Professor Asif Siddiqui was featured in an October 7, 2020, National Geographic article, “How the ‘right stuff’ to be an astronaut has changed over the years.”
Prof. Siddiqi is quoted:
“They’re green,” says Fordham University history professor Asif Siddiqi of the first group of cosmonauts. “You essentially have the space program mold and shape them.”
The author Jay Bennett continues, “As the U.S. and U.S.S.R. gained experience flying people in space, they began to attempt more complicated missions, such as docking in orbit and sending astronauts outside their spacecraft. In the astronaut selection process, the two space programs put more emphasis on engineering education, and the Soviet program raised its standards for flight time, making the second group of astronauts older and more experienced than the first, Siddiqui says. Buzz Aldrin, selected in the third group of NASA astronauts in 1963, was the first person to join the corps with a doctoral degree (in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).”
You can follow Prof. Asif Siddiqi on Twitter @historyasif.