Manned space travel

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Astronaut during an external mission at the ISS space station (2005)

According to the definition of the Association of Space Explorers , manned space travel is when a person has completely circled the earth at least once in a spaceship . Suborbital flights are not part of manned space travel in the narrower sense.


Stand 2020, there are three countries whose space agencies perform manned orbital space missions with their own spacecraft: Russia ( Roscosmos ), the People's Republic of China ( CMSA ) and the United States ( NASA / SpaceX ). Russia and China start their missions with conventional launchers with a spaceship at the top, while SpaceX works with a partially reusable launch vehicle of the Falcon 9 type . Other space agencies such as the European Space Agency , the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or the Canadian Space Agency used the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as a means of transport to the International Space Station .

A chronological overview is given in the list of manned space flights .

Position in reporting

The media tends to report more often and in greater detail about manned journeys into space than about unmanned ( remote-controlled ) journeys . However, the scientific importance of manned missions is now less than that of unmanned ones. Failures and accidents in which astronauts are endangered or even killed remain in the public's mind for a long time.

Motivation for manned missions

In the first decades political dominated. military and scientific motives the development. Space travel was a national matter. In the meantime, with the hope of economic profit, more and more private companies are getting involved. In the early days of manned space travel, people aimed for the greatest possible prestige for their nation , and the military aspect also played a certain role. In the seventies, the idea of international understanding was added (coupling a Russian to an American spaceship on July 17, 1975 with a handshake between the space travelers), which culminated in the construction of the International Space Station (ISS) .


Early development and first pioneers

In the USA and the Soviet Union, balloon flights to great heights (up to about 30 km) followed by parachute jumps from the stratosphere were undertaken before 1960 in order to investigate the stresses that humans face in space due to the lack of air pressure, cosmic radiation and the like. a. is exposed. The American projects Manhigh and Excelsior with Joseph Kittinger became particularly well known, but the Soviet jumper Yevgeny Andrejew also set new records.

1st epoch: Cold War - space race - moon landing

In the era of the Cold War began between the warring superpowers USA and the Soviet Union , a space race , first with unmanned flights, later with manned launches. On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the earth in a Vostok spaceship . A few weeks later, on May 5, 1961, the United States had a 16-minute suborbital flight by Alan Shepard as part of the Mercury program .

In 1968 the first humans flew into space with Apollo 7 as part of the Apollo program, which finally culminated in the first manned moon landing in 1969 with Apollo 11 . After that, the focus was on near-earth space. The Salyut and Skylab space stations offered humble homes to people in space . With the Apollo Soyuz project , there was also a joint American-Soviet mission in 1975 for the first time. After that, the two nations went their separate ways for the next 20 years.

2nd epoch: the shuttle concept and the Mir space station

The development of the US space shuttle took place as early as the 1970s. The space shuttle flew regularly from 1981.

The Soviet Union also relied on the shuttle concept in the 1980s: the Buran space shuttle was created , which was to provide the counterpart to the US space shuttle. Due to financial and political difficulties, Buran was never able to complete a manned mission. In 1993 the program was finally stopped.

At the same time, the Soviet Union continued to work on its manned space station program. In 1986 the first module of the Mir space station was launched , further modules followed. The station remained in operation until 2001 and served as a home for 28 permanent crews.

3rd epoch: the international space station (ISS)

Except in the People's Republic of China, the basis for all current activities of the state space agencies is the International Space Station (ISS). Until the accident with the US space shuttle Columbia, the ISS was served by the US space shuttles and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. After the accident in February 2003, no space shuttle took off for two and a half years; a new flight ( STS-114 ) was only started in July 2005 . With the last launch of the space shuttle Atlantis ( STS-135 ) on July 8, 2011, the era of the space shuttle ended. Apart from unmanned space freighters, the ISS was only served by Russian Soyuz spacecraft until May 2020.

4th epoch: privatization and space tourism

Privately financed space travel is only at the beginning of its history, even if initial successes, such as the SpaceShipOne flights on September 21, 29 and October 4, 2004, can be seen. Since 2001, several space tourists have been able to fly to the International Space Station (ISS). However, these were exceptions, as the transport capacities to the ISS are currently limited.

Several US companies have been working on spaceships to transport astronauts to the International Space Station since the late 2000s. SpaceX , Boeing and the Sierra Nevada Corporation develop manned spaceships with the Crew Dragon , the CST-100 Starliner and the Dream Chaser . This is mainly done on behalf of NASA, for example, on the SpX-DM2 mission, which started on May 30, 2020, a crew dragon brought American astronauts to the ISS for the first time since 2011 in an American spaceship.

Current status and future developments

Some space nations and private companies have future manned space programs in the pipeline:


The manned space flight of the Russian Roscosmos is currently limited to the transport of people to the ISS . Both cosmonauts and, from 2021, (again) private individuals will be promoted.Template: future / in 2 years

United States

After the US space shuttle flights were discontinued in 2011, the Artemis program was launched in March 2019 . The US government wants to carry out manned moon landings again by 2024 and bring a woman to the moon for the first time. Template: future / in 5 years The overall goal is to establish a permanent presence on the earth satellite in order to have a better starting point for later missions to Mars . Contrary to China, for example, NASA wants to rely on commercial partners for the preparation and implementation and to work more closely with private companies such as SpaceX , Dynetics or BlueOrigin .

People's Republic of China

The Office for Manned Spaceflight of the People's Republic of China (short: CMSA ) is currently working on a permanently manned space station , the first stage of which should be completed in 2022. Template: future / in 3 years The landing of a person on the moon is planned for 2030 , Template: future / in 5 years later a research station is to be built there with the involvement of ESA and Roskosmos .


The US company SpaceX was the first private company to transport a person to the ISS in May 2020 . SpaceX is planning more manned missions in the near future.


The Indian government announced a manned flight into space for 2022 in 2018. The ISRO is doing currently of the US NASA within NASA-ISRO Human Space Flight Working Group and of the Russian Roskosmos supported.

Aborted manned space programs

See also


  • Luca Codignola et al. (Ed.): Humans in outer space - interdisciplinary Odysseys. Springer, Vienna et al. 2009, ISBN 978-3-211-87464-6 ( Studies in Space Policy 1).
  • David Darling: The complete book of spaceflight. From Apollo 1 to Zero gravity. Wiley, Hoboken NJ 2003, ISBN 0-471-05649-9 .
  • Matthias founder among others: Lexicon of manned space travel. (Rockets, spacecraft and astronauts). Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-287-3 .
  • Stephen B. Johnson (Ed.): Space exploration and humanity. A historical encyclopedia. 2 volumes. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara CA et al. 2010, ISBN 978-1-85109-514-8 .
  • Jesco von Puttkamer : Man in Space - A Necessity , Frankfurt 1987.
  • Wiley J. Larson (Ed.): Human spaceflight - mission analysis and design. McGraw-Hill, New York NY 2003, ISBN 0-07-236811-X .
  • Donald Rapp: Human missions to Mars - enabling technologies for exploring the red planet. Springer et al., Berlin et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-72938-9 .
  • Haeuplik-Meusburger: Architecture for Astronauts - An Activity based Approach . Springer Praxis Books, 2011, ISBN 978-3-7091-0666-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

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  2. ^ History of Research in Space Biology and Biodynamics 1948-1958. Retrieved December 16, 2010 .
  3. Deutsche Welle ( Musk's "Drache" ends the Russian monopoly in space | DW | 05/31/2020. Retrieved on May 31, 2020 (German).
  4. US aims for humans on Moon in five years . In: BBC News . March 27, 2019 ( [accessed May 31, 2020]).
  5. Flint Wild: What Is the Artemis Program? August 30, 2019, accessed May 31, 2020 .
  6. ^ Brian Dunbar: Moon to Mars Overview. June 29, 2018, accessed May 31, 2020 .
  7. NASA Artemis program: Who will design next lunar lander? Accessed May 31, 2020 (English).
  8. ^ Sarah Loff: Commercial Lunar Payload Services Update. July 29, 2019, accessed May 31, 2020 .
  9. 项 思 、 崔逸飞: 中国 空间站 来啦! 最新 研制 进展 官方 视频 重磅 亮相. In: April 23, 2019, accessed August 9, 2020 (Chinese).
  10. 郭 凯: China aims to explore polar regions of Moon by 2030 - Accessed May 31, 2020 .
  11. 比 美国 还 多 出 三分之一! 我国 航天 员 规模 骤增 , 天宫 空间站 只是 开局. Accessed May 31, 2020 .
  12. When will China get to Mars? Accessed May 31, 2020 (English).
  13. ^ SpaceX makes history with a successful first human space launch. In: TechCrunch. Retrieved June 1, 2020 (American English).
  14. Tariq Malik September 18, 2018: How SpaceX's 1st Passenger Flight Around the Moon with Yusaku Maezawa Will Work. Retrieved June 1, 2020 .
  15. 4 Indian Astronauts Resume Training In Russia For ISRO's Gaganyaan Mission. Accessed May 31, 2020 .
  16. NASA resumes cooperation with ISRO after ASAT test. April 7, 2019, accessed May 31, 2020 (American English).
  17. ISRO & ROSCOSMOS to work together for the first Indian manned mission. In: The Financial Express. October 5, 2018, accessed May 31, 2020 (American English).