Astronaut vs Cosmonaut
Astronaut and Cosmonaut are two terms that have the same meaning in the sense that both refer to personnel that are trained properly to become part of a space flight program. Though they are similar as far as the nature of the job is concerned, they show some difference in certain aspects.
An astronaut is given the task of piloting a spacecraft or servicing. In short it can be said that an astronaut should adept in commanding a spacecraft and also in servicing like a crew member. As astronaut has a sufficient understanding of life in space and human being’s relation to space.
On the other hand a cosmonaut has the main task of performing outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the only main difference between astronaut and cosmonaut.
In the present days the word ‘astronaut’ is used to refer to anybody that goes to space. Everybody who is a part of space tourism can be called an astronaut. On the other hand cosmonaut is the term used by the Russian Federal Space Agency for such of those personnel that carry their tasks outside the atmosphere of the planet Earth.
In simple words it can be said that an astronaut becomes a cosmonaut once he lands himself in space. Thus Yuri Gagarin has the honor of the first ever to be in space. The first ever cosmonaut who did the space walk was Alexei Leonov. It s interesting to note that Valeri Polyakov spent almost two years in space to conduct some research. He was the first ever cosmonaut on a mission.
As a matter of fact the word cosmonaut comes from the Russian word ‘kosmos’, meaning ‘space’ and the Greek word ‘nautes’, which means ‘sailor’. It is often said that cosmonaut is the Russian way of calling an astronaut.