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List of human spaceflight programs

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Title: List of human spaceflight programs  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of astronauts by year of selection, Human spaceflight, List of Constellation missions, Project Mercury, Lists of spacecraft
Collection: Human Spaceflight, Lists of Spacecraft, Spaceflight Timelines
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of human spaceflight programs

This is a list of human spaceflight programs, including successful programs, programs that were canceled, and programs planned for the future. The criteria for what constitutes human spaceflight vary. The FAI defines spaceflight as any flight over 100 kilometers (62 mi). However, in the United States, professional, military, and commercial astronauts who travel above an altitude of 80 kilometers (50 mi) are awarded astronaut wings. This article follows the FAI definition of spaceflight.

Until the 21st century, human spaceflight programs were sponsored exclusively by governments, either by the military or by civilian space agencies. However, with the launch of the privately funded SpaceShipOne in 2005, a new category of human spaceflight programs – commercial human spaceflight – arrived.

Programs in this article are sorted by the years when their development started.


  • Successful programs 1
    • North American X-15 (USA, 1954-1968) 1.1
    • Vostok programme (USSR, 1956–1964) 1.2
    • Project Mercury (USA, 1959-1963) 1.3
    • Project Apollo (USA, 1961-1975) 1.4
    • Voskhod programme (USSR, 1964–1965) 1.5
    • Project Gemini (USA, 1965–1966) 1.6
    • Soyuz programme (USSR/Russia, 1967–ongoing) 1.7
    • Space Shuttle (USA, 1972-2011) 1.8
    • Shenzhou program (China, 1992-ongoing) 1.9
    • SpaceShipOne (USA 2001-2004) 1.10
  • Space station programs 2
    • Salyut stations (USSR, 1971-1986) 2.1
    • Skylab (USA, 1973-1974) 2.2
    • Mir (USSR/Russia, 1986-2000) 2.3
    • International Space Station (USA, Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada, 2000-ongoing) 2.4
    • Tiangong program (China, 2012-ongoing) 2.5
    • OPSEK (Russia, planned 2024) 2.6
    • Commercial space stations (planned) 2.7
  • Space programs currently in development 3
    • Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (UK, 2004-ongoing) 3.1
    • Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser (USA, 2004-ongoing) 3.2
    • Blue Origin New Shepard (USA, 2006-ongoing) 3.3
    • Indian human spaceflight program (India, 2007-ongoing) 3.4
    • XCOR Lynx (USA, 2008-ongoing) 3.5
    • Prospective Piloted Transport System (Rus) (Russia, 2008-ongoing) 3.6
    • Space Launch System (USA, 2010 - ongoing) 3.7
    • Commercial Crew Development (USA, 2010-ongoing) 3.8
      • SpaceX Dragon V2 (USA, 2010-ongoing) 3.8.1
      • Boeing CST-100 Starliner (USA, 2010-ongoing) 3.8.2
    • Iranian manned space program (Iran, 2015-ongoing) 3.9
  • Programs canceled before manned launch 4
    • Man In Space Soonest (USA, 1957–1958) 4.1
    • Dyna-Soar (USA, 1957–1963) 4.2
    • Manned Orbital Development System (USA, 1962–1963) 4.3
    • Soviet Orbital Station 1 (Soviet Union 1962-1965) 4.4
    • Manned Orbiting Laboratory (USA, 1963-1969) 4.5
    • Spiral program (Soviet Union, 1965 - 1976 - end of 1970s) 4.6
    • Buran program (Soviet Union, 1976-1993) 4.7
    • Shuguang (Project 714) program (China, 1968-1972) 4.8
    • Piloted FSW program (China, 1978-1980) 4.9
    • Zarya (Russia, 1986-1989) 4.10
    • MAKS (Russia, 1988-1991) 4.11
    • Kliper (Russia, 2004-2007) 4.12
    • Rockwell X-30 (NASP) (USA, 1986-1993) 4.13
    • Venturestar (USA, 1996-2001) 4.14
    • Hermes (ESA, 1987-1993) 4.15
    • Hopper (ESA, 2002?-ongoing?) 4.16
    • Sanger-2 (Germany, 1985) 4.17
    • HOTOL (UK, 1986-1988) 4.18
    • HOPE-X (Japan, 1980s-2003) 4.19
    • Fuji (Japan, 2001) 4.20
    • Kankoh-maru (Japan, 1995) 4.21
    • Project Constellation (USA, 2004-2010) 4.22
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Successful programs

