from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who travels in space for the Chinese space program; a Chinese astronaut.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The term was coined on 19 May 1998 by Chiew Lee Yih (Mandarin: (trad.) / (simpl.) Zhào Lǐyù) from Malaysia, who used it first in newsgroups. Almost simultaneously, Chen Lan coined it for use in the Western media based on Mandarin (太空 tàikōng), space. (Source: Mail & Guardian) This follows the pattern established by the terms astronaut and cosmonaut (which share the -naut suffix) for having different terms for space workers denoting country of origin.


  • Among the Xinhua articles is one celebrating the spread of the neologism "taikonaut" ...

    Boing Boing

  • 2003: First "taikonaut" — from "taikong," the Chinese word for space — is sent into orbit.

    Orbital Paths of U.S., China Set to Diverge

  • "taikonaut" to walk in space during the Shenzhou VII mission, China's third manned space flight, which is slated to blast off Thursday night.

    COSMOS magazine - The science of everything

  • By 2020, according to the plan, a taikonaut could land on the moon.

    Mistrust stalls U.S.-China space cooperation

  • Why not do an intergovernmental barter in return for taikonaut visits?

    Bush Says No to Space Cooperation With China - Update - NASA Watch

  • I'm still drinking dehydrated taikonaut water so I can look period-correct while 被擦掉-ing my future bike.

    Pimping Your Ride: Making Money With Your Bike

  • Pioneering taikonaut Yang Liwei is competing with 13 others for the two-man orbital flight of the Shenzhou VI, which Chinese officials have said could last five to seven days.


  • Officials have recently backpedaled from goals of putting a taikonaut the Chinese version of an astronaut or cosmonaut on the moon by 2020, but analysts believe that is still a pressing ambition.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • The succesful launching of the Shenzhou V, the Divine Vessel, on 15 October 2003, with taikonaut Yang Liwei on board, marked a giant leap forward in the Chinese space program that saw its origins in the 1960s.

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • MILES O'BRIEN, SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, according to that same Chinese news agency, they have seen the parachute and they have communicated with the so-called taikonaut.

    CNN Transcript Oct 15, 2003


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  • I like this note in the Wikipedia discussion of the term:

    "In official Chinese-language texts, the terms yǔhángyuán (宇航员, 'sailing personnel in universe') for cosmonaut and hángtiānyuán (航天员, 'sailing personnel in sky') for astronaut have long been used."

    June 17, 2012

  • "The government is clearly hoping to reap a major public relations coup, both internationally and domestically, with the flight of the Shenzhou V. If successful, the mission will make China the third nation to have sent an astronaut, or taikonaut here, into space."

    The New York Times, China to Launch Manned Spacecraft Next Week, by Jim Yardley, October 10, 2003

    September 26, 2008