spacecraft n : a craft capable of traveling in outer space; technically, a satellite around the sun [syn: ballistic capsule, space vehicle]
vehicle that travels through space
- Catalan: nau espacial
- Chinese: 太空船 (tàikōngchuán)
- Dutch: ruimtetuig , ruimtevaartuig
- Finnish: avaruusalus
- French: vaisseau spatial
- German: Raumfahrzeug, Raumschiff
- Indonesian: pesawat luar angkasa, pesawat ruang angkasa
- Interlingua: astronave, vehiculo spatial, nave spatial
- Italian: nave spaziale, astronave
- Japanese: 宇宙機 (うちゅうき, uchūki), 宇宙旅行船 (うちゅうりょこうせん, uchūryokōsen)
- Korean: 우주선 (ujuseon)
- Persian: (fazapeima)
- Portuguese: nave espacial, astronave
- Russian: космический корабль (kosmíčeskij korábl’)
- Spanish: nave espacial, astronave
- Swedish: rumfartyg
- Volapük: stelanaf
- The correct plural form is "spacecraft", however spacecrafts is quite common.
A spacecraft is a vehicle or device designed for spaceflight. On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters outer space but then returns to the planetary surface (such as Earth) without making a complete orbit. For an orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft enters a closed orbit around the planetary body. Spacecraft used for human spaceflights carry people on board as crew or passengers. Spacecraft used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft that leave the vicinity of the planetary body are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around the planetary body are artificial satellites. Starships, which are built for interstellar travel, are so far a theoretical concept only.
Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and space tourism. Spacecraft and space travel are common themes in works of science fiction.
Spacecraft subsystemsA spacecraft system comprises various subsystems, dependent upon mission profile. Spacecraft subsystems may include: attitude determination and control (variously called ADAC, ADC or ACS), guidance, navigation and control (GNC or GN&C), communications (COMS), command and data handling (CDH or C&DH), power (EPS), thermal control (TCS), propulsion, structures, and payload.
Reusable spacecraftThe first reusable spacecraft, the X-15, was air-launched on a suborbital trajectory on July 19, 1963. The first partially reusable orbital spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, was launched by the USA on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight, on April 12, 1981. During the Shuttle era, six orbiters were built, all of which have flown in the atmosphere and five of which have flown in space. The Enterprise was used only for approach and landing tests, launching from the back of a Boeing 747 and gliding to deadstick landings at Edwards AFB, California. The first Space Shuttle to fly into space was the Columbia, followed by the Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. The Endeavour was built to replace the Challenger when it was lost in January 1986. The Columbia broke up during reentry in February 2003.
The first automatic partially reusable spacecraft was the Buran (Snowstorm), launched by the USSR on November 15, 1988, although it made only one flight. This spaceplane was designed for a crew and strongly resembled the U.S. Space Shuttle, although its drop-off boosters used liquid propellants and its main engines were located at the base of what would be the external tank in the American Shuttle. Lack of funding, complicated by the dissolution of the USSR, prevented any further flights of Buran. The Space Shuttle has since been modified to allow for autonomous re-entry via the addition of a control cable running from the control cabin to the mid-deck which would allow for the automated deployment of the landing gear in the event a un-crewed re-entry was required following abandonment due to damage at the ISS.
Per the Vision for Space Exploration, the Space Shuttle is due to be retired in 2010 due mainly to its old age and high cost of program reaching over a billion dollars per flight. The Shuttle's human transport role is to be replaced by the partially reusable Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) no later than 2014. The Shuttle's heavy cargo transport role is to be replaced by expendable rockets such as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) or a Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle.
Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne was a reusable suborbital spaceplane that carried pilots Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie on consecutive flights in 2004 to win the Ansari X Prize. The Spaceship Company will build its successor SpaceShipTwo. A fleet of SpaceShipTwos operated by Virgin Galactic should begin reusable private spaceflight carrying paying passengers in 2009''.
Fictional spacecraftThe term spacecraft is mainly used to refer to spacecraft that are real or conceived using present technology. The terms spaceship and starship are generally applied only to fictional spacecraft, usually those capable of transporting people. The spaceship is one of the prime elements in science fiction. Numerous short stories and novels are built up around various ideas for spacecraft, and spacecraft have often been featured in movies. Some hard science fiction books focus on the technical details of the craft, while others treat the spacecraft as a given and delve little into its actual implementation. see also List of fictional spaceships
- The Death Star, Millennium Falcon, Star Destroyer, X-Wing and TIE Fighter from the Star Wars science-fiction universe.
