Engineering:List of crewed spacecraft

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Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle was the first crewed spacecraft to land on the Moon (July 20, 1969).

This is a list of all crewed spacecraft types that have flown into space, including sub-orbital flights above 80 km, Space Stations that have been visited by at least one crew, and spacecraft currently planned to operate with crew in the future.[1] It does not contain spacecraft that have only flown un-crewed and have retired from service, even if they were designed for crewed flight, such as Buran, or crewed flights by spacecraft below 80 km. There is some debate concerning the height at which space is reached (the Karman Line), the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) recognise 100 km, NASA, and the USAF recognise this as 50 miles (approx 80 km) - this article choses the latter, to include the widest possible definition.[2]

Since the first crewed spaceflight of Vostok 1 in 1961 there have been 13 types of spacecraft that have made crewed flights into space - nine American, three Russian, and one Chinese. There are currently five operational crewed spacecraft, which form the first part of the list below; the eight retired spacecraft types are listed in the next section; and crewed spacecraft currently in development are listed last. Space Stations are listed beneath each appropriate section, dates of operation reflect when the first and last crews visited, not when they were launched and deorbited. There are currently two space stations in orbit around Earth, the International Space Station and the Chinese Tiangong space station.

Crewed spacecraft are designed to support human life for the human spaceflight portion of the mission. Spacecraft for human spaceflight must have a human-rating certification as fit for purpose. Crewed spacecraft must have a breathable atmosphere, pressurised (usually between 345 mbar and 1 bar (1 atmosphere)); and be temperature-regulated (usually 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F)). Crewed spacecraft include space capsules, spaceplanes, and space stations.

Comparison

Scaled comparison of crewed spacecraft, including names, manufacturers, and dates of operation
Scaled comparison of crewed spacecraft, including names, manufacturers, and dates of operation

Currently operational crewed spacecraft

Soyuz (1967)

Main page: Engineering:Soyuz (spacecraft)
Soyuz-TMA spacecraft
  • Russia n three person Earth orbital spacecraft;[3] Early versions were operated by the Soviet Union and later versions by Russia after 1991. As of December 2021, Soyuz has made 147 crewed spaceflights, including two emergency sub-orbital flights, Soyuz 18a and Soyuz MS-10. There have been two accidental spacecraft losses resulting in the deaths of four cosmonauts, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11. Soyuz is the only spacecraft to have successfully saved the lives of a crew using the rocket launch escape system, when in 1983 Soyuz T-10-1 exploded on the launchpad. This spacecraft type has flown into space more times than any other spacecraft.[4]

Shenzhou (2003)

Main page: Engineering:Shenzhou (spacecraft)
  • China three person Earth orbital spacecraft. Shenzhou is China 's first crewed spacecraft. On 15 October 2003, Yang Liwei was carried into space by Shenzhou 5 becoming China's first Taikonaut.[5] The spacecraft has gone on to fly crews to China's Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 space labs. Since Jun 2021, Shenzhou has been used as the vehicle to send crews to China's new modular Tiangong space station and back.[6] As of November 2021, Shenzhou has made 8 successful crewed spaceflights.

SpaceShipTwo (2018)

Main page: Astronomy:SpaceShipTwo

Crew Dragon (2020)

Main page: Engineering:SpaceX Dragon 2
Crew Dragon Endeavour docked with the International Space Station.
  • United States seven person Earth orbital spacecraft designed by SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station under the NASA Commercial Crew Contract (CCDev). As of November 2021 Crew Dragon has made 5 crewed spaceflights, the maximum number of crew members flown in a single mission to date is four. Crew Dragon is capable of operating beyond Earth orbit. The first crewed flight, Crew Dragon Demo-2, launched on 30 May 2020 and returned to Earth on 2 August 2020. This was the first time an American spacecraft had sent astronauts to orbit since the final Space Shuttle flight in July 2011.[15] The first operational flight of the Crew Dragon launched on 15 November 2020 with SpaceX Crew-1, making it the only reusable orbital crewed spacecraft currently in operation.

New Shepard (2021)

Main page: Astronomy:New Shepard
  • United States six person capsule mounted on a reusable vertical launch sub-orbital rocket aimed at the space tourism market. As of February 2022, there have been 19 successful flights since 2015, with 18 successful rocket booster landings, including 3 crewed flights, carrying a total of 14 passengers into space. First crewed test-flight flew on July 20, 2021.[16]
Commercial Astronaut Audrey Powers views outside their window during her flight on New Shepard.

