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A space station is a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

 (most commonly in low Earth orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

) for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 by its lack of major propulsion
Spacecraft propulsion
Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the...

 or landing
Landing
thumb|A [[Mute Swan]] alighting. Note the ruffled feathers on top of the wings indicate that the swan is flying at the [[Stall |stall]]ing speed...

 facilities. Instead other vehicles transport people and cargo to and from the station. two space stations are in orbit; the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, and China's Tiangong 1
Tiangong 1
Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...

. Previous stations include the Almaz
Almaz
The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

 and Salyut series, Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 and most recently Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

.

Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. All space stations have been designed with the intention of rotating multiple crews, with each crew member staying aboard the station for weeks or months, but rarely more than a year. Since the ill-fated flight of Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11 was the first manned mission to arrive at the world's first space station, Salyut 1. The mission arrived at the space station on June 7, 1971 and departed on June 30, 1971. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for re-entry, killing the...

 to Salyut 1
Salyut 1
Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched by the USSR on April 19, 1971. It was launched unmanned using a Proton-K rocket. Its first crew came later in Soyuz 10, but was unable to dock completely; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days...

, all manned spaceflight duration records have been set aboard space stations. The duration record for a single spaceflight is 437.7 days, set by Valeriy Polyakov
Valeriy Polyakov
Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov is a former Russian cosmonaut. He is the holder of the record for the longest single spaceflight in human history,staying aboard the Mir space station for more than 14 months during one trip....

 aboard Mir from 1994 to 1995. , three astronauts have completed single missions of over a year, all aboard Mir.

Space stations have been used for both military and civilian purposes. The last military-use space station was Salyut 5
Salyut 5
Salyut 5 , also known as OPS-3, was a Soviet space station. Launched in 1976 as part of the Salyut programme, it was the third and last Almaz space station to be launched for the Soviet military. Two Soyuz missions visited the station, each manned by two cosmonauts...

, which was used by the Almaz
Almaz
The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

 program of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1976 and 1977.

Early concepts




Space stations have been envisaged since at least 1869 when Everett Hale wrote about a 'brick moon' in Atlantic monthly magazine. Space stations were also later envisaged by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was an Imperial Russian and Soviet rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory. Along with his followers the German Hermann Oberth and the American Robert H. Goddard, he is considered to be one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics...

 and Hermann Oberth
Hermann Oberth
Hermann Julius Oberth was an Austro-Hungarian-born German physicist and engineer. He is considered one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics.- Early life :...

.

In 1929 Herman Potočnik
Herman Potocnik
Herman Potočnik was an Austro-Hungarian rocket engineer and pioneer of cosmonautics . He is chiefly remembered for his work addressing the long-term human habitation of space.- Early life :Potočnik was born in Pola, southern Istria, Austria-Hungary...

's The Problem of Space Travel was published. This remained popular for over 30 years. In 1951, in Collier's weekly
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

, Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and in the United States after that.A former member of the Nazi party,...

 published his design for a wheel-shaped space station.

During Second World War German scientists researched an orbital weapon that could utilize the sun's energy. This so-called "sun gun
Sun gun
The sun gun was a theoretical orbital weapon that was researched by Nazi Germany during World War II.-History:In 1929, the German physicist Hermann Oberth developed state of the art plans for a space station from which a 100-meter-wide concave mirror could be used to reflect sunlight onto a...

" would be part of a space station orbiting Earth at a height of 5100 miles (8,207.6 km).

When Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

 landed on the Moon in July 1969, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 won the race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 to the Moon over the Soviet Union. This caused the Soviet Union to look for other ways to show their spaceflight capabilities.

Salyut, Almaz, and Skylab (1971-1986)



The first space station was Salyut 1
Salyut 1
Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched by the USSR on April 19, 1971. It was launched unmanned using a Proton-K rocket. Its first crew came later in Soyuz 10, but was unable to dock completely; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days...

, which was launched by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on April 19, 1971. Like all the early space stations, it was "monolithic", intended to be constructed and launched in one piece, and then manned by a crew later. As such, monolithic stations generally contained all their supplies and experimental equipment when launched, and were considered "expended", and then abandoned, when these were used up.

The earlier Soviet stations were all designated "Salyut", but among these there were two distinct types: civilian and military. The military stations, Salyut 2
Salyut 2
Salyut 2 was a Soviet space station which was launched in 1973 as part of the Salyut programme. It was the first Almaz military space station to fly. Within two weeks of launch the station had lost attitude control and depressurised, leaving it unusable...