- USS Enterprise and Klingon Bird of Prey from the Star Trek franchise.
- The Liberator and Scorpio from the British science fiction television series Blake's 7.
- The TARDIS from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who.
- Discovery One from 2001: A Space Odyssey
- The Battlestar Galactica from the original and re-imagined series of the same name.
- Daedalus class battlecruiser from the television series Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.
- USS Saratoga (SCVN-2812) from the television series Space: Above and Beyond.
- Serenity from the television series Firefly
- ''Star Bug, Blue Midget, and Red Dwarf from the BBC comedy science fiction series: Red Dwarf.
- The UNSC In Amber Clad, Forward Unto Dawn and Pillar of Autumn from the Halo video game series.
- The SSV Normandy, from the Mass Effect video game.
Spacecraft in artThe Mare Nostrum Spaceship is the central element of the Space art group El Club de los Astronautas. The group has worked out a utopian plan for the spacecraft and they are going to adopt and actualize the plan over time as technologies will develop to turn the plan into reality. Mare Nostrum represents a series of projects in the scientific, social and economic world that are building the foundation to its construction.
Examples of spacecraft
- Apollo Spacecraft flagicon USA
- Gemini Spacecraft flagicon USA
- International Space Station flagicon USA flagicon Russia flagicon Europe flagicon Japan flagicon Canada flagicon Brazil
- Mercury Spacecraft flagicon USA
- Manned Maneuvering Unit flagicon USA - world's smallest manned spacecraft
- Mir flagicon USSR flagicon Russia
- Salyut flagicon USSR
- Shuttle Buran flagicon USSR
- Shenzhou Spacecraft flagicon China
- Skylab flagicon USA
- Soyuz Spacecraft flagicon USSR flagicon Russia
- Space Shuttle flagicon USA
- Voskhod Spacecraft flagicon USSR
- Vostok Spacecraft flagicon USSR
- SpaceShipOne flagicon USA (commercial) suborbital
- X-15 flagicon USA suborbital
- Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) - unmanned European cargo spacecraft
- Buran Soviet shuttle (one mission only)
- Explorer 1 - first US satellite
- Progress - unmanned USSR/Russia cargo spacecraft
- Project SCORE - first communications satellite
- Sputnik 1 - world's first artificial satellite
- Sputnik 2 - first animal in orbit (Laika)
- Sputnik 5 - first capsule recovered from orbit (Vostok precursor) - animals survived
- STEREO - Earth environment observation
- Syncom - first geosynchronous communications satellite
- Clementine - US Navy mission, orbited Moon, detected hydrogen at the poles
- Luna 1 - first lunar flyby
- Luna 2 - first lunar impact
- Luna 3 - first images of lunar far side
- Luna 9 - first soft landing on the Moon
- Luna 10 - first lunar orbiter
- Luna 16 - first unmanned lunar sample retrieval
- Lunar Orbiter - very successful series of lunar mapping spacecraft
- Lunar Prospector - confirmed detection of hydrogen at the lunar poles
- SMART-1 ESA - Lunar Impact
- Surveyor - first USA soft lander
- Cassini-Huygens - first Saturn orbiter + Titan lander
- Galileo - first Jupiter orbiter+descent probe
- Mariner 4 - first Mars flyby, first close and high resulution images of Mars
- Mariner 9 - first Mars orbiter
- Mariner 10 - first Mercury flyby, first close up images
- Mars Exploration Rover - a Mars rover
- Mars Global Surveyor - a Mars orbiter
- MESSENGER - first Mercury orbiter (arrival 2011)
- Mars Pathfinder - a Mars lander + rover
- New Horizons - first Pluto flyby (arrival 2015)
- Pioneer 10 - first Jupiter flyby, first close up images
- Pioneer 11 - second Jupiter flyby + first Saturn flyby (first close up images of Saturn)
- Pioneer Venus - first Venus orbiter+landers
- Venera 4 - first soft landing on another planet (Venus)
- Viking 1 - first soft landing on Mars
- Voyager 2 - Jupiter flyby + Saturn flyby + first flybys/images of Neptune and Uranus
- Deep Space 1
- Deep Impact (space mission)
- Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
- Helios I & II Solar Probes ()
- Voyager 1 at 9.5824234 billion miles.