Currently operational space stations

International Space Station (ISS) (2000)

Main page: Astronomy:International Space Station
International Space Station
  • Multinational low Earth orbit modular space station. The International Space Station is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Canadian Space Agency (CSA).[17] Uncrewed initial assembly 1998–2000. Continuously crewed since November 2000. As of June 2021, ISS has been visited by 102 crewed spacecraft (64 Soyuz, 35 Space Shuttle, and 4 Crew Dragon). The ISS is the largest space station yet constructed. Planned to operate until 2028, with a possible extension to 2030.[18]

Tiangong Space Station (2021)

  • Chinese low earth orbit modular space station. The Tianhe core module was launched on 29 April 2021. The first crewed flight Shenzhou 12 with 3 astronauts arrived at the station in June 2021. The 3 module space station is set to be completed with 2 laboratory modules scheduled to be launched and joined with the core module in 2022.

Former crewed spacecraft

Vostok (1961–1963)

Main page: Engineering:Vostok (spacecraft)

Mercury (1961–1963)

Main page: Astronomy:Project Mercury
  • United States single-person Earth orbital spacecraft 6 flights (including 2 sub-orbital).[22] Mercury was the United States first crewed spacecraft. On 5 May 1961 Mercury-Redstone 3 carried the first American, Alan Shepard, into space on a sub-orbital flight. On 20 February 1962, Mercury-Atlas 6 carried the first American, John Glenn, into Earth orbit.[23]

X-15 (1962–1968)

Main page: Engineering:North American X-15
  • United States single seat, air-launched sub-orbital spaceplane; two X-15 flights above the 100 km Kármán line occurred in 1963, an additional 11 flights between 1962 and 1968 reached altitudes between 80–100 km which were recognised as spaceflights by U.S. authorities.[24]

Voskhod (1964–1965)

Main page: Engineering:Voskhod (spacecraft)
  • Soviet three person Vostok derivative made 2 flights.[25] On 18 March 1965, Alexei Leonov performed the first spacewalk in history, from Voskhod 2.[26]

Gemini (1965–1966)

Main page: Astronomy:Project Gemini

Apollo (1968–1975)

Main page: Engineering:Apollo (spacecraft)
Apollo 17 CSM orbiting the Moon.

SpaceShipOne (2004)

Main page: Engineering:SpaceShipOne

Space Shuttle (1981–2011)

Main page: Engineering:Space Shuttle

Former space stations

Salyut (1971–1986)

Almaz (1974–1977)

Main page: Astronomy:Almaz
  • Soviet military reconnaissance low Earth orbit space stations. Badged as Salyut 3 (1 crew 1974), and Salyut 5 (2 crews 1976-1977), as disinformation. Both now deorbited.[35]

Skylab (1973–1974)

Main page: Engineering:Skylab
  • United States low Earth orbit space station. First United States space station. Visited by 3 crews 1973-1974. It deorbited in 1979.[36]

Mir (1986–2000)

Main page: Astronomy:Mir
  • Soviet/Russia n low Earth orbit modular space station. The first modular space station in history. Twenty-eight crews 1986-2000. Mir was visited by 29 Soyuz and 7 Space Shuttle missions. Mir was deorbited in 2001.[37]

Tiangong program (2012–2016)

  • China low Earth orbit space laboratories. Tiangong 1 was China's first space station; launched in 2011, visited by 2 crews 2012-2013, deorbited in 2018. Tiangong 2 was launched in 2016, visited by 1 crew in 2016, deorbited in 2019. Both vehicles were single-module laboratories, precursors to the modular Tiangong space station, which is planned to have modules derived from Tiangong 1 and 2.

Crewed spacecraft in development

Starliner

Main page: Engineering:Boeing Starliner
Starliner performing a pad abort test in 2019

New unnamed Chinese spacecraft

  • China replacement for Shenzhou is a six-person lunar capable spacecraft. An uncrewed flight took place on 5 May 2020, with a crewed flight possible by 2021. Initial flights will be to the new Chinese space station, lunar missions are expected in the 2030s.[38]

Starship

Main page: Engineering:SpaceX Starship
  • Planned to be a fully reusable interplanetary spacecraft capable of carrying 100 passengers or cargo. Primarily designed for Mars missions it is to be capable of landing on all rocky planets or moons in the Solar System except Venus.[39] For Earth launches Starship will need a two-stage configuration with the addition of a powerful first stage booster called Super-Heavy. Flights from all other planetary bodies will not require a first stage booster. Starship will require refuelling in Earth orbit to enable it to reach other Solar System destinations, so there will be at least three distinct Crew, Cargo and Tanker variants [40][41] Uncrewed test flights commenced in 2020 from Boca Chica, Texas. A private crewed mission to slingshot around the Moon, the dearMoon project, is slated for 2023.[42] A custom crewed lunar version of Starship—Starship HLS—was selected in 2021 from three companies that developed design proposals for NASA's Human Landing System for NASA's Artemis program, with a view to land one uncrewed mission plus one crewed mission on the Moon no earlier than 2024.[43][44]