North American X-15 (USA, 1954-1968)

X-15 in flight

The North American X-15 rocket-powered aircraft was part of the X-series of experimental aircraft, initiated with the Bell X-1, that were made for the USAF, NASA, and the USN. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the early 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. It currently holds the world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft.[1]

During the X-15 program, 13 of the flights (by eight pilots) met the USAF spaceflight criteria by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80.47 km. 264,000 ft.), thus qualifying the pilots for astronaut status; some pilots also qualified for NASA astronaut wings.[2][3]

Of all the X-15 missions, two flights by Joseph A. Walker in 1963 qualified as space flights, per the international FAI definition of a spaceflight by exceeding a 100 kilometer (62.137 mi, 328,084 ft) altitude.

Vostok programme (USSR, 1956–1964)

Model of Vostok spacecraft with third stage of launcher

The Vostok programme was a project that succeeded in putting a person into orbit for the first time. Sergei Korolev and Konstantin Feoktistov began, in June 1956, manned spacecraft research.[4] The programme developed the Vostok spacecraft from the Zenit spy satellite project and adapted the Vostok rocket from an existing ICBM design. Just before the first release of the name Vostok to the press, it was a classified word. By August/September 1958 a division had been formed devoted to producing the first Vostok craft. The official approval (decree) for the Vostok was delayed until 22 May 1959 by competition with photo reconnaissance programs.

Vostok 1 was the first human spaceflight. The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on April 12, 1961, taking into space Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union. The Vostok 1 mission was the first time anyone had journeyed into outer space and the first time anyone had entered into orbit.

There were six Vostok flights in total. Another seven Vostok flights (Vostok 7 to 13) were originally planned, going through to April 1966, but these were cancelled and the components recycled into the Voskhod programme, which was intended to achieve more Soviet firsts in space.

Project Mercury (USA, 1959-1963)

Mercury capsule with escape tower

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States. It ran from 1959 through 1963 with the goal of putting a human in orbit around the Earth. The Mercury-Atlas 6 flight on 20 February 1962 was the first Mercury flight to achieve this goal.

Early planning and research was carried out by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and the program was officially conducted by the newly created NASA.

Because of their small size it was said that the Mercury spacecraft capsules were worn, not ridden. With 1.7 cubic meters of habitable volume, the capsule was just large enough for the single crew member. Inside were 120 controls: 55 electrical switches, 30 fuses and 35 mechanical levers. The spacecraft was designed by Max Faget and NASA's Space Task Group.

NASA ordered 20 production spacecraft, numbered 1 through 20, from McDonnell Aircraft Company, St. Louis, Missouri. Five of the twenty spacecraft, #10, 12, 15, 17, and 19, were not flown. Spacecraft #3 and #4 were destroyed during unmanned test flights. Spacecraft #11 sank and was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean after 38 years. Some spacecraft were modified after initial production (refurbished after launch abort, modified for longer missions, etc.) and received a letter designation after their number, examples 2A, 15B. Some spacecraft were modified twice; for example, spacecraft 15 became 15A and then 15B.

Project Apollo (USA, 1961-1975)

Lunar Roving Vehicle used on Apollos 15–17

The Apollo Program was a program undertaken by NASA during the years 1961–1975 with the goal of conducting manned moon landing missions. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced a goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. It was accomplished on July 20, 1969, by the landing of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, with Michael Collins orbiting above during the Apollo 11 mission. Five other Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last one in 1972. These six Apollo spaceflights are the only times humans have landed on another celestial body.[5]

Apollo was the third human spaceflight program undertaken by NASA, the space agency of the United States. It used Apollo spacecraft and Saturn launch vehicles, which were later used for the Skylab program and the joint American-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. These later programs are thus often considered to be part of the overall Apollo program.

The goal of the program, as articulated by President Kennedy, was accomplished with only two major failures. The first failure resulted in the deaths of three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, in the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. The second was an in-space explosion on Apollo 13, which badly damaged the spacecraft on the moonward leg of its journey. The three astronauts aboard narrowly escaped with their lives, thanks to the efforts of flight controllers, project engineers, backup crew members and the skills of the astronauts themselves.

Voskhod programme (USSR, 1964–1965)

The Voskhod programme (Russian: Восход, "ascent", "dawn") was a Soviet human spaceflight project. Voskhod development was both a follow-on to the Vostok programme, recycling components left over from that programme's cancellation following its first six flights. The two missions flown used the Voskhod spacecraft and rocket.

The Voskhod spacecraft was basically a Vostok spacecraft that had a backup, solid fuel retrorocket added to the top of the descent module. The heavier weight of the craft was made possible by improvements to the R-7 Semyorka-derived booster. The ejection seat was removed and two or three crew couches were added to the interior at a 90-degree angle to that of the Vostok crew position. However, the position of the in-flight controls was not changed, so the crew had to crane their heads 90 degrees to see the instruments.

While the Vostok programme was dedicated more towards understanding the effects of space travel and microgravity on the human body, Voskhod's two flights were more aimed towards spectacular "firsts". Although achieving the first EVA ("spacewalk") became the main success of the programme, beating the U.S. Gemini programme to put the first multi-person crew in orbit was the objective that initially motivated the programme. Once both goals were realised, the programme was abandoned. This followed the change in Soviet leadership, which was less concerned about stunt and prestige flights, and allowed the Soviet designers to concentrate on the Soyuz programme.

Project Gemini (USA, 1965–1966)

Gemini spacecraft on orbit

Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It operated between Projects Mercury and Apollo, with 10 manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966. Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Project Apollo, whose objective was to land humans on the Moon. Gemini missions included the first American extravehicular activity, and new orbital maneuvers including rendezvous and docking.

Gemini was originally seen as a simple extrapolation of the Mercury program, and thus early on was called Mercury Mark II. The actual program had little in common with Mercury and was superior to even Apollo in some ways. This was mainly a result of its late start date, which allowed it to benefit from much that had been learned during the early stages of the Apollo project (which, despite its later launch dates, was actually begun before Gemini).

Soyuz programme (USSR/Russia, 1967–ongoing)

Soyuz rocket on launch pad.

The Soyuz programme (Russian: Союз, pronounced , meaning "Union") is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1913. It was originally part of a Moon landing programme intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. All experimental or unsuccessful starts received the status of satellites of a series Kosmos, and flights of the Lunar orbital ships round the Moon - the name Zond. Both the Soyuz spacecraft and the Soyuz rocket are part of this programme, which is now the responsibility of the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The basic Soyuz spacecraft design was the basis for many projects, many of which never came to light. Its earliest form was intended to travel to the moon without employing a huge booster like the Saturn V or the Soviet N-1 by repeatedly docking with upper stages that had been put in orbit using the same rocket as the Soyuz. This and the initial civilian designs were done under the Soviet Chief Designer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, who did not live to see the craft take flight. Several military derivatives actually took precedence in the Soviet design process, though they never came to pass.

The launch vehicles used in the Soyuz expendable launch system are manufactured at the Progress State Research and Production Rocket Space Center (TsSKB-Progress) in Samara, Russia. As well as being used in the Soyuz programme as the launcher for the manned Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz launch vehicles are now also used to launch unmanned Progress supply spacecraft to the International Space Station and commercial launches marketed and operated by TsSKB-Progress and the Starsem company. There were 11 Soyuz launches in 2001 and 9 in 2002. Currently Soyuz vehicles are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia. Starting in 2009 Soyuz launch vehicles will also be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.[6]

Space Shuttle (USA, 1972-2011)

Space Shuttle Discovery launches at the start of STS-120

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially called "Space Transportation System" (STS), is the United States government's most recent manned launch vehicle and is retired from service as of 2011. The winged Space Shuttle orbiter is launched vertically, usually carrying five to seven astronauts (although eight have been carried) and up to 50,000 lb (22 700 kg) of payload into low earth orbit. When its mission is complete, the shuttle can independently move itself out of orbit (by means of making a 180-degree turn and firing its main engines, thus slowing it down) and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. During descent and landing, the orbiter acts as a glider and makes a completely unpowered landing.

