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Mind your language

Are cosmonauts really Russian?

17 February 2024

9:00 AM

17 February 2024

9:00 AM

Oleg Kononenko has been in space since 15 September last year and has just broken the cumulative record for time in orbit of 879 days. Being Russian he is referred to as a cosmonaut. Americans are astronauts.

It seems odd that Russians can decide what English-speakers call their spacemen. It seemed odder to me that, when the Soviet Union promoted atheism, it should focus on the orderly universe that cosmos suggests.

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