, Salyut 3
Salyut 3
Salyut 3 was a Soviet space station launched on June 25, 1974. It was the second Almaz military space station, and the first such station to be launched successfully. It was included in the Salyut program to disguise its true military nature...

, and Salyut 5
Salyut 5
Salyut 5 , also known as OPS-3, was a Soviet space station. Launched in 1976 as part of the Salyut programme, it was the third and last Almaz space station to be launched for the Soviet military. Two Soyuz missions visited the station, each manned by two cosmonauts...

, were also known as Almaz
Almaz
The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

 stations.

The civilian stations Salyut 6
Salyut 6
Salyut 6 , DOS-5, was a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth flown as part of the Salyut programme. Launched on 29 September 1977 by a Proton rocket, the station was the first of the 'second-generation' type of space station. Salyut 6 possessed several revolutionary advances over the earlier...

 and Salyut 7
Salyut 7
Salyut 7 was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was first manned in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including a total of 12 manned and 15 unmanned launches...

 were built with two docking ports, which allowed a second crew to visit, bringing a new spacecraft with them; the Soyuz ferry
Soyuz 7K-T
The second generation of the Soyuz spacecraft, the Soyuz Ferry or Soyuz 7K-T, comprised Soyuz 12 through Soyuz 40 . Although still using the Igla system, these had no solar panels, employing batteries...

 could spend 90 days in space, after which point it needed to be replaced by a fresh Soyuz spacecraft. This allowed for a crew to man the station continually. Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

 was also equipped with two docking ports, like second-generation stations, but the extra port was never utilized. The presence of a second port on the new stations allowed Progress
Progress spacecraft
The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is...

 supply vehicles to be docked to the station, meaning that fresh supplies could be brought to aid long-duration missions. This concept was expanded on Salyut 7, which "hard docked" with a TKS tug
TKS spacecraft
TKS spacecraft was a Soviet spacecraft design in the late 1960s intended to supply the military Almaz space station. The spacecraft was designed for manned or autonomous cargo resupply use...

 shortly before it was abandoned; this served as a proof-of-concept for the use of modular space stations. The later Salyuts may reasonably be seen as a transition between the two groups.

Mir (1986-1998)



Unlike previous stations, the Soviet space station Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 had a modular
Modular design
Modular design, or "modularity in design" is an approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts that can be independently created and then used in different systems to drive multiple functionalities...

 design; a core unit was launched, and additional modules, generally with a specific role, were later added to that. This method allows for greater flexibility in operation, as well as removing the need for a single immensely powerful launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

. Modular stations are also designed from the outset to have their supplies provided by logistical support, which allows for a longer lifetime at the cost of requiring regular support launches.

ISS (1998-present)



The core module of the International Space Station was launched in 1998.

The ISS is divided into two main sections, the Russian orbital segment, and the United States operational segment (USOS).

USOS modules are brought to the station by the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 and manually attached to the ISS by crews during EVAs
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

. Connections are made manually for electrical, data, propulsion and cooling fluids. This results in a single piece which is not designed for disassembly.

The Russian Orbital (ROS) segment's modules are able to launch, fly and dock themselves without human intervention using Proton rockets. Connections are automatically made for power, data and propulsion fluids and gases. The Russian approach allows assembly of space stations orbiting other worlds in preparation for manned missions. The Nauka module of the ISS will be used in the 12th Russian(/Soviet) space station, OPSEK, whose main goal is supporting manned deep space exploration.

Russian Modular or 'next generation' space stations differ from 'Monolithic' single piece stations by allowing reconfiguration of the station to suit changing needs. According to a 2009 report, RKK Energia is considering methods to remove from the station some modules of the Russian Orbital Segment when the end of mission is reached for the ISS and use them as a basis for a new station, known as the Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex
Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex
The Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex ' is the planned Russian successor to the International Space Station, with the main goal of supporting deep space exploration.-Overview:...

. None of these modules would have reached the end of their useful lives in 2016 or 2020. The report presents a statement from an unnamed Russian engineer who believes that, based on the experience from Mir, a thirty-year life should be possible, except for micrometeorite damage, because the Russian modules have been built with on-orbit refurbishment in mind.

