List of crewed spacecraft

This is a list of past, present, and future spacecraft designed for human spaceflight. It includes space capsules, spaceplanes, and space stations.


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

Current crewed spacecraft

Soyuz (1967–present)

  • Russian - three person Earth orbital spacecraft;[1] Early versions were operated by the Soviet Union and later versions by Russia after 1991. As of September 2019 Soyuz has made 142 crewed spaceflights, including two emergency sub-orbital flights, Soyuz 18a and Soyuz MS-10. There have been 2 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, including the Space Shuttle.[2]

Shenzhou (2003–present)

  • Chinese three person Earth orbital spacecraft. 6 flights as of April 2018. Shenzhou is China's first crewed spacecraft. On 13 October 2003 Yang Liwei was carried into space by Shenzhou 5 becoming China's first Taikonaut.[3]

SpaceShipTwo (2018-present)

  • United States 8 person air-launched suborbital space plane operated by Virgin Galactic aimed at the space tourism market. On 31 October 2014 during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, broke up in flight and crashed in the Mojave desert.[4][5][6][7] One pilot was killed[8][9] The second SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, VSS Unity, was unveiled on 19 February 2016.[10][11] On 13 December 2018 SpaceShipTwo flew to an alttude of 82.7 km which is recognised as space by the FAA, NASA, and the USAF (although not the FAI)[12] This was the first time an American spacecraft had sent astronauts to space since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011.
  • VSS Unity flew to space again on 22 February 2019 to an apogee of 89.9 km (55.97 miles). Onboard was astronaut Dave Mackay, Michael Masucci and Beth Moses. This again met the United States definition of space, though not the FAI's. Despite this, because it is a US spaceflight launched from the United States to its definition of space, it is indeed a spaceflight.

Current space stations

International Space Station (2000–present)

  • Multinational low earth orbit modular space station. The International Space Station is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.[13] Uncrewed initial assembly 1998-2000. Continuously crewed since November 2000. As of March 2019 ISS has been visited by 94 crewed spacecraft (59 Soyuz and 35 Space Shuttle). The ISS is the largest space station yet constructed. Planned to operate until 2024, with a possible extension to 2028.[14]

Former crewed spacecraft

Vostok (1961–1963)

Mercury (1961–1963)

  • United States single-person Earth orbital spacecraft[18] 6 flights (including 2 sub-orbital). 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.[19]

X-15 (1962-1968)

  • United States single seat, air-launched 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 US authorities.[20]

Voskhod (1964–1965)

Gemini (1965–1966)

Apollo (1968-1975)

  • United States three person Lunar capable spacecraft. 15 flights; including nine lunar missions (with six lunar landings). It was the Apollo spacecraft that enabled America to win the Space Race. In December 1968 Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to orbit the Moon. On 21 July 1969 Neil Armstrong, the Commander of Apollo 11, and Buzz Aldrin became the first persons to walk on the Moon.[25] The Apollo Spacecraft comprised

Space Shuttle (1981–2011)

  • United States eight person Earth orbital spacecraft; first orbit-capable spaceplane; first partially reusable orbital spacecraft. 135 spaceflights were made in five shuttles; Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour, of which two (Challenger and Columbia) were accidentally destroyed resulting in the deaths of 14 astronauts during missions STS-51-L and STS-107.[28]

SpaceShipOne (2004)

  • United States single seat, air-launched spaceplane; three flights above the Kármán line occurred in 2004.[29]

Former space stations

Salyut series (1971–1991)

Skylab (1973–1974)

  • United States low Earth orbit space station. First United States space station. Three crews. De-orbited 1979.[32]

Almaz series (1973–1977)

  • Soviet military reconnaissance low Earth orbit space stations. Badged as Salyut 3 (1974-1975), and Salyut 5 (1976-1977) as disinformation. Both now de-orbited.[31]

Mir (1986–2001)

  • Soviet/Russian low Earth orbit modular space station. The first modular space station in history. 28 crews. Mir was visited by 29 Soyuz and 7 Space Shuttle missions, and was de-orbited in 2001.[33]

Tiangong 1 (2011–2018)

  • Chinese low Earth orbit space station. China's first space station.

Tiangong 2 (2016–2019)

  • Chinese low Earth orbit space station. China's second space station. It was deorbited on 19 July 2019.

Crewed spacecraft in development

Blue Origin's New Shepard

  • United States six person capsule mounted on a reusable vertical launch sub-orbital rocket aimed at the space tourism market. As of December 2019 there have been 12 successful uncrewed flights since 2015, with 11 successful rocket booster landings. First crewed test-flight expected in 2020 [34]

SpaceX's Dragon 2

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner

SpaceX Starship

NASA's Orion

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser

  • United States seven person Earth orbital space plane[42]An uncrewed cargo version is scheduled to fly in space in 2021, and work continues on a crewed version.[43]


  • 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 December 2021.

