4 words for a space traveller

Each great space power crafted its own word to design a space traveler. It was a conscious choice, showing a geopolitical positioning.

First the Americans send astronauts (1928), that is to say, star sailors. The USSR forges its own word in 1961, космонавт or cosmonauts, the universe sailor. The Europeans in 1962 are space sailors. By crafting a third word, the Europeans avoided siding with one block or the other in the midst of the Cold War. In reality, today spationauts tend to be called astronauts, a sign probably of the superiority of the American version of the space dream.

Since 2003, China is a space power, which thus got equipped with a new word: taikonaut in English or tàikōngrén (太空人) in Chinese, or the man of the great void. When the Americans focus on the objective, the point to reach, namely the star, the Russians and the Europeans envision the territory to be explored and the Chinese think in term of the presence or lack of matter. The language reveals a certain outlook on the world.

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