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An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft. Although generally reserved for professional space travelers, the terms are sometimes applied to anyone who travels into space, including scientists, politicians, journalists, and tourists.
Starting in the 1950s up to 2002, astronauts were sponsored and trained exclusively by governments, either by the military or by civilian space agencies. With the suborbital flight of the privately funded SpaceShipOne in 2004, a new category of astronaut was created: the commercial astronaut.
^ NASA (2006). "Astronaut Fact Book" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
^ Marie MacKay (2005). "Former astronaut visits USU". The Utah Statesman. Retrieved October 4, 2007.