Now that China is sending people in to space. What should they be called. The Russians chose to call Yuri Gagarin a cosmonaut. The Americans called Alan Shepard an astronaut so what have the Chinese chosen? Officially Yang will be China's first Yuhangyuan (which means space navigator) but a Singapore-based website was quick to coin the term taikonaut (derived from the word taikong , meaning space).
|FIRST WHAT?||NAME||COUNTRY||DATE||FLIGHT DURATION||QUOTE|
|Cosmonaut||Yuri Gagarin||USSR||1961||12 hours||At the end of his historic flight Gagarin landed in a field still wearing his space suit and helmet. He was approached by two farm workers who asked him "Have you come from outer space?" to which a smiling Gagarin replied "Yes,yes, would you believe it, I certainly have"|
|Astronaut||Alan Shepard||USA||1961||15 minutes||The Atlas rocket was designed by the USA to carry astronauts into space. Alan Shepard and John Glenn were invited to come and watch the test firing of one of the Atlas rockets. The test failed when the rocket exploded. "I sure hope they fix that" was Shepard's dry remark to Glenn.|
|Taikonaut||Yang Liwei||China||2003||21 hours||The Chinese Space Agency wanted a pilot with icy cool nerves to handle the pressure of being their first man in space. As the Shenzhou V spacecraft hurtled into space mission control asked taikonaut Yang Liwei for a status check. " I feel good, see you tomorrow" came the cool reply. Looks like they picked the right guy!|