Number of Space Travelers

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Figure 1: Michio_Kaku_(Wikipedia)

Figure 1: Michio Kaku (Wikipedia)

I was watching physicist Michio Kaku on CSPAN last Sunday night talking about his new book The Future of Humanity. I like watching authors speak on CSPAN because they provide an extended interview format for authors. In this interview, the interviewer Brian Lamb mentioned a factoid as part of a question that I thought was worth investigating.

You say in your book that 544 humans who have been in space and that 18 of those have died. What do those numbers mean to you?

Table 1: Space Travelers By Country.
CountryCount
United States333
Soviet Union73
Russia47
Japan12
China11
France10
Germany10
Canada9
Italy7
United Kingdom5
Netherlands3
Australia2
Belgium2
India2
Hungary2
Bulgaria2
Kazakhstan2
South Africa1
Costa Rica1
Sweden1
Israel1
Saudi Arabia1
Czechoslovakia1
Austria1
Denmark1
Syria1
Afghanistan1
Vietnam1
Malaysia1
Slovakia1
Mexico1
South Korea1
Mongolia1
Spain1
East Germany1
Switzerland1
Norway1
Ukraine1
Poland1
Cuba1
Romania1
Iran1
Brazil1
Grand Total558

Of course, the number of people who have been in space is changing with every flight into orbit, and this type of fact is guaranteed to be obsolete immediately after publication. I thought I would investigate the number of people who have been in space and how many have died as part of their mission. These numbers were easier to verify than I would have expected.

The Wikipedia has a page that contains a comprehensive list of the people who have been in space. Using Power Query, I downloaded this list, did some routine data clean up, and generated the data summary shown in Table 1. As of this date, 558 people have gone into space. You can see that the US has put the most people into space, which is most likely because the space shuttle could carry more people than the Soyuz spacecraft.

The Wikipedia also has a page with a list of those who have died on space missions, not all of which reached space. As with Table 1, I downloaded the data, cleaned it up, and generated Tables 2 and 3. Table 2 contains the name of those who died going on space missions, and Table 3 shows the number of space fatalities by vehicle. For those who are interested, my Excel workbook and data are here.

As an aside, I watched a TV show years ago that was hosted by Dr. Kaku in which he was the guest of a US Army unit. The US Army drafted Dr. Kaku during the Vietnam War, which ended before he completed his infantry training. During his stay with this unit, he demonstrated some physics while wearing a US Army uniform. You could tell that both Dr. Kaku and the soldiers enjoyed his visit. He seems like a good man.

Table 2: Space Fatalities. Table 3: Space Fatalities By Vehicle.
FatalitiesMission
Vladimir KomarovSoyuz 1
Georgy DobrovolskySoyuz 11
Viktor PatsayevSoyuz 11
Vladislav VolkovSoyuz 11
Christa McAuliffeChallenger
Dick ScobeeChallenger
Ellison OnizukaChallenger
Gregory JarvisChallenger
Judith ResnikChallenger
Michael J. SmithChallenger
Ronald McNairChallenger
David M. BrownColumbia
Ilan RamonColumbia
Laurel ClarkColumbia
Kalpana ChawlaColumbia
Michael P. AndersonColumbia
Rick D. HusbandColumbia
William C. McCoolColumbia
MissionNumber
Soyuz 11
Soyuz 113
Shuttle Challenger7
Shuttle Columbia7
Grand Total18

 

 
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