- NASA astronauts tend to hail from Ohio, and especially Cleveland.
- The state’s Midwestern twang may even be the reason that Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong was misheard when he uttered “one small step for a man,” 50 years ago today.
- Other astronaut hotspots include New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Here’s the full list of US cities that have birthed 3 or more NASA astronauts.
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Only 355 people, alive or dead, have ever been able to say “I’m a NASA astronaut.”
NASA has 38 astronauts on deck ready to suit up right now in the astronaut corps, and another 317 Americans have either retired or died.
The hard-to-get gig isn’t just about being world famous and sitting in rocketships, though. Astronauts also have to stay in serious shape, serve as space repair crews, and become laboratory scientists (and lab rats) while they’re swimming among the stars.
And for whatever reason, no other city churns out American astronauts quite like Cleveland, Ohio. According to a 2018 roundup of astronaut bios from job site AdView, Cleveland has produced at least eight NASA astronauts, more than any other American city.
It does make some sense. Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio, it’s the same state where the Wright Brothers got their start building some of the very first gliders, and it’s where Apollo 11 crewmember Neil Armstrong – the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969 – was born in the tiny town of Wapakoneta (a place which can probably be blamed for his “one small step furrah man” mix-up on the moon: Midwesterners like Armstrong sometimes smush their words together, making the word “a” almost disappear in their mouth.)
Ohio as a whole fares surprisingly well at producing astronauts. At least 21 NASA astronauts have come from the state, according to the AdView count.
The only US states that have produced more astronauts are New York (29 astronauts), California (27 astronauts), and Texas (22 astronauts). Houston, Texas is the home of NASA mission control.
Take a look at some of the cities that have spit out the most astronauts, including Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia:
Cities that produce the most astronauts:
New York, New York (11)
Cleveland, Ohio (8)
Boston, Massachusetts (7)
Chicago, Illinois (7)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6)
Baltimore, Maryland (5)
Miami, Florida (4)
San Diego, California (4)
Washington D.C. (4)
Los Angeles, California (4)
Dallas, Texas (3)
Denver, Colorado (3)
Grand Rapids, Michigan (3)
Indianapolis, Indiana (3)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (3)
San Antonio, Texas (3)
Syracuse, New York (3)