The shuttle is the only winged manned spacecraft to achieve orbit and land, and the only reusable space vehicle that has ever made multiple flights into orbit. Its missions involve carrying large payloads to various orbits (including segments to be added to the International Space Station), providing crew rotation for the International Space Station, and performing service missions. The orbiter can also recover satellites and other payloads from orbit and return them to Earth, but its use in this capacity is rare. However, the shuttle has previously been used to return large payloads from the ISS to Earth, as the Russian Soyuz spacecraft has limited capacity for return payloads. Each vehicle was designed with a projected lifespan of 100 launches, or 10 years' operational life.

Shenzhou programme (China, 1992-ongoing)

The Shenzhou program (Chinese: 神舟; pinyin: Shén Zhōu) is a manned spaceflight initiative by the People's Republic of China. The program put the first Chinese citizen into orbit on 15 October 2003.

Development began in 1992, under the name of Project 921-1. The Chinese National Manned Space Program was given the designation Project 921 with Project 921-1 as its first significant goal. The plan called for a manned launch in October 1999, prior to the new millennium. The first four unmanned test flights happened in 1999, 2001 and 2002. These were followed with three manned launches in 2003, 2005, and 2008. Unmanned and manned launches to test docking occurred in 2011 and 2012 respectively. It is launched on the Long March 2F from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The command center of the mission is the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.

The name is variously translated as "Divine Craft", "Divine Vessel" or similar, but is also a reference to a literary name for China with the same pronunciation (神州; literally "Divine Land").

SpaceShipOne (USA 2001-2004)

Tier One is Scaled Composites' program of suborbital human spaceflight using the reusable spacecraft SpaceShipOne and its launcher White Knight. The craft are designed by Burt Rutan, and the project is funded 20 million US Dollars by Paul Allen. In 2004 it made the first privately funded human spaceflight and won the 10 million US Dollars Ansari X Prize for the first non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft.

The objective of the project is to develop technology for low-cost routine access to space. Tier One is not itself intended to carry paying passengers, but it is envisioned that there will be commercial spinoffs, initially in space tourism. The company Mojave Aerospace Ventures was formed to manage commercial exploitation of the technology. A deal with Virgin Galactic could see routine space tourism, using a spacecraft based on Tier One technology.

Space station programs

(dates refer to periods when stations were inhabited by crews)

Salyut stations (USSR, 1971-1986)

Salyut 7, the final Salyut station to be launched, as seen from the departing Soyuz T-13 spacecraft

The Salyut programme was the first space station programme undertaken by the Soviet Union, which consisted of a series of four crewed scientific research space stations and two crewed military reconnaissance space stations over a period of 15 years from 1971 to 1986. Two other Salyut launches failed. Salyut was, on the one hand, designed to carry out long-term research into the problems of living in space and a variety of astronomical, biological and Earth-resources experiments, and on the other hand this civilian program was used as a cover for the highly secretive military Almaz stations, which flew under the Salyut designation. Salyut 1, the first station in the program, became the world's first crewed space station. Salyut broke several spaceflight records, including several mission duration records, the first ever orbital handover of a space station from one crew to another, and various spacewalk records.

  • Salyut 1/DOS-1 (1971, 1 crew and 1 failed docking)
  • Salyut 2/Almaz/OPS-1 (1973, failed shortly after launch)
  • Salyut 3/Almaz/OPS-2 (1974, 1 crew and 1 failed docking)
  • Salyut 4/DOS-4 (1975–1976, 2 crews)
  • Salyut 5/Almaz/OPS-3 (1976–1977, 2 crews and 1 failed docking)
  • Salyut 6/DOS-5 (1977–1981, 16 crews (5 long duration, 11 short duration) and 1 failed docking)
  • Salyut 7/DOS-6 (1982–1986, 10 crews (6 long duration, 4 short duration) and 1 failed docking)

Skylab (USA, 1973-1974)

Skylab' was launched and operated by NASA and was the United States' first space station. Skylab orbited Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a weight of 169,950 pounds (77 t). Three manned missions to the station, conducted between 1973 and 1974 using the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) atop the smaller Saturn IB, each delivered a three-astronaut crew. On the last two manned missions, an additional Apollo / Saturn IB stood by ready to rescue the crew in orbit if it was needed.

