The 15 most common first names among astronauts

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astronaut names

As a parent, it’s only natural to have lofty aspirations for your child. Naming them after an astronaut is a great way to encourage them to dream big, as these skilled space travelers have literally been out of this world. And with NASA announcing the relaunch of its space program, we wanted to provide new parents names inspired by these brave adventurers.

Of course, your child doesn’t have to aspire to be an astronaut, as simply naming her after someone who wasn’t afraid of the unknown is sure to serve as lifelong inspiration.

Since Russian Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the Earth in 1961, hundreds of highly intelligent, brave astronauts have dared to travel where no man — or woman — has gone before. Compiling the names of all of these space travelers would be quite a challenge, so the genealogy experts at MooseRoots took the liberty of doing it for you. They gathered the names of 572 professionally trained astronauts from Wikipedia to find the total number of astronauts with each first name.

You might be surprised to find how popular certain names have traditionally been among spacemen and spacewomen. In addition to providing the astronaut count, we have origin information and popularity data from the Social Security Administration for each name.

Note: The most common female name is Kathryn (ranked at #21) with 3.

#15. Sergei

 

Astronaut Count: 6

Sergei is a Russian male name that was borne by one of the country’s most popular saints, St. Sergei of Radonezh. This name is very unusual in the U.S., as only 11 male newborns were given the name in 2014, earning it a ranking of 7,414.

#14. Steven

 

Astronaut Count: 6

Steven is a common name with English origin, but it has seen a steady decline in popularity over the last decade. It had an average rank of 11 during the 1950s, but dropped to No. 144 in 2014, with just 2,778 baby boys named Steven.

#13. Donald

 

Astronaut Count: 7

Donald is the Anglicized version of the Gaelic name Domhnall. It has English and Scottish origin and was most popular during the 1930s, when it had an average rank of seven. It has been trending significantly down in the U.S. over the last decade and ranked No. 418 for baby boys born in 2014.

#12. David

 

Astronaut Count: 8

David is a male name with Biblical roots — borne by the great King David of Israel — that means “darling.” It has enjoyed steady popularity in the U.S. for decades, ranking No. 18 in 2014, with 12,078 baby boys given the name.

In the past decade, David has also made the top 200 list in Belgium, Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Germany, Denmark, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden.

#11. Thomas

 

Astronaut Count: 8

Thomas has always been popular with Christians, as it was the name of one of Christ’s 12 apostles. The Greek word for “twin” is a common male name both internationally and domestically, ranking No. 54 for all baby boys born in the U.S. in 2014. The name was most popular in the 1940s, when it had an average rank of eight.

#10. Aleksandr

 

Astronaut Count: 9

The name Aleksandr is of Russian origin and is another form of Alexander, which means “man, to defend, warrior.” While it is unusual in the U.S., the name is currently trending up, ranking No. 2,217 in 2014.

#9. Richard

 

Astronaut Count: 10

Richard is a male name of Czech, English, French and German origin that means “hardy, power, strong.” In 2014, it ranked No. 141 for baby boys in the U.S., with 2,857 named Richard. The name was most popular in the 1930s, when it had an average rank of five.

#8. Vladimir

 

Astronaut Count: 10

The name Vladimir means “famous, great, rule.” It is currently an unusual name for men in the U.S., but has been trending up over the last decade, ranking No. 1,136 in 2014.

Vladimir has Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Russian, Serbian, Slavic, Slovak, Slovenian and Ukrainian origin.

#7. Charles

 

Astronaut Count: 11

Charles is a common male name with English and French origin that means “free man.” In 2014, it was the 51st most popular name for baby boys in the U.S., with 7,269 given the name.

Over the past decade the name has also made the top 200 list in Belgium, England and Wales, Scotland, New Zealand and Northern Ireland.

#6. Yuri

 

Astronaut Count: 11

The name Yuri is the usual Russian form of George. While it is an unusual male name in the U.S., it has been trending up over the last decade. In 2014, 61 baby boys were named Yuri, earning it a ranking of 2,215.

#5. William

 

Astronaut Count: 12

William means “desire, helmet, protection, will.” This common name of English origin was the fifth most popular name for baby boys born in the U.S. during 2014, with a total of 16,687 named William.

Since 2012, the name has also made the top 200 list in Belgium, Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

#4. John

 

Astronaut Count: 14

The name John is of English, Hebrew and Greek origin and held a high significance in early Christianity. Several key Biblical figures, saints, popes, royals and presidents have been named John.

While it has been trending slightly down in the U.S. over the last decade, the name is still very popular, ranking No. 26 for all male newborns in 2014.

#3. Robert

 

Astronaut Count: 14

Robert means “bright, fame, famous” and has French, German, Germanic and Romanian origin. It was the most popular male name during the 1920s, but has seen a slow decline in popularity. In 2014, it held the rank of 61, with 6,572 baby boys named Robert.

#2. James

 

Astronaut Count: 15

James is a name with Biblical roots and has English and Hebrew origin. It is considered a royal name in Britain and has seen steady popularity in the U.S., serving as the ninth most popular name for baby boys in 2014.

In recent years, it has also appeared on the top 200 list in Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Sweden.

#1. Michael

 

Astronaut Count: 19

The name Michael is derived from the Bible and means “Who is like God.” It is of English origin and is very common in the U.S. and many other countries. Despite a slow decline in popularity over the last decade, Michael was still the seventh most popular name for U.S. baby boys in 2014, with 15,323 given the name.