Tiangong (2011-present)



China's first space station, Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011. The unmanned Shenzhou 8
Shenzhou 8
Shenzhou 8 was an unmanned flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched on October 31, 2011 UTC, or November 1 in China, by a modified Long March 2F rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center....

 then successfully performed an automatic rendezvous and docking in November 2011. The manned Shenzhou 9
Shenzhou 9
Shenzhou 9 is a planned, probably manned flight of China's Shenzhou program that is scheduled for launch in March or April 2012, following the unmanned Shenzhou 8 mission in 2011. The aim of the mission will be to perform a docking with the Tiangong 1...

 and Shenzhou 10
Shenzhou 10
Shenzhou 10 is a planned manned spaceflight of China's Shenzhou program that is scheduled for launch in 2012. This conventional Shenzhou will carry a crew of three astronauts...

 are expected to visit Tiangong-1 in 2012. Two more space stations, Tiangong 2
Tiangong 2
Tiangong-2 will be a Chinese space laboratory, part of the Project 921-2 space station program. Tiangong-2 is expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency in 2013 to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011....

 and Tiangong 3
Tiangong 3
Tiangong-3 will be a Chinese space station module, part of the Tiangong space station program. The China National Space Agency is expected to launch Tiangong-3 around 2015, following the launch of the Tiangong-2 laboratory module in 2013...

 are expected to be launched in subsequent years, paving the way for the construction of a larger space station around 2020.

Habitability issues


These stations have various issues that limit their long-term habitability, such as very low recycling rates, relatively high radiation levels and a lack of gravity. Some of these problems cause discomfort and long-term health effects. In the case of solar flares, all current habitats are protected by the Earth's magnetic field, and are below the Van Allen belts.

Future space habitat
Space habitat
A space habitat is a space station intended as a permanent settlement rather than as a simple waystation or other specialized facility...

s may attempt to address these issues, and are intended for long-term occupation. Some designs might even accommodate large numbers of people, essentially "cities in space" where people would make their homes. No such design has yet been constructed, since even for a small station, the current (2010) launch costs are not economically or politically viable.

Possible ways to deal with these costs would be to build a large number of rockets (economies of scale), employ reusable rockets, In Situ Resource Utilisation, or non-rocket spacelaunch
Non-rocket spacelaunch
Non-rocket space launch is a launch into space where some or all needed speed and altitude is provided by non-rocket means, rather than simply using conventional chemical rockets from the ground. A number of alternatives to rockets have been proposed...

 methods such as space elevator
Space elevator
A space elevator, also known as a geostationary orbital tether or a beanstalk, is a proposed non-rocket spacelaunch structure...

s. For example, in 1975, proposing to seek long-term habitability through artificial gravity
Artificial gravity
Artificial gravity is the varying of apparent gravity via artificial means, particularly in space, but also on the Earth...

 and enough mass in space to allow high radiation shielding, the most ambitious historical NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 study, a conceptual 10000-person spacestation, envisioned a future mass driver
Mass driver
A mass driver or electromagnetic catapult is a proposed method of non-rocket spacelaunch which would use a linear motor to accelerate and catapult payloads up to high speeds. All existing and contemplated mass drivers use coils of wire energized by electricity to make electromagnets. Sequential...

 base launching 600 times its own mass in lunar material cumulatively over years.

Architecture


A space station is a complex system with many interrelated subsystems:
  1. Structure
  2. Electrical power
  3. Thermal control
  4. Attitude determination and control
    Attitude dynamics and control
    Spacecraft flight dynamics is the science of space vehicle performance, stability, and control. It requires analysis of the six degrees of freedom of the vehicle's flight, which are similar to those of aircraft: translation in three dimensional axes; and its orientation about the vehicle's center...

  5. Orbital navigation and propulsion
  6. Automation and robotics
  7. Computing and communications
  8. Environmental and life support
  9. Crew facilities
  10. Crew and cargo transportation

List of space stations


The Soviet space stations came in two types, the civilian Durable Orbital Station (DOS), and the military Almaz
Almaz
The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

 stations.

(dates refer to periods when stations were inhabited by crews)
  • Salyut space stations (USSR, 1971–1986)
    • Salyut 1
      Salyut 1
      Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched by the USSR on April 19, 1971. It was launched unmanned using a Proton-K rocket. Its first crew came later in Soyuz 10, but was unable to dock completely; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days...

       (1971, 1 crew and 1 failed docking)
    • DOS-2
      DOS-2
      DOS-2 designation given to a space station, launched as part of the Salyut programme, which was lost in a launch failure on 29 July 1972, when the failure of the second stage of its Proton-K launch vehicle prevented the station from achieving orbit, it instead fell into the Pacific Ocean...

       (1972, launch failure)
    • Salyut 2
      Salyut 2
      Salyut 2 was a Soviet space station which was launched in 1973 as part of the Salyut programme. It was the first Almaz military space station to fly. Within two weeks of launch the station had lost attitude control and depressurised, leaving it unusable...