Mir (USSR/Russia, 1986-2000)

Mir was the first modular space station and was assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996. It had a greater mass than any previous spacecraft. Until 21 March 2001 it was the largest artificial satellite in orbit, succeeded by the International Space Station after Mir's orbit decayed. The station served as a microgravity research laboratory in which crews conducted experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and spacecraft systems with a goal of developing technologies required for permanent occupation of space.

Mir was the first continuously inhabited long-term research station in orbit and set the record for the longest continuous human presence in space at 3,644 days until 23 October 2010 when it was surpassed by the ISS.[7] It holds the record for the longest single human spaceflight, with Valeri Polyakov spending 437 days and 18 hours on the station between 1994 and 1995. Mir was occupied for a total of twelve and a half years out of its fifteen-year lifespan, having the capacity to support a resident crew of three, or larger crews for short term visits. Mir had 28 long duration crews.

International Space Station (USA, Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada, 2000-ongoing)

The 'International Space Station (ISS) is a space station in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the ISS is now the largest artificial body in orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth.[8][9] The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets as well as American Space Shuttles.[10]

The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.[11][12] The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.[13] The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The American portion of ISS was funded until 2024.[14][15][16] Roscosmos has also endorsed the continued operation of ISS through 2024,[17] but have proposed subsequently using elements of the Russian Orbital Segment to construct a new Russian space station called OPSEK.[18]

As of 2015 their have been 44 long duration crews.

Tiangong program (China, 2012-ongoing)

Shenzhou docked to Tiangong 2
  • Tiangong 1 2012-13 - Spacelab and docking testbed. Visited by 2 crews. Still in orbit in 2015, but no future missions planned.
  • Tiangong-2 (planned 2016) - originally expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency by 2015[19] to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011.[20] In September 2014, its launch was delayed to 2016.[21]

OPSEK (Russia, planned 2024)

The Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex[23][24] is a proposed third-generation modular space station in Low Earth orbit. OPSEK would initially consist of modules from the Russian Orbital Segment of the International Space Station (ISS) from 2024.

Commercial space stations (planned)

Space programs currently in development

A view of the firing of SpaceShipTwo's rocket engines during its first powered flight in April 2013.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (UK, 2004-ongoing)

Virgin Galactic is a company within Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which is developing a privately funded spacecraft in conjunction with Scaled Composites to offer sub-orbital spaceflights and later orbital spaceflights to the paying public. On 10 October 2010, VSS Enterprise made its first manned gliding test flight. By October 2014 SpaceShipTwo had conducted 54 test flights.[27] On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo VSS Enterprise suffered an in-flight breakup during a powered flight test,[28][29] resulting in a crash killing one pilot and injuring the other. In October 2015 it was reported that the second SpaceShipTwo will make its first flight in 2016.[30]

Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser (USA, 2004-ongoing)

The Dream Chaser is an American reusable crewed suborbital and orbital lifting-body spaceplane being developed and privately funded by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems. The Dream Chaser is designed to carry up to seven people to and from low Earth orbit. The vehicle would launch vertically on an Atlas V rocket and land horizontally automatically on conventional runways. On 26 October 2013, the first glide flight occurred. An initial orbital test flight of the Dream Chaser orbital test vehicle is planned for 1 November 2016, launching on an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center.[31] On 3 February 2015, the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and OHB System AG (OHB) in Germany announced the completion of the initial Dream Chaser for European Utilization (DC4EU) study.[32] In October 2015 it was confirmed that the second phase of test flights would commence in 2016 and that there will be both orbital and sub-orbital versions of the Dream Chaser [33]

Blue Origin New Shepard (USA, 2006-ongoing)

The Blue Origin New Shepard reusable launch system is a privately funded vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL), suborbital manned rocket that is being developed by Blue Origin, a company owned by founder and businessman Jeff Bezos, as a commercial system for suborbital space tourism.[34] The New Shepard makes reference to the first United States astronaut in space, Alan Shepard.[35]

