Blog | Scouts in space


Neil Armstrong Scout

We take a look at Scouts who have explored our solar system

Scouting and space have some impressive links. It’s an often-cited fact that 11 of the 12 men who have walked on the moon were all former Scouts. In fact, more than two-thirds of all current and former astronauts have been involved in Scouting.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that Scouts and space exploration share such an affinity. After all, being a Scout fosters a spirit of adventure and a passion for discovering new things, while also teaching initiative, leadership and teamwork – the perfect attributes for an astronaut.

This week we’ll be celebrating World Space Week with a daily blog, giving you the chance to learn more about the links between Scouts and space, check out what UK Scouts have been up to and get some activity ideas and inspiration to explore the final frontier for yourself…

First up, here are some stellar space facts related to Scout astronauts. Did you know…

Stellar space facts

  • 320 pilots and scientists have been selected by NASA since the start of the US space program in 1959 – and an amazing 181 of them were in Scouting.
  • Of the 24 men to travel to the moon on the Apollo 8 and Apollo 10 to 17 missions, 20 were Scouts, including 11 of the 12 moonwalkers, and all three members of the crew of Apollo 13. Three Scout astronauts have travelled to the moon twice.
  • Neil Armstrong was a Scout. He was the first man to walk on the moon and was crew commander of the successful Apollo 11 mission. He even carried a World Scout Membership Badge with him on the mission.
  • He later donated the badge to the World Organization of the Scout Movement along with a personally signed citation, printed on NASA letterhead paper (see image above). It reads: ‘I certify that this World Scout Badge was carried to the moon on man's first lunar landing, Apollo XI, July 20, 1969.’
  • Pushing the boundaries has tragically come at a cost for world Scouting. All three of the astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 fire, four of the seven who died in the space shuttle Challenger launch explosion, and five of the seven who died in the space shuttle Columbia re-entry explosion were Scouts.
  • In the USA, Boy Scouts who earn the prestigious Eagle Scout Award and Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award can receive a congratulatory letter and certificate of recognition from NASA commemorating their distinguished achievement.
  • The Scout Association’s Astronautics Activity Badge is sponsored by the UK Space Agency, the executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom that is responsible for the United Kingdom's civil space programme.


Find out more

Scouts and the UK Space Agency

Astronauts with Scouting experience

World Scouting salutes Neil Armstrong

Astronauts and the Boy Scouts of America factsheet [PDF]

Astronautics is just one of an amazing array of activities open to Scouts. Find out more of what we do. 

Read more

World Space Week blog | Day 2: Up, up and away

World Space Week blog | Day 3: Rocket power

World Space Week blog | Day 4: Look to the stars

World Space Week blog | Day 5: Out-of-this-world activities



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