5 Main Differences Between an Astronaut and A Cosmonaut?5 min read

The last few years have marked an incredible development of airplanes and aircraft for space missions. Nations and Aerospace Companies have tried to develop and build incredible aircraft that would help us explore the infinite power of space and the beauty of the other planets. 

According to uk essay writing services, there are a lot of jobs that are related to space or universe exploration and that began to be more and more popular. You can be an astronomer and study the planets and other bodies that are part of our universe. You can be an aerospace engineer and contribute to building strong and durable spacecraft. Or, if you want to have a bigger impact, you can be an astronaut or cosmonaut, as you will have space missions and spacewalks. 

But which is the difference between an astronaut and a cosmonaut? Experts from dissertation service and essay writing service argue that there are five main differences between an astronaut and a cosmonaut. Let’s see them!

1. Who Are Using the Terms?

Not everyone is using these terms, so this is the first difference. Both terms are derived from the Greek word “nautes” which means “sailor”. The Russians have combined it with the Russian word “kosmo”, while astronaut (“astro” means star) was derived from aeronaut, a person who air travels and it is used by the US and most of the world. 

2. Training and Certification

Maybe the most important difference between an astronaut and a cosmonaut is the training entity. Cosmonauts are trained by Russia and astronauts are trained by NASA, JAXA, ESA or CSA. Russia has a long history of space exploration and it has some records too. For example, the Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has the world record for the longest cumulative time in space of 879 days over five missions. Also, Russian cosmonaut, Valeri Polyakov holds the record for the longest single stay in space of 437 days

It seems that there are differences in the operational philosophies, but the terms pretty much define the same thing. Russia and NASA (or other training entities) have slight differences when we talk about the knowledge and skill set necessary for becoming a cosmonaut or astronaut. But they all need to have knowledge about science, mathematics, human relationships, and the universe. 

3. Qualifications

Even though the terms describe pretty much the same thing, there are slight but important differences when we look at the qualifications needed to become an astronaut or cosmonaut. The term “astronaut” is used by Americans, so the skills required to become an astronaut are different from the ones that Russia is considering. To enroll for service as an astronaut you need to be maximum 40 years old and be no taller than 180 centimeters. To be a cosmonaut, you need to be no older than 30 years old and no taller than 170 centimeters. 

Also, both jobs require a minimum number of hours of flight time. To be an astronaut, you need to have at least 1500 hours of flight time, while to be a cosmonaut requires a minimum of 900 hours. Both astronauts and cosmonauts need to have military experience. Cosmonauts need to graduate from the Soviet Air Force, while astronauts need to graduate from the US test pilot school. 

4. Studies 

Among the most important qualifications astronauts and cosmonauts have is knowledge. They will travel to space, will spacewalk and try to solve problems with other spacecraft or satellites. They need to be prepared to solve every problem they encounter. 

So, to be an astronaut you need to have studied a Bachelor of Science. This combines with the training from the US test pilot school. On the other hand, cosmonauts are military officers that must have graduated from the Soviet Air Force. They are recruited from IMBP (the Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology), the Russian Air Force and RSC Energiya, the leading rocket-space enterprise in Russia. Both astronauts and cosmonauts undergo complex psychological tests before enrolling. 

5. Pride

Russia has many records regarding space travel. Russia was the first country to send a man in space. It also has the record of the most days spent in space, both on individual and cumulative levels. Because Russia was the first country to hold a man in space, it was the one who came to define the term. Being a cosmonaut is a thing of pride, as every cosmonaut that is rewarded for its work, wears a mantle once worn by Yuri Gagarin (the first human to journey in outer space)

And because each country has its pride, NASA started using the term astronaut to define the same thing as cosmonaut does. They will not use each other’s country terminology. And it would also be considered disrespectful to ask Russians to use the term astronaut because they have a long history of records and achievements. 


The terms astronaut and cosmonaut describe pretty much the same thing: a person who is traveling in outer space. There are small differences in qualifications and the knowledge needed to enroll as an astronaut or cosmonaut. Russia is using the term cosmonaut, while the US and most of the world is using the term astronaut.

The training they need is similar, and also the work they need to perform. According to the best essay writing service that offers custom essay help, the terms describe the pride associated with specific countries, because Russia holds many records and it was the first to send a human in outer space. No matter the naming, all people who prepare for space missions are worthy to admire. 


Michael Gorman is a highly skilled freelance paper writer and proofreader in the UK who currently works at college essay writers. He is a skilled and experienced paper writer who is interested in everyday development. He writes various blog posts and discovers new aspects of human existence every day. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or check his Twitter.

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