- Pioneer 10 at 8.3445237 billion miles.
- Voyager 2 at 7.4351695 billion miles.
- NASA STS Space Shuttle/Orbiter ()
Spacecraft under development
- Orion spacecraft
- Kliper - Russian ' Clipper '
- H-II Transfer Vehicle
- India Chandrayan-1 lunar probe
- CNES Mars Netlander
- James Webb Space Telescope (delayed)
- Kepler Mission Planet Searcher
- ESA Darwin probe
- Herschel Space Observatory
- Mars Science Laboratory rover
- Shenzhou spacecraft Cargo
- Terrestrial Planet Finder probe
- SpaceX Dragon manned spacecraft
- System F6 - a DARPA Fractionated Spacecraft demonstrator
Unfunded/Cancelled spacecraft programs*Chinese Project 921-3 Shuttle
- Space Mission Analysis and Design
spacecraft in Afrikaans: Ruimtetuig
spacecraft in Arabic: مركبة فضائية
spacecraft in Bulgarian: Космически кораб
spacecraft in Catalan: Nau espacial
spacecraft in Czech: Umělé kosmické těleso
spacecraft in Danish: Rumskib
spacecraft in German: Raumschiff
spacecraft in Spanish: Nave espacial
spacecraft in Esperanto: Kosma flugaparato
spacecraft in Persian: فضاپیما
spacecraft in French: Véhicule spatial
spacecraft in Hindi: अंतरिक्ष यान
spacecraft in Korean: 우주선
spacecraft in Croatian: Svemirske letjelice
spacecraft in Indonesian: Wahana antariksa
spacecraft in Italian: Veicolo spaziale
spacecraft in Hebrew: חללית
spacecraft in Georgian: კოსმოსური ხომალდი
spacecraft in Lao: ຍານອາວະກາດ
spacecraft in Latvian: Kosmosa kuģis
spacecraft in Hungarian: Űreszköz
spacecraft in Malay (macrolanguage): Kapal angkasa lepas
spacecraft in Dutch: Ruimtevaartuig
spacecraft in Japanese: 宇宙船
spacecraft in Norwegian: Romskip
spacecraft in Norwegian Nynorsk: Romskip
spacecraft in Polish: Statek kosmiczny
spacecraft in Portuguese: Nave espacial
spacecraft in Russian: Космический аппарат
spacecraft in Simple English: Spacecraft
spacecraft in Sindhi: خِلائِي رَٿَ
spacecraft in Slovak: Umelé kozmické teleso
spacecraft in Slovenian: Vesoljsko plovilo
spacecraft in Serbian: Свемирске летелице
spacecraft in Finnish: Avaruusalus
spacecraft in Swedish: Rymdfarkost
spacecraft in Thai: ยานอวกาศ
spacecraft in Vietnamese: Tàu vũ trụ
spacecraft in Turkish: Uzay aracı
spacecraft in Samogitian: Pluotmielaivis
spacecraft in Chinese: 航天器
ATDA, ATS, Alouette, Anna, Apollo, Ariel, Atlas-Score, Biosatellite, Comsat, Cosmos, Courier, Diapason, Discoverer, ERS, Early Bird, Earth insertion, Echo, Elektron, Explorer, GATV, Gemini, Injun, Intelsat, LEM, LM, Lofti, Luna, Lunar Orbiter, Lunik, Mariner, Mars probes, Mercury, Midas, Nimbus, OAO, OGO, OSO, Pageos, Pegasus, Pioneer, Proton, Ranger, Relay, Samos, San Marco, Secor, Sputnik, Surveyor, Syncom, Telstar, Transit, Vanguard, Viking, Voskhod, WRESAT, Zond, apogee, artificial satellites, attitude-control rocket, ballistic capsule, burn, capsule, deep-space ship, docking, docking maneuver, ferry rocket, fuel ship, injection, insertion, lunar excursion module, lunar module, manned rocket, module, moon ship, multistage rocket, orbit, parking orbit, perigee, reentry, rocket, shuttle rocket, soft landing, space capsule, space docking, space rocket, spaceship