What is a space traveller? Arguably, everyone is. In terms of earthlings, there have been many: animal, vegetable and mineral… As of June 31, 2012, a total of 528 people from 38 countries are known to have gone into space according to the FAI guideline. Of these, 55 were women, which translates to about 10%.
Here is a list of eleven of those women:
Valentina Tereshkova (Soviet Union); Helen Sharman (UK); Sally Ride (USA); Roberta Bondar (Canada); Chiaki Mukai (Japan); Yelena Kondakova (Russia); Claudie Haigneré (France); Kalpana Chawla; Anousheh Ansari (Iran/USA); YI So-yeon; Lin Yang (China)
(in chronological order, first woman from each nationality. The complete list is here.)
Our most recent traveller, LinYang, is also the youngest, if I’m not mistaken:
(Original picture via Wikipedia, by TKSTEVEN, Creative Commons).
From NASA’s site:
“55 different women total including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and foreign nationals have flown in space.
6 different female cosmonauts have flown on the Soviet/Russian program
1 female astronaut or taikonaut has flown in the Chinese program
48 different women have flown with NASA. 43 of these were Americans.”
How about animals? The first ones were fruitflies! Their adventure as flight-bounders started with the Montgolfier brothers. Here is a short story all about it:)
Other animals: monkeys, mice, dogs, at least one rabbit (Marfusa), frogs, chimps, at least one female cat (Felixette), tortoises, bull frogs, nematodes, fish, spiders, stick insects (as eggs), newts, chicken embryos (eggs), quail eggs, brine shrimp, crickets, snails, carp, jellyfish, medaka, oyster toadfish, sea urchins, gypsy moth eggs, jellyfish, silkworms, carpenter bees, harvester ants, butterflies, roundworms… (Full list here.) What a great picture book that would make.
Most important of all: (at least aka StarBear):
“In September, 2007, during the European Space Agency‘s FOTON-M3 mission, tardigrades, also known as water-bears, were able to survive 10 days of exposure to open-space with only their natural protection.” (Wikipedia)
The Ingredients for Life on Earth and in Space
- Russia Gets Second Prospective Female Cosmonaut (spacefellowship.com)
- Space Station Astronauts Land Safely On Earth (forbes.com)
- Dog space suits for the earliest canine cosmonauts (io9.com)
- Medical college in Kalpana Chawla’s memory in Karnal (vancouverdesi.com)