      /Almaz
      Almaz
      The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

       (1973, failed shortly after launch)
    • Cosmos 557
      Cosmos 557
      Kosmos 557 was the designation given to DOS-3, the next space station in the Salyut program. It was originally intended to be launched as Salyut-2, but due to its failure to achieve orbit on May 11, 1973, three days before the launch of Skylab, it was renamed Kosmos-557.Due to errors in the flight...

       (1973, re-entered eleven days after launch)
    • Salyut 3
      Salyut 3
      Salyut 3 was a Soviet space station launched on June 25, 1974. It was the second Almaz military space station, and the first such station to be launched successfully. It was included in the Salyut program to disguise its true military nature...

      /Almaz (1974, 1 crew and 1 failed docking)
    • Salyut 4
      Salyut 4
      Salyut 4 was a Salyut space station launched on December 26, 1974 into an orbit with an apogee of 355 km, a perigee of 343 km and an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3, and unlike its ill-fated sibling it was a complete success...

       (1975, 2 crews and 1 planned crew failed to achieve orbit)
    • Salyut 5
      Salyut 5
      Salyut 5 , also known as OPS-3, was a Soviet space station. Launched in 1976 as part of the Salyut programme, it was the third and last Almaz space station to be launched for the Soviet military. Two Soyuz missions visited the station, each manned by two cosmonauts...

      /Almaz (1976–1977, 2 crews and 1 failed docking)
    • Salyut 6
      Salyut 6
      Salyut 6 , DOS-5, was a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth flown as part of the Salyut programme. Launched on 29 September 1977 by a Proton rocket, the station was the first of the 'second-generation' type of space station. Salyut 6 possessed several revolutionary advances over the earlier...

       (1977–1981, 16 crews (5 long duration, 11 short duration and 1 failed docking)
    • Salyut 7
      Salyut 7
      Salyut 7 was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was first manned in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including a total of 12 manned and 15 unmanned launches...

       (1982–1986, 10 crews (6 long duration, 4 short duration and 1 failed docking)

  • Skylab
    Skylab
    Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

     (USA, 1973–1974, 3 crews)

  • Mir
    Mir
    Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

     (USSR/Russia, 1986–2000, 28 long duration crews)


  • International Space Station
    International Space Station
    The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

     (ISS) (United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    , European Space Agency
    European Space Agency
    The European Space Agency , established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 18 member states...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    , and Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     2000–ongoing, 27 long duration crews as of April 2011)

  • Tiangong 1
    Tiangong 1
    Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...

     (China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , 2011–ongoing)

Space station Crew size Launched Reentered Days in use Total crew
and visitors
Visits Mass
Pressurized
volume
Name Image In orbit Occupied Manned Unmanned
Salyut 1
Salyut 1
Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched by the USSR on April 19, 1971. It was launched unmanned using a Proton-K rocket. Its first crew came later in Soyuz 10, but was unable to dock completely; its second crew launched in Soyuz 11 and remained on board for 23 days...


 
3 19 April 1971
01:40:00 UTC
11 October 1971 175 24 3 2 0 18425 kg (40,620.2 lb) 90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
DOS-2
DOS-2
DOS-2 designation given to a space station, launched as part of the Salyut programme, which was lost in a launch failure on 29 July 1972, when the failure of the second stage of its Proton-K launch vehicle prevented the station from achieving orbit, it instead fell into the Pacific Ocean...


 
0 29 July 1972
Failed to reach orbit
29 July 1972 0 0 0 0 0 18000 kg (39,683.2 lb) 90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 2
Salyut 2
Salyut 2 was a Soviet space station which was launched in 1973 as part of the Salyut programme. It was the first Almaz military space station to fly. Within two weeks of launch the station had lost attitude control and depressurised, leaving it unusable...


(Almaz 1)
 
0 4 April 1973 28 May 1973 54 0 0 0 0 18500 kg (40,785.5 lb)
Cosmos 557
Cosmos 557
Kosmos 557 was the designation given to DOS-3, the next space station in the Salyut program. It was originally intended to be launched as Salyut-2, but due to its failure to achieve orbit on May 11, 1973, three days before the launch of Skylab, it was renamed Kosmos-557.Due to errors in the flight...


 
0 11 May 1973 22 May 1973 11 0 0 0 0 19400 kg (42,769.7 lb)
Skylab
Skylab
Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...


