With several new commerical space trips coming on the agenda, particularly the SpaceX Inspiration 4 and the new Virgin Galactic “Spaceship 3”, I’d like to discuss the use of the word “Astronaut” (and I guess “Cosmonaut”) would fit too.
Wikipedia defines Astronaut as :
An astronaut (from the Greek “astron” (ἄστρον), meaning “star”, and “nautes” (ναύτης), meaning “sailor”) is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a human spaceflight program to serve as a commander or crew member aboard a spacecraft.
I’m glad that people are getting to live their dreams of going to the stars. However I think it’s time we distinguish someone who paid for their seat or are a “space tourist” with someone like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin or Chris Hadfield who make their careers going into space. So, to differientiate I propose the following:
An astrotaxida (from the Greek “astron” (ἄστρον), meaning “star”, and “taxida” (ταξίδια), meaning “wanderer”) is a non-crew person traveling via a human spaceflight program.
I’m not trying to diminish anyone who goes to space, but I do think we should have unique terms for those who work among the stars. We distinguish between airplane pilots and airplane passengers. Let’s move that distinction to the space realm.
I would love to hear your thoughts, find me on Twitter at @n4bfr or Reddit at /u/N4BFR.