The first flight of the New Shepard vehicle was conducted on 29 April 2015 during which an altitude of 93,500 meters (307,000 ft) was attained. While the test itself was deemed a success and the capsule was correctly recovered via parachute landing, the booster stage landing failed because hydraulic pressure was lost during the descent.[36][37]

Indian human spaceflight program (India, 2007-ongoing)

The Indian human Spaceflight programme is a proposal by the Low Earth orbit. According to reports in 2015 India's first human space mission is planned to take place in 2021[38][39][40][41]

XCOR Lynx (USA, 2008-ongoing)

The XCOR Lynx is a suborbital horizontal-takeoff, horizontal-landing (HTHL), rocket-powered spaceplane under development by the California-based company XCOR Aerospace to compete in the emerging suborbital spaceflight market. The Lynx is projected to carry one pilot, a ticketed passenger, and/or a payload above 100 km altitude. The Mark I test model will reach only 200,000 feet; the Mark II production model will be sub-orbital.

According to a September 2015 report, the first flight of the Lynx spaceplane is likely to be in the second quarter of 2016 from Midland, Texas. [42]

Prospective Piloted Transport System (Rus) (Russia, 2008-ongoing)

New multi-task Russian spacecraft for LEO, ISS and lunar missions. The as yet unnamed spacecraft, when revealed in 2015, resembled NASAs Orion capsule and has a set of soft-landing type legs similar to the Space X Dragon V2 spacecraft. It is scheduled for a first flight in 2021.[43]

Space Launch System (USA, 2010 - ongoing)

Artist's rendering of a Block 1 SLS

The Space Launch System (SLS) is an American Space Shuttle-derived heavy expendable launch vehicle being designed by NASA. It follows the cancellation of the Constellation program, and is to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Constellation program's Ares I and Ares V vehicle designs into a single launch vehicle usable for both crew and cargo, similar to the Ares IV. SLS will be the world's most powerful rocket with 20% more thrust than Saturn V and a comparable payload capacity.[44][45]

The SLS launch vehicle is to be upgraded over time with more powerful versions. Its initial Block 1 version is to lift a payload of 70 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO), which will be increased with the debut of Block 1B and the Exploration Upper Stage.[46] Block 2 will replace the initial Shuttle-derived boosters with advanced boosters and is planned to have a LEO capability of more than 130 metric tons to meet the congressional requirement. These upgrades will allow the SLS to lift astronauts and hardware to various beyond-LEO destinations: on a circumlunar trajectory as part of Exploration Mission 1 with Block 1, to a near-Earth asteroid in Exploration Mission 2 with Block 1B, and to Mars with Block 2. The SLS will launch the Orion Crew and Service Module and may support trips to the International Space Station if necessary. SLS will use the ground operations and launch facilities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

The first manned flight is likely to be in 2023. [47]

Commercial Crew Development (USA, 2010-ongoing)

This economic stimulus program funds technology development related to human spaceflight by private companies. In September 2014 NASA awarded contracts to build manned spacecraft for low earth orbit operations to Space X and Boeing.

SpaceX Dragon V2 (USA, 2010-ongoing)

Crew Dragon Pad Abort Test Launch

The Space X Dragon V2 is a development of the unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft which itself has been re-supplying the International Space Station since 2010. The spacecraft will be the first human-rated vehicle capable of making a terrestrial soft landing.[48] It includes a set of four side-mounted thruster pods with two SuperDraco engines each, which can serve as a Launch Abort System (LAS) or be used for propulsive landings.

The SpaceX test program for the Dragon V2 will include both a "pad abort" test, and an in-flight abort test, plus both an uncrewed robotic orbital flight to the ISS, and finally a 14-day crewed demonstration mission to the ISS in April 2017.

