Sign up ×
Space Exploration Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for spacecraft operators, scientists, engineers, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Including the suborbital flight of Alan Shepard, what altitudes did the first men in space reach? I am looking for a list of maybe the first 5-10 people who reached orbit, but also the first suborbital flights around that period.

An infographic gets bonus points!

share|improve this question
What about X-15 flights? They got 'astronaut' wings for those flights. – geoffc May 15 '14 at 16:25
I considered asking about those flights as well, but wanted to keep it simple. – Stu May 15 '14 at 16:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This really depends on your definition of astronaut. The Google definition is:

a person who is trained to travel in a spacecraft.

I'd suggest that the first person ever trained to travel in a spacecraft never actually flew. Again this depends on your definition of training though I suppose.

However I fear this isn't the answer you're looking for. If you're definition is the first man into space then we're talking about Yuri Gagarin, at 324.9 km apogee.

Interestingly if you type "yuri gagarin altitude" into Google it tells you his height - either that or he flew a very low spacecraft at some point. Put together the two facts from this answer and what do you have? Nonsense!. :)

Edit: The following apogee altitudes are in kilometres. They are ordered by launch date.

Vostok 1    324.9
Mercury 3   187.5
Mercury 4   190.31
Vostok  2   244
Mercury 6   265
Mercury 7   260
Vostok  3   218
Vostok  4   211
Mercury 8   283
Mercury 9   267


share|improve this answer
haha yup, i also tried "yuri gagarin altitude". Thanks. I am looking for a list of the first n-number of men in space, maybe 5-10. Just curious how high those earlier developments got them. – Stu May 15 '14 at 15:36
stand 206,000 Yuri's on top of each other and the last one will reach his apogee. – Stu May 15 '14 at 15:39
Ha! That's either a novel way to reach space, or a terrible excuse to clone Yuri. I've added the data I believe you're looking for. – ThePlanMan May 15 '14 at 15:47
yup, that's perfect! thanks. interesting how no one reached Yuri's apogee for a long time.. – Stu May 15 '14 at 15:55
Yuri only got to 5'2" altitude? Oh man! All those wasted nights in April to celebrate Yuri's Night for nought. – David Hammen May 15 '14 at 17:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.