Orion

Main page: Engineering:Orion (spacecraft)

Gaganyaan

Main page: Engineering:Gaganyaan
  • A three-person Earth orbital spacecraft intended to be the first crewed spacecraft of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. Gaganyaan will be capable of operating at low Earth orbit for up to 7 days. The upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capabilities. Its first crewed flight is planned for 2023[45] and four Indian astronauts have begun flight training in Russia.[46]

Dream Chaser

Main page: Engineering:Dream Chaser
  • United States seven person Earth orbital space plane.[47] An uncrewed cargo version is scheduled to fly in space in 2022, and a crewed version is planned to fly by 2025.[48]

Orel

Main page: Engineering:Orel (spacecraft)
  • Russia n four person lunar-capable spacecraft to enable the retirement of Soyuz. The first crewed flight is planned for 2025.[49]

SpaceShip III

Main page: Astronomy:SpaceShip III
  • American eight person suborbital spaceplane for use in space tourism and tended research flights.

Crewed spacecraft (planned)

  • China reusable Lift-body Launcher - China plans to launch its reusable spaceplane in 2021, according to a statement from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.[50]
  • China winged rocket - the plane may one day fly up passengers to the edge of space. Two versions: one should be able to fly five people to an altitude of 100 kilometres; other - could fly 20 people to 130 kilometres. Payload launches in 2021.[51]
  • RSSC - a Russia n reusable sub-orbital space complex, currently being developed by a private company KosmoKurs. First flight planned for 2021.[52][53]
  • Japan ese sub-orbital rocket plane currently being developed by PD AeroSpace. First flight planned for 2021 and fully operational by 2024.[54]
  • Selena - NPO Aerospace Technologies (НПО «Авиационно-космические технологии») suborbital, space yacht.[55]
  • Integrated Lander Vehicle - a planned NASA-contracted, Blue Origin lead, Human Landing System to be used on and around the Moon for NASA's Artemis program. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Laboratory are also developing key features of the vehicle. Was not selected for HLS program.
  • Dynetics HLS, a planned NASA-contracted Human Landing System to be used on and around the Moon for NASA's Artemis program being developed by Dynetics and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). Was not selected for HLS program.
  • Copenhagen Suborbitals Tycho Brahe Micro Spacecraft (MSC) - a non-profit, all volunteer project that aims to launch the first crewed amateur spacecraft into suborbital space. The project is being financed entirely through crowd-funding. If successful, this project will also make Denmark one of the few countries in the world that has a form of independent crewed spaceflight capabilities.
  • Thunderstar - a 12-metre crewed rocket for one person.[56]

Space stations in development

  • Bigelow Commercial Space Station or Space Complex Alpha, proposed private space habitat scheduled for 2021 initial deployment although this is currently on hold as a result of Bigelow temporarily laying off their entire staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Bigelow test module is currently installed on the International Space Station.[57]
    Mockup of Bigelow's Space Station
  • Gateway - A NASA driven, under construction, international crewed space station orbiting the Moon to be assembled by commercial launch vehicles from 2024.[58]
  • Russian Orbital Service Station is Russia's planned Next Generation space station, designed and intended to replace the Russian Orbital Segment of the International Space Station.
  • Axiom Station is a planned private space station by the company Axiom Space. The initial modules are planned to be launched and docked with the international segment of the ISS before breaking off and forming a new, free-flying space station before the ISS is deorbited in the late 2020s.
  • Starlab Space Station is an in-development, private space station being developed by the company Nanoracks in cooperation with Lockheed Martin. This free-flying space station was announced by the company on October 21, 2021, with a planned launch date of 2027.[59]
  • Orbital Reef Station is a planned, private space station currently in development by Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corporation. This modular space station is being designed for commercial and space tourism missions and uses. Preliminary plans were unveiled on October 25, 2021 with a planned launch in the late 2020s.[60][61]

Cancelled crewed spacecraft and space stations

  • MOL, crewed space station operated by the United States Armed Forces derived from the NASA's Gemini spacecraft.[62] Cancelled in 1969.
  • LK, crewed Lunar lander for the Soviet crewed lunar programs. Several LK landers were flown in space with no crew.[63] Cancelled in 1976 with the rest of the program.
  • CSTS, a proposed collaborative effort between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos. Originally designed as an answer to the Orion program of NASA, the project was eventually cancelled and most of the designs were incorporated into Russia's next generation crewed spacecraft: Orel (spacecraft).
  • OPSEK was a proposed successor to Russia's involvement in the International Space Station Programme.[64] Cancelled in 2017 by Roscosmos.

See also

References

Citations

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Sources

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