600 people went to space after the launch of the NASA Crew-3

Three novice astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission for NASA have just launched into space for the first time. They put the number o...


Three novice astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission for NASA have just launched into space for the first time. They put the number of people who have been to space at over 600, according to a count kept by NASA.

Matthias Maurer, Crew-3 mission specialist and German astronaut representing the European Space Agency, will be officially considered the 600th person in space. The superlative was determined by the order of the crew’s mission specialist designations: Raja Chari, a NASA astronaut and commander of Crew-3, will be # 599; Mr. Maurer has the designation Mission Specialist 1, and Kayla Barron, another NASA astronaut, has been designated Mission Specialist 2.

“I actually offered the place to Kayla,” Mr Maurer said at a press conference, “because I think she and I will be together, like number 600.”

“I was lucky I got the number round, but, okay, we’re all going to have fun in space,” he joked.

The count started in 1961, when Yuri Gagarin, a Russian astronaut, became the first human to orbit the Earth. Less than a month later, Alan Shepard became the second person and the first American astronaut to go into space.

The number of people traveling to space has increased in recent years, and the pace is only expected to accelerate as a market for private spaceflight missions with wealthy tourists takes shape. The tally includes brief suborbital flights, such as the launch of Blue Origin in July which carried Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and his former CEO, at the edge of space with three other passengers.

Between Blue Origin, Galactic Virgo, EspaceX and maybe even balloons that travel at suborbital altitudes, the number of options for wealthy people to travel to space is increasing. Chinese space station Tiangong, which is under construction in orbit and is slated for completion in 2022, could open the orbit to even more astronauts.

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