The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Astronauts and the College Mindset List for the Class of 2016

Every year Beloit College publishes a fun list that tries to capture the mindset of that year’s incoming freshling class. Beloit just published the list for the college class of 2016. The list usually gets a fair amount of media attention and this year is no exception. The list touches on lots of topics technology, movie and music stars that the students do (and do not) know, television series and politicians. I sometimes call it the “List Designed to Make Everyone Feel Old”.

One of the items on the list this year caught my eye.

“72. Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.”

Really? That caught my attention since most ISS astronauts average about six months or so on a typical mission. There have been a couple of really long duration space flights but those were mostly back in the days of Mir. So of course I had to look up the list of spaceflight records and it turns out only two people spent more than one year on single space flight (and two who JUST missed it). The longest spaceflights are

  1. Valeri Polyakov, January 8th, 1994 to March 22, 1995 (437 days)
  2. Sergei Aydeyev, August 13, 1998 to August 28, 1999 (379 days)
  3. Vladmi Titov and Musa Manarov, December 21, 1987 to December 21, 1988 (officially listted at 364.9 days)

That’s it. The entire list of people who have spent a year in space (give or take  day) on a single spaceflight and two of them were well before the class of 2016 was born. Since most of them were born in 1994, that means they were about five when Aydevev landed and ended his year in space. I seriously doubt many members of the class of 2016 remember his landing (and I bet most adults in the United States don’t remember it!)

For cumulative time in space, it looks like there are 27 people who have spent at least one year in space spread out over multiple missions, seven of whom are still listed as active astronauts. I don’t count these since Beloit’s list specifies a single spaceflight.

In this case, I would say that got it exactly backwards. For the class of 2016, they cannot remember the last time a human spent well over a year in a single spaceflight (save for a few of them with eidetic memory!)

August 22, 2012 - Posted by | Media, Space Flight | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. That was really nice to know Rob…

    Comment by abir777 | August 23, 2012 | Reply


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