Astronaut is a person who pilots a spacecraft or works in space. In Russia and the other former Soviet republics, such people are called cosmonauts. Astronauts and cosmonauts operate spacecraft and space stations, launch and recapture satellites, and conduct engineering, medical, and scientific experiments in space. The word astronaut comes from Greek words that mean sailor among the stars. Cosmonaut means sailor of the universe.
Most American astronauts work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They live and train at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston (Reeko’s been there!).
On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., became the first people to set foot on the moon. They landed the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle and performed scientific experiments. Other astronauts made five more moon landings from 1969 to 1972. They brought back lunar dust and rock and left five scientific stations on the moon.