Norman E. Thagard Status: Retired 7/3/1943 – Nationality: American Type: Government First Flight: 6/18/1983 Last Flight: 3/14/1995 Norman Earl Thagard (born July 3, 1943), (Capt, USMC, Ret.), is an American scientist and former U.S. Marine Corps officer and naval aviator and NASA astronaut. He is the first American to ride to space on board a Russian vehicle, and can be considered the first American cosmonaut. He did on this on March 14, 1995, in the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft for the Russian Mir-18 mission. National Aeronautics and Space Administration – USA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA have many launch facilities but most are inactive. The most commonly used pad will be LC-39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.