List of Crewed Spacecraft
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List of Crewed Spacecraft

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 be pressurised, usually between 345 mbar and 1 bar (1 atmosphere); temperature regulated, usually 20-24 °C; and have a breathable atmosphere.

Crewed spacecraft can be space capsules, spaceplanes, and space stations.

This is a list of past, present, and future spacecraft designed for human spaceflight.


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-TMA spacecraft

Soyuz (1967)

  • Russian - three person Earth orbital spacecraft;[1] Early versions were operated by the Soviet Union and later versions by Russia after 1991. As of October 2020 Soyuz has made 144 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)

  • 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)

  • 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] On 13 December 2018 SpaceShipTwo flew to an altitude of 82.7 km which is recognised as space by the FAA, NASA, and the USAF (although not the FAI)[10] 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). On board were astronaut Dave Mackay, Michael Masucci and Beth Moses.

Crew Dragon (2020)

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. As of November 2020 Crew Dragon has made 2 crewed spaceflights. 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.[11] The first operational flight of the Crew Dragon launched on 15 November 2020 with Crew-1, making it the only reusable orbital crewed spacecraft currently in operation.

Currently operational space stations

International Space Station (2000)

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, ESA, and CSA.[12] Uncrewed initial assembly 1998-2000. Continuously crewed since November 2000. As of May 2020 ISS has been visited by 98 crewed spacecraft (62 Soyuz, 35 Space Shuttle, and 1 Crew Dragon). The ISS is the largest space station yet constructed. Planned to operate until 2024, with a possible extension to 2028.[13]

Former crewed spacecraft

Vostok (1961-1963)

Mercury (1961-1963)

Apollo 17 CSM orbiting the Moon.
  • United States single-person Earth orbital spacecraft[17] 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.[18]

X-15 (1962-1968)

  • 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 US authorities.[19]

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 humans to walk on the Moon.[24] The Apollo Spacecraft comprised

Space Shuttle (1981-2011)

  • United States eight person Earth orbital spacecraft; first orbit-capable spaceplane; first reusable orbital spacecraft. Largest cargo capacity to orbit. 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.[27]

SpaceShipOne (2004)

  • United States single seat, air-launched sub-orbital spaceplane; three flights above the Kármán line occurred in 2004.[28]

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.[31]

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.[30]

Mir (1986-2000)

  • 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.[32]

Tiangong 1 (2012-2013)

  • Chinese low Earth orbit space station. China's first space station launched in 2011. Visited by two crews. It was deorbited in 2018.

Tiangong 2 (2016)

  • Chinese low Earth orbit space station. China's second space station. Launched in 2016. Visited by one crew. It was deorbited in 2019.

Crewed spacecraft in development

New Shepard

  • United States six person capsule mounted on a reusable vertical launch sub-orbital rocket aimed at the space tourism market. As of January 2021 there have been 14 successful uncrewed flights since 2015, with 13 successful rocket booster landings. First crewed test-flight expected in 2021.[33]


Starliner performing a pad abort test in 2019
  • United States seven person Earth orbital spacecraft designed to transport astronauts to the International Space Station under the NASA Commercial Crew Program. Following several technical problems on the first uncrewed test flight in December 2019, a second uncrewed test flight will be flown in March 2021, with the first crewed flight expected in summer 2021.[34]

New unnamed Chinese spacecraft

  • Chinese 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.[35]


  • Planned to be a fully reusable inter-planetary 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.[36] 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 three distinct Crew, Cargo and Tanker variants [37][38] Uncrewed test flights commenced in 2020 from Boca Chica, Texas. A private crewed mission to slingshot around the Moon, the dearMoon project, is planned for 2023.[39] A version of Starship is being designed as one of three candidates for NASA's Human Landing System for NASA's Artemis Program, with a view to land on the Moon by 2024.[40]



  • 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 2022 and four Indian astronauts have begun flight training in Russia.[41]

Dream Chaser

  • United States seven person Earth orbital space plane[42] An uncrewed cargo version is scheduled to fly in space in 2021, and a crewed version is planned to fly by 2025.[43]


  • Russian four person lunar-capable spacecraft to enable the retirement of Soyuz. The first crewed flight is planned for 2025.[44]

Integrated Lander Vehicle

Dynetics Human Landing System

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.[45]
  • 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.[46]
  • RSSC - a Russian reusable sub-orbital space complex, currently being developed by a private company KosmoKurs. First flight planned for 2021.[47][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" ( «?- ?») suborbital, space yacht [50]
  • Thunderstar - a 12-metre crewed rocket for one person.[51]

Space stations in development

Mockup of Bigelow's Space Station

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 .
  4. ^ Chang, Kenneth; Schwartz, John (31 October 2014). "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes in New Setback for Commercial Spaceflight". New York Times. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Foust, Jeff (2014-10-31). "SpaceShipTwo Destroyed in Fatal Test Flight Accident". Space News. Retrieved .
  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 2014.
  8. ^ Klotz, Irene (2014-11-03). "SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash". Discovery News. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane crashes". October 31, 2014.
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  11. ^
  12. ^ "Human Spaceflight and Exploration--European Participating States". European Space Agency (ESA). 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  13. ^ "International Space Station: Facts, History & Tracking".
  14. ^ Gatland, pp.109-115
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-07. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space".
  17. ^ Gatland, pp.148, 151-165
  18. ^ Loff, Sarah (6 April 2015). "About Project Mercury".
  19. ^ Long, Tony (2007-07-19). "July 19, 1963: Cracking the 100-Kilometer-High Barrier ... in a Plane". Advance Publications. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ Gatland, pp.131-113
  21. ^ "The First Spacewalk".
  22. ^ Gatland, pp.166-185, 266-275
  23. ^ "The First U.S. Spacewalk - Gemini 4".
  24. ^ "What Was the Apollo Program?". 24 February 2015.
  25. ^ Gatland, pp.190, 278-280
  26. ^ Gatland, pp.191, 207, 283, 284
  27. ^ Taylor, Alan. "The History of the Space Shuttle".
  28. ^ "SpaceShipOne: The First Private Spacecraft - The Most Amazing Flying Machines Ever".
  29. ^ Gatland, pp.229-246
  30. ^ a b "Space Station - The Station - Russian Space History".
  31. ^ "History of the NASA Skylab, America's first space station".
  32. ^ "Mir Space Station".
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Lawler, Richard (20 November 2018). "SpaceX BFR has a new name: Starship". Engadget. Retrieved 2018.
  37. ^ Boyle, Alan (19 November 2018). "Goodbye, BFR ... hello, Starship: Elon Musk gives a classic name to his Mars spaceship". GeekWire. Retrieved 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).
  38. ^ "Starship". SpaceX. Retrieved 2019.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Burghardt, Thomas. "NASA Selects Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX Human Landers for Artemis". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved 2020.
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  42. ^ Ferster, Warren (2011-04-18). "NASA Announces CCDev 2 Awards". Imaginova Corp. Retrieved 2011.
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  45. ^ "China will launch a reusable spaceplane in 2020 -".
  46. ^ "China plans world's biggest spaceplane to carry 20 tourists".
  47. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  48. ^ " - ?".
  49. ^ Chandran, Nyshka (12 April 2017). "SpaceX doesn't scare Asia's space players".
  50. ^ [1]
  51. ^ "Starchaser Industries Commercial Space Access o The sky is not the limit!". 2017-09-11. Retrieved .
  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".


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