Spacecraft

More than 100 Soviet and Russian Soyuz manned spacecraft (TMA version shown) have flown since 1967 and now support the International Space Station.
Columbia's first launch on the mission
The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, Mir, and the ISS. (Columbia's first launch, which had a white external tank, shown)

A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, space colonization, planetary exploration, and transportation of humans and cargo. All spacecraft except single-stage-to-orbit vehicles cannot get into space on their own, and require a launch vehicle (carrier rocket).

On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a space vehicle enters space and then returns to the surface, without having gone into an orbit. For orbital spaceflights, spacecraft enter closed orbits around the Earth or around other celestial bodies. Spacecraft used for human spaceflight carry people on board as crew or passengers from start or on orbit (space stations) only, whereas those used for robotic space missions operate either autonomously or telerobotically. Robotic spacecraft used to support scientific research are space probes. Robotic spacecraft that remain in orbit around a planetary body are artificial satellites. Only a handful of interstellar probes, such as Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, and New Horizons, are on trajectories that leave the Solar System.

Orbital spacecraft may be recoverable or not. By method of reentry to Earth they may be divided in non-winged space capsules and winged spaceplanes.

Humanity has achieved space flight but only a few nations have the technology for orbital launches: Russia (RSA or "Roscosmos"), the United States (NASA), the member states of the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan (JAXA), China (CNSA), India (ISRO), Taiwan[1][2][3][4] (National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Taiwan National Space Organization (NSPO),[5][6][7] Israel (ISA), Iran (ISA), and North Korea (NADA).

History

The first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. It was launched by the Soviet Union

A German V-2 became the first spacecraft when it reached an altitude of 189 km in June of 1944 in Peenemünde, Germany.[8] Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit (LEO) by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments; while the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the Space Age.[9][10] Apart from its value as a technological first, Sputnik 1 also helped to identify the upper atmospheric layer's density, through measuring the satellite's orbital changes. It also provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere. Pressurized nitrogen in the satellite's false body provided the first opportunity for meteoroid detection. Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete an orbit, and emitted radio signals at 20.005 and 40.002 MHz

While Sputnik 1 was the first spacecraft to orbit the Earth, other man-made objects had previously reached an altitude of 100 km, which is the height required by the international organization Fédération Aéronautique Internationale to count as a spaceflight. This altitude is called the Kármán line. In particular, in the 1940s there were several test launches of the V-2 rocket, some of which reached altitudes well over 100 km.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Ruimtetuig
አማርኛ: መንኮራኩር
Ænglisc: Rodorcræft
العربية: مركبة فضائية
asturianu: Nave espacial
azərbaycanca: Kosmik gəmi
বাংলা: নভোযান
беларуская: Касмічны апарат
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Касьмічны карабель
भोजपुरी: अंतरिक्ष यान
brezhoneg: Egorlestr
català: Nau espacial
čeština: Kosmická loď
dansk: Rumfartøj
Deutsch: Raumschiff
Ελληνικά: Διαστημόπλοιο
español: Nave espacial
Esperanto: Kosmoveturilo
euskara: Espazio ontzi
فارسی: فضاپیما
Frysk: Romteskip
Gaeilge: Spásárthach
Gàidhlig: Fànas-long
한국어: 우주선
Bahasa Indonesia: Wahana antariksa
isiXhosa: I-Spacecraft
íslenska: Geimfar
עברית: חללית
Basa Jawa: Wahana antariksa
Latina: Astronavis
latviešu: Kosmosa kuģis
Lëtzebuergesch: Raumschëff
lietuvių: Erdvėlaivis
magyar: Űreszköz
Bahasa Melayu: Kapal angkasa lepas
Mirandés: Nabe spacial
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အာကာသယာဉ်
Nederlands: Ruimtevaartuig
日本語: 宇宙機
norsk: Romskip
norsk nynorsk: Romskip
پنجابی: خلائی گڈی
português: Nave espacial
Romani: Vimaan
Scots: Spacecraft
Simple English: Spacecraft
slovenčina: Kozmická loď
slovenščina: Vesoljsko plovilo
Soomaaliga: Dayax Gacmeed
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Svemirske letelice
svenska: Rymdfarkost
தமிழ்: விண்கலம்
татарча/tatarça: Ğälämi apparat
Türkçe: Uzay aracı
українська: Космічний апарат
اردو: خلائیہ
Tiếng Việt: Thiết bị vũ trụ
文言: 太空船
ייִדיש: קאסמאסשיף
粵語: 太空船
žemaitėška: Pluotmielaivis
中文: 航天器