Three rookie astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission for Nasa just launched to space for the first time. They’ve tipped the number of people to have gone to space to over 600, according to a tally by Nasa.
Matthias Maurer, Crew-3’s mission specialist and a German astronaut representing the European Space Agency, will officially be considered the 600th person in space. The superlative was determined by the crew’s order of mission specialist designations: Raja Chari, a Nasa astronaut and Crew-3’s commander, will be No 599; Maurer has the designation of mission specialist 1, and Kayla Barron, another Nasa astronaut, has been designated mission specialist 2. “I actually offered the place to Kayla,” Maurer said during a news conference, “because I think she and I will be together, like number 600.”
“I was the lucky one that got the round number, but, OK, we will all have fun in space,” he quipped.
The tally began in 1961, when Russia’s Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth. Less than a month later, Alan Shepard became the second person, and the first US astronaut, to go to space.
© The New York Times News Service 2021