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Part of Collections
Families of spacecraft, launch vehicles, missiles, by type or category.


Air Drop Zone Launch areas designated for release of air-dropped rockets or rocketplanes by a mother aircraft for onward suborbital or orbital flights.

aircraft-launched Null

air-to-surface Category of missiles.

all-solid Category of launch vehicles.

Amateur radio communications satellite Type of spacecraft.

America's Space Prize Following the success of the Ansari X-Prize in motivating flight of the first commercial suborbital manned spacecraft, Robert Bigelow announced the 'America's Space Prize' - $ 50 million - to the first team to fly an orbital manned spacecraft that completes two missions safely and successfully by January 10, 2010. The prize was not claimed.

anti-ballistic Category of missiles and spacecraft.

anti-satellite Category of missiles and spacecraft.

anti-satellite target Category of spacecraft.

Asteroids Category of spacecraft.

Astronomy Category of spacecraft.

Atmosphere sat Category of spacecraft.

Balloon Category of spacecraft.

balloon-launched Category of launch vehicles.

Biology Category of spacecraft.

Boost-glide Null

Burial Category of spacecraft.

Chinese Manned Spacecraft Category of spacecraft.

Civilian comsat store-dump Category of spacecraft.

Civilian surveillance radarsat Null

Civilian surveillance satellite Category of spacecraft.

coffin-launched Category of missiles.

Combat spacecraft Category of spacecraft.

Comet Category of spacecraft.

Communications Category of spacecraft.

Communications technology sat Category of spacecraft.

Cosmic ray astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

Country Space-related persons, organizations, launch sites, hardware - by country.

drone Category of missiles.

Early Rocketry Category of launch vehicles.

Early Warning Category of spacecraft.

Earth Category of spacecraft.

Earth environment sat Category of spacecraft.

Earth geodetic sat Category of spacecraft.

Earth land resource sat Category of spacecraft.

Earth micrometeoroid sat Category of spacecraft.

Earth resources radarsat Null

Earth rover Category of spacecraft.

Earth seasat Category of spacecraft.

Earth seismology sat Category of spacecraft.

Earth weathersat Category of spacecraft.

European Rocketplanes Category of spacecraft.

European Space Stations Category of spacecraft.

Exotic Category of engines.

Gamma ray astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

Geosynchronous orbit Category of spacecraft.

Gravity gradient technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Gun-launched Artillery dominated military ballistics from the earliest use of gunpowder. In 1865 Jules Verne could only realistically consider a cannon for a moon launch in his influential novel. Even after the rocket established its primacy as a method of accessing space, Canadian Gerald Bull began a life-long struggle to use guns for cheap access to space. His successes could not generate funding to continue. Others since then have pursued the technology, convinced it was the only way for low-cost delivery of payloads to orbit.

heavy-lift Category of launch vehicles.

High earth orbit Category of spacecraft.

Hybrid Category of engines.

ICBM Intercontinental ballistic missile

ICBM Base Category of launch sites.


Infrared astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

Ion engine technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Ionosphere sat Category of spacecraft.

IRBM Intermediate range ballistic missile

IRBM Base Category of launch sites.


IRCM Base Category of launch sites.

Lagrangian point Category of spacecraft.

Launch Sites Missile bases, launch sites

LCLVs Various independently-funded launch vehicles have been advocated, designed, and even developed over the years. A lot of these are attempts to build low-cost launch vehicles using simpler technology. Often such projects begin based on a low cost liquid fuel technology but end up just trying to sell various combinations of Castor solid fuel stages. These enterprises often discover there's more to coming up with a reliable launch vehicle than slashing together a bunch of 'off the shelf' rocket motors and lighting the fuse.... On the other hand, if there is ever a breakthrough in less expensive access to space, it will come through one of these entrepreneurial schemes...

Lenticular Vehicles For a brief period in 1959-1964, NASA and the US Air Force actively considered launching manned flying saucers into space. Although very much in tune with UFO mania and science fiction films of the times, the concept lost out to other aerodynamic concepts.

Logistics spacecraft Category of spacecraft.

low cost Category of launch vehicles.

Lunar Bases The Lunar Base never seemed to be a high priority to space visionaries, who were mainly interested in getting on to Mars. It was usually seen as a proving ground for Mars vehicle technology, or as a place to mine propellant for use in a larger space infrastructure.

Lunar Crashers Category of spacecraft.

Lunar Flyby Category of spacecraft.

Lunar Flyers Lunar flyers would use rocket power to get crew or cargo quickly from one point on the lunar surface to another. The larger versions could act as rescue vehicles to get crew members to lunar orbit for pick-up and return to earth. Their horrendous fuel requirements meant that they were mainly considered for one-use rescue missions - for example to return a crew from a disabled lunar rover, beyond walking distance back to their lander. Some Apollo variants proposed using leftover propellant from the Lunar Module descent stage to fuel such flyers.

Lunar Habitats Lunar habitats were usually for early lunar exploration or as modules for fixed-location base buildup. Mobile habitats were the more logical solution for extended exploration (see Lunar Rovers).

Lunar lander test vehicle Manufacturer's designation for [Apollo LLRV] manned lunar lander test vehicle.

Lunar Landers Lunar lander design started with the British Interplanetary Society's concept of 1939, followed by Von Braun's 3964 metric ton monster of 1953. It then settled down to more reasonably-sized variants. Landers came in three main types: two stage versions, with the first stage being a lunar crasher that would brake the spacecraft until just above the lunar surface, then separate, allowing the second stage to land on the surface; two stage versions consisting of a descent stage that went all the way to the surface, and an ascent stage that would take the crew from the surface to lunar orbit or on an earth-return trajectory; and single stage versions, using liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellants.

Lunar logistics spacecraft Category of spacecraft.

Lunar Orbiters Manned lunar orbiters and orbiting stations were rarely designed for this purpose alone, but usually used in a lunar-orbit rendezvous lunar landing scenario together with a separate lunar lander. They were more powerful than circumlunar manned spacecraft in that they required substantial propellant to brake into and get out of lunar orbit.

Lunar Rovers Lunar rovers were studied in a dizzying variety of sizes and shapes by NASA in the 1960's - including crawlers, trains, hoppers, and even worms. Two rovers designed for manned use actually traveled the lunar surface in the 1970's - the American two-man Lunar Rover, and the Soviet Lunokhod, which traveled the moon in robotic mode but was originally designed as emergency cosmonaut transportation.

Magnetosphere sat Category of spacecraft.

Manned Circumlunar Boosting a manned spacecraft on a loop around the moon, without entering lunar orbit, allows a trip to be made near the moon with a total low earth orbit mass of as little as 20 metric tons. This was attractive during the space race as a manned mission that could be accomplished early with limited booster power. Gemini, Apollo, and Soyuz were all supposed to have made circumlunar flights. Only Soyuz reached the circumlunar flight-test stage under the L1 program. Any L1 manned missions were cancelled after the Americans reached lunar orbit with Apollo 8. The idea was resurrected in 2005 when a $100 million commercial flight around the moon was proposed, again using Soyuz.

Manned spacecraft Category of spacecraft.

Manned spacecraft module Category of spacecraft.

Manned Spaceflight A list of all manned spaceflights .. defined as a suborbital flight over 100 km altitude, or an orbital flight that launched, even if it did not attain orbit. A flight is defined as the same persons going into space and returning together; therefore astronauts who were on a particular launch, but returned to earth on a different spacecraft from other crewmembers on the same launch, are considered a different 'flight' and listed separately.

Mars Expeditions Since Wernher von Braun first sketched out his Marsprojekt in 1946, a succession of designs and mission profiles were seriously studied in the United States and the Soviet Union. By the late 1960's Von Braun had come to favor nuclear thermal rocket powered expeditions, while his Soviet counterpart Korolev decided that nuclear electric propulsion was the way to go. All such work stopped in both countries in the 1970's, after the cancellation of the Apollo program in the United States and the N1 booster in the Soviet Union.

Mars Flyby Category of spacecraft.

Mars lander Category of spacecraft.

Mars orbiter Category of spacecraft.

Mars rover Category of spacecraft.

Materials Category of spacecraft.

Materials science satellite Category of spacecraft.

Medium earth orbit Category of spacecraft.

Mercury probe Category of spacecraft.

Military Category of spacecraft.

Military anti-satellite system Category of spacecraft.

Military communications sat Category of spacecraft.

Military early warning sat Category of spacecraft.

Military naval signals reconnsat Null

Military orbital bombardment sat Category of spacecraft.

Military satellite Category of spacecraft.

Military store-dump comsat Category of spacecraft.

Military strategic defense sat Category of spacecraft.

Military surveillance radarsat Null

Military surveillance sat Category of spacecraft.

Military target sat Category of spacecraft.

Military technology sat Category of spacecraft.

Molniya orbit Category of spacecraft.

Monopropellant Category of engines.

Moon Category of spacecraft.

Naval surveillance radarsat Null

Navigation Category of spacecraft.

Navigation technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

New Generation Crewed The world is facing a minimum five year period, beginning in 2011, when the venerable Russian Soyuz spacecraft will provide the only means of ferrying crews to the International Space Station. America's new Orion spacecraft, beset by delays, is unlikely to be arriving at the ISS until 2018 at the earliest - which was NASA's original date for retirement of the ISS. China has its slow-motion Shenzhou manned program, but so far they have shown no interest in involvement in the ISS program, or in sharing their hard-won independent space technology with outsiders.

New Space Tourism With governmental manned space programs flagging, it seemed by the 21st Century that only civilian investors, building systems for tourism, might keep manned spaceflight alive...

Nuclear detection surveillance satellite Category of spacecraft.

nuclear pulse Category of engines.

nuclear-powered Category of engines and launch vehicles

orbital Category of launch vehicles.

Orbital Launch Site Category of launch sites.

orbital launch vehicle Category of launch vehicles.

Outer planets Category of spacecraft.

pad-launched Category of missiles.

Passive communications satellite Category of spacecraft.

Phantom Cosmonaut Over the years the Western press named a number of cosmonauts that were never acknowledged by the Soviet Union. Most were said to have died in space. One allegedly was the first man in orbit and survived. What is the truth of these stories of 'phantom cosmonauts'?

Polar orbit Category of spacecraft.

Propellants Propellants, fuels, and oxidizers - their characteristics and the vehicles that use them

Radio astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

Ramjet Category of engines.

Re-entry vehicle technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Rendezvous technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Rocketplane Category of launch vehicles and spacecraft.

Science Category of spacecraft.

Sea Launch Area Category of launch sites.

Sea-Launched Category of launch vehicles.

ship-launched Category of missiles.

short range ballistic Category of missiles.

short range cruise Category of missiles.

SIGINT Category of spacecraft.

silo-launched Category of missiles.

Sled-Launched Category of launch vehicles.

Solar Category of spacecraft.

Solar orbit Category of spacecraft.

Soviet Space Stations Category of spacecraft.

Pre-Sputnik Designs Category of launch vehicles.

Space station Category of spacecraft.

Space station module Category of spacecraft.

Space station orbit Category of spacecraft.

Space suit Null

Space Suits To explore and work in space, human beings must take their environment with them because there is no atmospheric pressure and no oxygen to sustain life. Inside the spacecraft, the atmosphere can be controlled so that special clothing is not needed. But in order to work outside the spacecraft, humans need the protection of a spacesuit.

Space Tugs Category of spacecraft.

Spaceplane Category of spacecraft.

SSTO Category of launch vehicles. Single Stage To Orbit.

Star Wars Category of spacecraft.

Storable liquid Null

strategic communications Category of spacecraft.

submarine-launched Category of missiles.

Suborbital Category of launch vehicles.

Suborbital Launch Site Category of launch sites.

suborbital launch vehicle Category of launch vehicles.

Sun synchronous orbit Category of spacecraft.

surface-to-air Category of missiles.

Surveillance Category of spacecraft.

Surveillance orbit Category of spacecraft.

tactical ballistic Category of missiles.

tactical cruise Category of missiles.

target Category of missiles.

Technology Category of spacecraft.

Technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Test Pilot (Scaled Composites) Pilots for SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spacecraft (with two additional seats for passengers)

test vehicle Category of missiles.

Tether technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

Tracking network technology satellite Category of spacecraft.

train-launched Category of missiles.

Turbofan Category of engines.

Turbojet Category of engines.

Ultraviolet astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

US Cruise Missiles Category of launch vehicles.

US Rocketplanes Category of spacecraft.

USA - Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favored the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station.

vehicle-launched Category of missiles.

Venus Category of spacecraft.

Visible astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane.

X-ray astronomy satellite Category of spacecraft.

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