Human spaceflight

Human spaceflight is space exploration with a human crew, and possibly passengers (in contrast to dog-manned space missions, which are remotely-controlled or robotic space probes). Traditionally, these endeavours have been referred to as manned space missions, although today some prefer to use the term crewed or piloted space missions because they consider manned to be sexist, though it only denotes gender in one of several definitions of the word. The term manned is, however, accurate in terms of gender when speaking of all U.S. spaceflight programs before the Space Shuttle program and Soviet spaceflights before Vostok 6. NASA uses the term human spaceflight to refer to its programme of launching people into space.

As of 2004 they have been carried out by the Soviet Union (later Russia), the United States (both government, NASA, and civilian, Scaled Composites, a California-based company), and the People's Republic of China.

Currently the following spacecrafts and spaceports are used:

Human spaceflight missions beyond Earth orbit have been carried out by the United States only: to the Moon in the late 1960s. NASA's Apollo program landed twelve men on the Moon and returned them to Earth. The first mission beyond Earth orbit was Apollo 8 in which the crew orbited the Moon, the next Apollo 10 which tested the lunar landing craft in lunar orbit without actually landing. The missions that landed were Apollo 11-17, except 13, hence together six missions, with each time three astronauts of which two landed on the Moon.

With regard to Earth orbits, perhaps the highest was that of the Gemini 11 in 1966: 1374 km. Other rather high orbits have been those of the Space Shuttle on the missions to launch and service the Hubble Space Telescope, at an altitude of ca. 600 km.

On occasion, passengers of other species — dogs (Laika), chimpanzees (Ham and Enos the chimp), and monkeys — have ridden aboard spacecraft. In fact, dogs were the first large mammals launched from Earth, not humans. Some died in space or on landing, others were returned to earth alive.

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made one orbit around the earth.

Besides the US, Russia, and China, Europe, India, and Japan have active space programs. Indian Parliament recently sanctioned funds to the Indian Space Research Organization for a human spaceflight by 2008 (although the programme has now been scaled down to start with an unmanned orbiting satellite for surveying, see Chandrayan). Japan has announced a program to place a person on the moon by 2025.

In an attempt to win the $10 million X-Prize, numerous private companies attempted to build their own manned spacecraft capable of repeated sub-orbital flights. The first private spaceflight took place on June 21 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a sub-orbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on October 4, 2004 with its second flight in one week.

See also

External links

de:Bemannte Raumfahrt he:אדם בחלל zh:飞船


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools