. Detroye, Frank J. Casserino,


May 29 - NASA Group 9 - USA

Pilots: John Blaha, Charles Bolden, Roy Bridges, Guy Gardner, Ronald Grabe, Bryan O'Connor, Richard N. Richards, Michael J. Smith
Mission specialists: James Bagian, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Mary Cleave, Bonnie Dunbar, William Fisher, David Hilmers, David Leestma, John Lounge, Jerry Ross, Sherwood Spring, Robert Springer
International mission specialists: Claude Nicollier, Wubbo Ockels
Of this group, Franklin Chang-Diaz would become the first Hispanic-American in space, Michael Smith would perish in the Challenger Disaster, while John Blaha would fly aboard the Mir space station. Both Jerry Ross and Chang-Diaz currently jointly hold the record of number of manned spaceflights flown at seven. Bolden, the second African-American to be selected as a NASA astronaut and the first as a pilot astronaut (Bluford was selected as a mission specialist astronaut), was chosen on May 23, 2009, just one day before the conclusion of the STS-125 flight to the Hubble Space Telescope, to become the next NASA Administrator, making him the second astronaut, and the first African-American, to head the post if he is confirmed by the Senate. Boldin, by coincidence, was the pilot on the Hubble deployment flight in 1990.

1980 - 1980 CNES Group - Jean-Loup Chrétien and Patrick Baudry would become the firsts french in space. Chrétien flight with soviets in Salyut 7 in 1982, and Baudry flight with space shuttle in 1985 , mission STS-51G,in the shuttle Discovery.


December 1 - Spacelab Payload Specialists Group - Germany

Reinhard Furrer, Ernst Messerschmid

USAF Manned Spaceflight Engineer - Group 2

James B. Armor, Jr., Michael W. Booen, Livingston L. Holder, Jr., Larry D. James, Charles E. Jones, Maureen C. LaComb, Michael R. Mantz, Randy T. Odle, William A. Pailes, Craig A. Puz, Katherine E. Sparks Roberts, Jess M. Sponable, William D. Thompson, Glenn S. Yeakel,
Chuck Jones was killed on September 11, 2001, as a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 11.


December - NRC Group - Canada

Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau, Steve MacLean, Kenneth Money, Robert Thirsk, and Bjarni Tryggvason
This first Canadian astronaut group was selected by the National Research Council of Canada and were transferred to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) when it was created in 1989. All the astronauts flew on the U.S. Space Shuttle by 1997 except Kenneth Money, who resigned from CSA in 1992.


May 23 - NASA Group 10 - The Maggots - USA

Pilots: Kenneth Cameron, John Casper, Frank Culbertson, Sidney Gutierrez, Blaine Hammond, Michael McCulley, James Wetherbee
Mission specialists: James Adamson, Ellen Baker, Mark Brown, Sonny Carter, Marsha Ivins, Mark Lee, David Low, William Shepherd, Kathryn Thornton, Charles Veach
Of this group, William Shepherd would become the commander of the first International Space Station crew (Expedition 1). James Wetherbee would become the only person to command five spaceflight missions. Sonny Carter died in 1991 in a plane crash while on NASA business.


June 4 - NASA Group 11 - USA

Pilots: Michael A. Baker, Robert D. Cabana, Brian Duffy, Terence Henricks, Stephen Oswald, Stephen Thorne
Mission Specialists: Jerome Apt, Charles Gemar, Linda Godwin, Richard Hieb, Tamara Jernigan, Carl Meade, Rodolfo Neri Vela, Pierre Thuot
Note: Thorne was killed in the crash of a private airplane before his first flight assignment.

July 19 - NASA Teacher in Space Program - USA

Christa McAuliffe, Barbara Morgan
Note: McAuliffe and Morgan were selected as the prime and backup Payload Specialists for the STS-51-L mission in 1985. McAuliffe was killed in the Challenger Disaster, 73 seconds after lift-off. Morgan would later join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1998. She flew on the STS-118 mission in 2007, 21 years after Challenger.

August 1 - 1985 NASDA Group - Japan

Mamoru Mohri, Chiaki Mukai, Takao Doi


June 5 - NASA Group 12 - The GAFFers - USA

Pilots: Andrew M. Allen, Kenneth Bowersox, Curtis Brown, Kevin Chilton, Donald McMonagle, William Readdy, Kenneth Reightler
Mission specialists: Thomas Akers, Jan Davis, Michael Foale, Gregory Harbaugh, Mae Jemison, Bruce Melnick, Mario Runco, James Voss
The group's informal nickname is an acronym for "George Abbey Final Fifteen". Of this group, Mae Jemison would become the first female African-American in space, while Michael Foale would fly aboard the Mir space station. At the time of the Columbia accident in 2003, William Readdy was Associate Administrator for Space Flight and Kenneth Bowersox was commanding the Expedition 6 crew on the ISS. Chilton, after leaving NASA, became the first NASA astronaut to become a full General in the U.S. Air Force (Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford, USAF, and VADM Richard Truly, USN were three-star officers) and is currently the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

August 3 - 1987 German Group

Renate Brümmer, Hans Schlegel, Gerhard Thiele, Heike Walpot, Ulrich Walter


January 17 - NASA Group 13 - The Hairballs - USA

Pilots: Kenneth Cockrell, Eileen Collins, William G. Gregory, James Halsell, Charles Precourt, Richard Searfoss, Terrence Wilcutt
Mission specialists: Daniel Bursch, Leroy Chiao, Michael Clifford, Bernard Harris, Susan Helms, Thomas David Jones, William McArthur, James Newman, Ellen Ochoa, Ronald Sega, Nancy Currie, Donald A. Thomas, Janice Voss, Carl E. Walz, Peter Wisoff, David Wolf
Collins would go on to be the first female shuttle pilot, the first female shuttle commander, and then commander of the second "Return to Flight" mission in 2005. The "Hairballs" nickname, according to Jones in his book "Sky Walking," came after the group, the 13th NASA astronaut class, put a black cat on its group patch.

October 8 - 1990 German Group

Reinhold Ewald, Klaus-Dietrich Flade


March 31 - NASA Group 14 - The Hogs - USA

Pilots: Scott Horowitz, Brent Jett, Kevin Kregel, Kent Rominger
Mission specialists: Daniel T. Barry, Charles Brady, Catherine Coleman, Michael Gernhardt, John Grunsfeld, Wendy Lawrence, Jerry Linenger, Richard Linnehan, Michael Lopez-Alegria, Scott Parazynski, Winston Scott, Steven Smith, Joseph Tanner, Andy Thomas, Mary Weber
International mission specialists: Marc Garneau (Canada), Chris Hadfield (Canada), Maurizio Cheli (Italy), Jean-François Clervoy (France), Koichi Wakata (Japan)
Beginning with this NASA Group, non-US astronauts representing their home country's space agencies were brought in and trained alongside their NASA counterparts as full-fledged mission specialists, eligible to be assigned to any shuttle mission.

April - 1992 NASDA Group - Japan

Koichi Wakata

June - CSA Group 2 - Canada

Dafydd Williams, Julie Payette, Chris Hadfield and Michael McKay
The second Canadian astronaut group were selected by CSA. All the astronauts flew on the U.S. Space Shuttle except Michael McKay who resigned due to medical reasons.

May 15 - 1992 ESA Group - ESA

Maurizio Cheli (Italy), Jean-François Clervoy (France), Pedro Duque (Spain), Christer Fuglesang (Sweden), Marianne Merchez (Belgium), Thomas Reiter (Germany)


