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Astronauts Who Died in Flight

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Since the beginning of manned space flight, 18 astronauts have died during actual missions. Given the hundreds of manned flights that have been attempted, it's amazing that so few astronauts and cosmonauts have died in space. Every precaution is taken when launching a mission with a human crew, but mistakes do happen - and can have devastating consequences.

Most space flight deaths take place either during the launch phase or re-entry. This is the most dangerous time, when huge amounts of fuel are burned, or a craft comes back into the atmosphere. The two worst disasters in space flight history, the destruction of the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, both took place in these critical times - leading to most of the astronauts who died in space on this list.

Here are all 18 of the people who died in space - the deaths that have occurred on manned space missions.
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