01 September 2006
From The Oxford English Dictionary: One who travels in space, i.e. beyond the earth’s atmosphere. 1929 Jnl. Brit. Astro. Assoc. June 331 That first obstacle encountered by the would-be ‘Astronaut’, terrestrial gravitation. 1954 N. Y. Times 4 Apr. The escape velocity from the earth is 25,000 miles an hour, yet astronauts talk glibly of achieving it, though they are fully aware of the heat that will be generated. 1961 Times 6 May President Kennedy spoke to Commander Alan Shepard by radiotelephone a few minutes after the astronaut was delivered by helicopter to the deck of the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain.