An astronaut is a person trained, equipped, and deployed by a human spaceflight program to serve as a commander or crew member aboard a spacecraft. Although generally reserved for professional space travelers, the term is sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists. "Astronaut" technically applies to all human space travelers regardless of nationality. However, astronauts fielded by Russia or the Soviet Union are typically known instead as cosmonauts. Comparatively recent developments in crewed spaceflight made by China have led to the rise of the term taikonaut, although its use is somewhat informal and its origin is unclear. In China, the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps astronauts and their foreign counterparts are all officially called hángtiānyuán. Since 1961, 600 astronauts have flown in space.

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