Boeing CST-100 Starliner (USA, 2010-ongoing)

CST-100 crew mock up

The CST-100 Starliner (Crew Space Transportation) crew capsule is a spacecraft design under construction by Boeing in collaboration with Bigelow Aerospace for NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. Its primary mission is to transport crew to the International Space Station,[49] and to private space stations such as the proposed Bigelow Aerospace Commercial Space Station.[50]The Starliner is to support larger crews of up to seven people. The CST-100 is designed to be able to remain on-orbit for up to seven months and for reusability for up to ten missions.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is scheduled to make its first manned flight by December 2017.

Iranian manned space program (Iran, 2015-ongoing)

The Iranian manned spaceship project is a proposal by the Iranian Aerospace Research Institute of Iranian Space Research Center (ISRC) to put an astronaut into the space. The details of the design was published by the institute in its "Astronaut" publication on February 2015.[51] A mock up of the spaceship was displayed on 17 February 2015 during the ceremony of the national day of space of Iran. The head of the institute announced that the spaceship will be launched to space in about a year.[52][53]The spaceship will be able to carry a single astronaut to a 175 km height and return him to the earth. The spaceship is designed under the code name "Class E Kavoshgar" project. The program plans to launch their first astronaut by 2021.[54]

Programs canceled before manned launch

Man In Space Soonest (USA, 1957–1958)

United States Air Force program to put an American in orbit. Canceled when NASA was formed in August 1958.

Dyna-Soar (USA, 1957–1963)

The X-20 Dyna-Soar ('Dynamic Soarer') was a United States Air Force program to develop a manned spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites. The program ran from 24 October 1957 – 10 December 1963, and was canceled just after spacecraft construction had begun.

Manned Orbital Development System (USA, 1962–1963)

The Manned Orbital Development System was a project by the Air Force Space System Division (SSD). It was to begin working on plans to use Gemini hardware as the first step in a new US Air Force man-in-space program called MODS (Manned Orbital Development System), a type of military space station that used Gemini spacecraft as ferry vehicles. MODS was effectively superseded when the Manned Orbital Laboratory was announced in December 1963.

Soviet Orbital Station 1 (Soviet Union 1962-1965)

Western nickname "Battlestar Khrushchev" a nuclear armed monolith station, about 5 times the volume of Salyut 1 and as heavy as Skylab. The station was designed for a crew of 6 and proceeded to mock-up stage before cancellation.

Manned Orbiting Laboratory (USA, 1963-1969)

The Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) was part of the United States Air Force's manned spaceflight program, a successor to the canceled X-20 Dyna-Soar project. It was announced to the public on the same day that the Dyna-Soar program was canceled, 10 December 1963. the program was redirected in the mid-1960s and developed as a space station used for reconnaissance purposes. The space station used a spacecraft that was derived from NASA's Gemini program. The project was canceled on 10 June 1969 before there were any manned flights.

Spiral program (Soviet Union, 1965 - 1976 - end of 1970s)

Link about project

Buran program (Soviet Union, 1976-1993)

The Soviet reusable spacecraft program Buran began in 1976 at TsAGI as a response to the United States Space Shuttle program. It had only one orbital flight, an unmanned test, before cancellation.

Shuguang (Project 714) program (China, 1968-1972)

This was the first Chinese manned space program with plans to launch two astronauts by 1973.

Piloted FSW program (China, 1978-1980)

This was the second Chinese manned space programme based on the successful achievement of landing technology (third in the World after USSR and USA) by FSW satellites.

Zarya (Russia, 1986-1989)

MAKS (Russia, 1988-1991)

Kliper (Russia, 2004-2007)

Rockwell X-30 (NASP) (USA, 1986-1993)

Venturestar (USA, 1996-2001)

Hermes (ESA, 1987-1993)

Hopper (ESA, 2002?-ongoing?)

Sanger-2 (Germany, 1985)

HOTOL (UK, 1986-1988)

HOPE-X (Japan, 1980s-2003)

Fuji (Japan, 2001)

Kankoh-maru (Japan, 1995)

Project Constellation (USA, 2004-2010)

Project Constellation, NASA's intended successor to the Space Shuttle, is a program to develop new crafts and respective delivery systems for increased operation in space. It is primarily intended to facilitate missions for International Space Station resupply, lunar landing, etc.

The Constellation program was cancelled in 2010 and replaced with the Space Launch System.[55][56][57][58][59]

See also

List of manned spacecraft


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