Crewed spacecraft - planned

  • Chinese reusable Lift-body Launcher - China plans to launch its reusable spaceplane in 2020, according to a statement from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.[44]
  • Chinese 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 2020.[45]
  • RSSC - a Russian reusable sub-orbital space complex, currently being developed by a private company KosmoKurs. First flight planned for 2021.[46][47]
  • Orel - a Russian four person Lunar capable spacecraft. First crewed flight planned for 2024.[48]
  • Japanese sub-orbital rocket plane currently being developed by PD Aerospace. First flight planned for 2020 and fully operational by 2023.[49]
  • Selena - NPO "Aerospace Technologies" (НПО «Авиационно-космические технологии») suborbital, space yacht [50]
  • Skylon - a UK unpiloted reusable space plane with possible passenger module (engine in development).[51]
  • Thunderstar - a 12-metre crewed rocket for one person.[52]

Space stations in development

See also


  1. Gatland, pp.148-165
  2. Hollingham, Richard. "Soyuz: The Soviet space survivor".
  3. "Shenzhou Manned Spacecraft Programme". Aerospace Technology. 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  4. Chang, Kenneth; Schwartz, John (31 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes in New Setback for Commercial Spaceflight". New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  5. Foust, Jeff (2014-10-31). "SpaceShipTwo Destroyed in Fatal Test Flight Accident". Space News. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
  6. "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test". October 31, 2014.
  7. Durden, Rick (31 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes". AVweb. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  8. Klotz, Irene (2014-11-03). "SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash". Discovery News. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
  9. "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane crashes". October 31, 2014.
  10. "New SpaceShipTwo Rollout Friday". AVweb. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. "Virgin Galactic unveils new space tourism rocket plane". CBC News. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  13. "Human Spaceflight and Exploration—European Participating States". European Space Agency (ESA). 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  14. "International Space Station: Facts, History & Tracking".
  15. Gatland, pp.109-115
  16. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2018-04-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space".
  18. Gatland, pp.148, 151-165
  19. Loff, Sarah (6 April 2015). "About Project Mercury".
  20. Long, Tony (2007-07-19). "July 19, 1963: Cracking the 100-Kilometer-High Barrier ... in a Plane". Advance Publications. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  21. Gatland, pp.131-113
  22. "The First Spacewalk".
  23. Gatland, pp.166-185, 266-275
  24. "The First U.S. Spacewalk - Gemini 4".
  25. "What Was the Apollo Program?". 24 February 2015.
  26. Gatland, pp.190, 278-280
  27. Gatland, pp.191, 207, 283, 284
  28. Taylor, Alan. "The History of the Space Shuttle".
  29. "SpaceShipOne: The First Private Spacecraft - The Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever".
  30. Gatland, pp.229-246
  31. "Space Station - The Station - Russian Space History".
  32. "History of the NASA Skylab, America's first space station".
  33. "Mir Space Station".
  37. Berger, Eric (29 September 2019). "Elon Musk, Man of Steel, reveals his stainless Starship". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  38. Lawler, Richard (20 November 2018). "SpaceX BFR has a new name: Starship". Engadget. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  39. Boyle, Alan (19 November 2018). "Goodbye, BFR … hello, Starship: Elon Musk gives a classic name to his Mars spaceship". GeekWire. Retrieved 22 November 2018. Starship is the spaceship/upper stage & Super Heavy is the rocket booster needed to escape Earth’s deep gravity well (not needed for other planets or moons)
  40. "Starship". SpaceX. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  41. "Orion Quick Facts" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  42. Ferster, Warren (2011-04-18). "NASA Announces CCDev 2 Awards". Imaginova Corp. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  44. "China will launch a reusable spaceplane in 2020 –".
  45. "China plans world's biggest spaceplane to carry 20 tourists".
  46. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved 2016-11-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  47. "КосмоКурс - Главная".
  48. "Russia's next-generation spacecraft aims for 2023 crew launch".
  49. Chandran, Nyshka (12 April 2017). "SpaceX doesn't scare Asia's space players".
  50. "Who will win the battle of cheap space, spaceplanes or super rockets?".
  51. "Starchaser Industries Commercial Space Access • The sky is not the limit!". 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  52. "China readying for space station era: Yang Liwei - Xinhua -".
  53. "A new company plans to launch huge, inflatable spacecraft into orbit — and sell reservations to countries and tourists".
  54. Warner, Cheryl (13 February 2018). "NASA's Lunar Outpost will Extend Human Presence in Deep Space".
  55. "Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex, OPSEK".


  • Gatland, Kenneth (1976). Manned Spacecraft (2nd ed.). New York City: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 0-02-542820-9.
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