The various world space agencies' crewed missions have had a long series of firsts, Yuri Gagarin's first being the grandparent of them all.

Crewed space missions are recognized worldwide as barrier-breakers or at least symbols thereof.

Without regard to any other specifier beyond handedness, I'd like to ask:

Question: Who was the first left-handed primate on the Moon? Who was the first in space?

Related: Are there examples of spaceflight equipment being redesigned to remove right hand bias? (To make it less difficult to use left-handed)

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Regarding the first primate in space, that honor might go to a monkey. The first (rhesus) monkey into space was Albert I, in 1948, launched via a V-2. Two Philippines monkeys were launched in 1952 & a squirrel monkey in 1958 & Ham the chimp in 1961. The handedness of chimps is still being debated. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Oct 20, 2021 at 7:02
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Pretty sure there have not yet been any non-human primates on the Moon... $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2021 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


You might want to look at How many astronauts are left handed?

Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, is left handed.

I think the first lefty in space was Walter Schirra (#9 to space)

In the Apollo era, 1 in 4 astronauts were left-handed. This is much higher than the average left-handedness which is about 1 in 11

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    $\begingroup$ That's an interesting statistic. Although there were so few Apollo-era astronauts that it might not be meaningful. If it persisted through the shuttle era and also with cosmonauts it might be interesting to look for a causal relationship. $\endgroup$
    – Barmar
    Oct 20, 2021 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! fyi I've just added a bounty to How exactly does a magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster generate thrust?, that Scientific American article looked extremely helpful and a great basis for an answer! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 21, 2021 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Barmar, it's statistically meaningful at the 95% confidence level. Out of a group of 36 Mercury/Gemini/Apollo astronauts, finding nine left-handers is well above the expected range. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Oct 21, 2021 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Mark Thanks. Statistics has never been my strong suit. $\endgroup$
    – Barmar
    Oct 21, 2021 at 20:41

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