The difference between astronaut and cosmonaut
An astronaut and a cosmonaut are personnel who take extensive training that will qualify them to take part in space flight programs. The nature of the job in both cases is very similar but there are certain aspects in which differences are evident.
An astronaut is the pilot of a spacecraft. He/She also has training in the servicing of the craft in case something unforeseen happens. In this way, an astronaut has to be able to do two things – command a spaceship and repair any equipment problems that may arise. In the training that an astronaut receives, he/she has an in-depth understanding of life in space and the relation between humans and Outer Space.
The role of a cosmonaut is different in that this person is trained in how to operate when outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Herein lies the main difference between the two terms.
The word astronaut is often used to refer to anyone who travels out into space and everyone who is part of a space program, whether it is a tourist program or not, can be called an astronaut. Cosmonaut is a specific term used by the Russian Federal Space Agency to refer to anyone who works outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
Therefore, one can say that an astronaut automatically becomes a cosmonaut once he/she leaves the atmosphere of the Earth. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to ever venture out into space. The first cosmonaut to walk in space was Alexei Leonov. Valeri Polyakov was the first person to spend two years in space and was therefore the first cosmonaut to complete a mission.
The term cosmonaut is used in Russia and the word astronaut is used in the US. It could be said that cosmonaut, which is a combination of the Russian word “kosmos” and the Greek word “nautes”. This words translate to mean space sailor.