December 12 - NASA Group 15 - The Flying Escargot - USA

Pilots: Scott Altman, Jeffrey Ashby, Michael Bloomfield, Joe Edwards, Dominic Gorie, Rick Husband, Steven Lindsey, Pamela Melroy, Susan (Still) Kilrain, Frederick Sturckow
Mission specialists: Michael Anderson, Robert Curbeam, Kalpana Chawla, Kathryn Hire, Janet Kavandi, Edward Lu, Carlos Noriega, James Reilly, Stephen Robinson
International mission specialists: Jean-Loup Chrétien (France), Takao Doi (Japan), Michel Tognini (France), Dafydd Williams (Canada)
Husband, Anderson, and Chawla were crewmembers on the final Columbia mission. Chrétien trained as a backup Spacelab crew member in the 1980s and flew on both U.S. and Soviet/Russian spacecraft, along with being the first non-U.S. or Soviet/Russian astronaut to perform an space walk.


February 9 - Cosmonaut Group MKS/RKKE-12 - Russia

Oleg Kononenko, Oleg Kotov, Konstantin Kozeyev, Sergei Revin,Yuri Shargin

May 1 - NASA Group 16 - The Sardines - USA

Pilots: Duane Carey, Stephen Frick, Charles Hobaugh, James M. Kelly, Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly, Paul Lockhart, Christopher Loria, William McCool, Mark Polansky
Mission Specialists: David Brown, Daniel Burbank, Yvonne Cagle, Fernando Caldeiro, Charles Camarda, Laurel B. Clark, Michael Fincke, Patrick Forrester, John Herrington, Joan Higginbotham, Sandra Magnus, Michael Massimino, Richard Mastracchio, Lee Morin, Lisa Nowak, Donald Pettit, John Phillips, Paul Richards, Piers Sellers, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Daniel Tani, Rex Walheim, Peggy Whitson, Jeffrey Williams, Stephanie Wilson
International mission specialists: Pedro Duque (Spain), Christer Fuglesang (Sweden), Umberto Guidoni (Italy), Steven MacLean (Canada), Mamoru Mohri (Japan), Soichi Noguchi (Japan), Julie Payette (Canada), Philippe Perrin (France), Gerhard Thiele (Germany)
Brown, Clark, and McCool were crewmembers on the final Columbia mission. Mark and Scott Kelly are twin brothers, James Kelly is not related. Loria resigned from his shuttle mission due to injury and never flew before retiring from the astronaut corps. Nowak, who flew on STS-121, was arrested on February 5, 2007 after confronting a woman entangled in a love triangle with a fellow astronaut. She was dismissed by NASA on March 6, the first astronaut to be both grounded and dismissed (prior astronauts who were grounded due to non-medical issues usually resigned or retired).

June - NASDA Group - Japan

Soichi Noguchi

October - China Group 1996 - China

Li Qinglong, Wu Jie



Yitzhak Mayo, Ilan Ramon
Ramon was the first Israeli astronaut to fly in space and also a Payload Specialist on the final Columbia mission.


January - Chinese Group 1 - China

Chen Quan 陈全, Deng Qingming 邓清明, Fei Junlong 费俊龙, Jing Haipeng 景海鹏, Liu Boming 刘伯明, Liu Wang 刘旺, Nie Haisheng 聂海胜, Pan Zhanchun 潘占春, Yang Liwei 杨利伟, Zhai Zhigang 翟志刚, Zhang Xiaoguan 张晓光, Zhao Chuandong 赵传东

June 4 - NASA Group 17 - The Penguins - USA

Pilots: Lee Archambault, Christopher Ferguson, Kenneth Ham, Gregory C. Johnson, Gregory H. Johnson, William Oefelein, Alan Poindexter, George Zamka
Mission Specialists: Clayton Anderson, Tracy Caldwell, Gregory Chamitoff, Timothy Creamer, Michael Foreman, Michael E. Fossum, Stanley Love, Leland Melvin, Barbara Morgan, John D. Olivas, Nicholas Patrick, Garrett Reisman, Patricia Robertson, Steven Swanson, Douglas Wheelock, Sunita Williams, Neil Woodward
International Mission Specialists: Léopold Eyharts (France), Paolo Nespoli (Italy), Marcos Pontes (Brazil), Hans Schlegel (Germany), Robert Thirsk (Canada), Bjarni Tryggvason (Canada), Roberto Vittori (Italy)
Note: Group includes Barbara Morgan, who was the backup "Teacher-In-Space" for Christa McAuliffe for the ill-fated Challenger Disaster in 1986. While often referred to as an Educator Astronaut, Morgan was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist, before the Educator Astronaut Project was formed.
Patricia Robertson (née Hilliard) was killed in the crash of a private airplane before she was assigned to a Shuttle mission.

October 7 - 1998 ESA Group - ESA

Frank De Winne, Léopold Eyharts, André Kuipers, Paolo Nespoli, Hans Schlegel, Roberto Vittori


February - 1999 NASDA Group - Japan

Satoshi Furukawa, Akihiko Hoshide, Naoko Sumino


July 26 - NASA Group 18 - The Bugs - USA

Pilots: Dominic A. Antonelli, Eric A. Boe, Kevin A. Ford, Ronald J. Garan, Jr., Terry W. Virts, Jr., Barry E. Wilmore, Douglas G. Hurley
Mission Specialists: Michael R. Barratt, Robert L. Behnken, Stephen G. Bowen, B. Alvin Drew, Andrew J. Feustel, Michael T. Good, Timothy L. Kopra, K. Megan McArthur, Karen L. Nyberg, Nicole P. Stott


September 11 - SpaceShipOne - USA

Brian Binnie, Mike Melvill, Doug Shane, Peter Siebold
Note: This was the first group of commercial astronauts.


May 6 - NASA Group 19 - The Peacocks - USA

Pilots: Randolph Bresnik, James Dutton
Mission specialists: Thomas Marshburn, Christopher Cassidy, R. Shane Kimbrough, Jose Hernandez, Robert Satcher, Shannon Walker
Educator mission specialists: Joseph M. Acaba, Richard R. Arnold, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger
International mission specialists: Satoshi Furukawa (Japan), Akihiko Hoshide (Japan), Naoko Yamazaki (Japan)
Note: This group was the first to include Educator mission specialists. Based on the scheduled 2010 retirement of the Space Shuttle, this will be the last NASA astronauts to train for Shuttle flights.


March 30 - Virgin Galactic Astronaut Pilots Group - UK

Steve Johnson, Alistair Hoy, David MacKay

September 4 - Angkasawan Group - Malaysia

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Faiz Khaleed, Siva Vanajah, Mohammed Faiz Kamaluddin
Note: In 2006, four Malaysians were chosen to train for a flight to the International Space Station through the Angkasawan program. Sheikh Muszaphar became the first Malaysian in space when he flew aboard Soyuz TMA-11.

October 11 - Cosmonaut Group - Russia

Aleksandr Misurkin, Oleg Novitskiy, Aleksey Ovchinin, Maksim Ponomaryov, Sergey Ryzhikov, Yelena Serova, Nikolai Tikhonov

December 25 - Korean Astronaut Program Group

Yi So-yeon, Ko San
Note: Ko San was chosen as the prime candidate over Yi So-yeon in September 2007. Yi So-yeon became prime candidate in March 2008.


February 25 - JAXA Group - Japan

Takuya Onishi, Kimiya Yui

May 13 - CSA Group - Canada

Jeremy Hansen, David Saint-Jacques

May 20 - ESA Group - ESA

Samantha Cristoforetti (Italy), Alexander Gerst (Germany), Andreas Mogensen (Denmark), Luca Parmitano (Italy), Timothy Peake (United Kingdom), Thomas Pesquet (France)

June 29 - NASA Group 20 - Name TBD - USA

Pilots: Scott D. Tingle, Gregory R. (Reid) Wiseman
Mission Specialists: Serena M. Aunon, Jeanette J. Epps, Jack D. Fischer, Michael S. Hopkins, Kjell N. Lindgren, Kathleen (Kate) Rubins, Mark T. Vande Hei
Note: NASA selected the nine members of Group 20 from over 3,500 applicants.

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Published - July 2009

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