 
3 14 May 1973
17:30:00 UTC
11 July 1979
16:37:00 UTC
2,249 171 9 3 0 77088 kg (169,949.9 lb) 283 m³
(10,000 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 3
Salyut 3
Salyut 3 was a Soviet space station launched on June 25, 1974. It was the second Almaz military space station, and the first such station to be launched successfully. It was included in the Salyut program to disguise its true military nature...


(Almaz 2)
 
2 25 June 1974
22:38:00 UTC
24 January 1975 213 15 2 1 0 18900 kg (41,667.4 lb)
(at launch)
90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 4
Salyut 4
Salyut 4 was a Salyut space station launched on December 26, 1974 into an orbit with an apogee of 355 km, a perigee of 343 km and an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees. It was essentially a copy of the DOS 3, and unlike its ill-fated sibling it was a complete success...


 
2 26 December 1974
04:15:00 UTC
3 February 1977 770 92 4 2 1 18900 kg (41,667.4 lb)
(at launch)
90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 5
Salyut 5
Salyut 5 , also known as OPS-3, was a Soviet space station. Launched in 1976 as part of the Salyut programme, it was the third and last Almaz space station to be launched for the Soviet military. Two Soyuz missions visited the station, each manned by two cosmonauts...


(Almaz 3)
 
2 22 June 1976
18:04:00 UTC
8 August 1977 412 67 4 2 0 19000 kg (41,887.8 lb)
(at launch)
100 m³
(3,530 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 6
Salyut 6
Salyut 6 , DOS-5, was a Soviet orbital space station, the eighth flown as part of the Salyut programme. Launched on 29 September 1977 by a Proton rocket, the station was the first of the 'second-generation' type of space station. Salyut 6 possessed several revolutionary advances over the earlier...


 
3 29 September 1977
06:50:00 UTC
29 July 1982 1,764 683 33 16 14 19000 kg (41,887.8 lb) 90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Salyut 7
Salyut 7
Salyut 7 was a space station in low Earth orbit from April 1982 to February 1991. It was first manned in May 1982 with two crew via Soyuz T-5, and last visited in June 1986, by Soyuz T-15. Various crew and modules were used over its lifetime, including a total of 12 manned and 15 unmanned launches...


 
3 19 April 1982
19:45:00 UTC
7 February 1991 3,216 816 26 12 15 19000 kg (41,887.8 lb) 90 m³
(3,180 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...


  /  
3 19 February 1986
21:28:23 UTC
23 March 2001
05:50:00 UTC
5,511 4,594 137 39 68 124340 kg (274,122.8 lb) 350 m³ (12,360 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
ISS
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...


  /   / ESA /   /  
6 20 November 1998 Currently in orbit 216 76 53 417289 kg (919,964.8 lb) 907 m³ (32,030 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Tiangong 1
Tiangong 1
Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...


 
3 29 September 2011
13:16:03.507 UTC
Currently in orbit 0 0 0 1 8506 kg (18,752.5 lb) 15 m³ (530 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)

Prototypes

Space station Crew size Launched Reentered Days in use Total crew
and visitors
Visits Mass
Pressurized
volume
Name Image In orbit Occupied Manned Unmanned
Genesis I 
(Private)
0 12 July 2006 Currently in orbit 0 0 0 0 1360 kilogram 11.5 m³ (406 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)
Genesis II
Genesis II
Genesis II is a 1973 American TV film created and produced by Gene Roddenberry and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey.It opens with the line, "My name is Dylan Hunt...


(Private)
0 28 June 2007 Currently in orbit 0 0 0 0 1360 kilogram 11.5 m³ (406 ft³
Cubic foot
The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

)

  • ISS statistics as of 9 December 2009

Canceled projects

  • United States Air Force
    United States Air Force
    The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

     Manned Orbiting Laboratory
    Manned Orbiting Laboratory
    The Manned Orbiting Laboratory , originally referred to as the Manned Orbital Laboratory, was part of the United States Air Force's manned spaceflight program, a successor to the cancelled Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar military reconnaissance space plane project...

     project, canceled in 1969 about a year before the first planned test flight; this was unusual in being an explicitly military project, as opposed to the Soviet Almaz
    Almaz
    The Almaz program was a series of military space stations launched by the Soviet Union under cover of the civilian Salyut DOS-17K program after 1971....

     program, which was heavily intertwined with, and concealed by, the contemporaneous Salyut program.



  • A second Skylab unit (Skylab B
    Skylab B
    Skylab B was a proposed second US space station similar to Skylab that was planned to be launched by NASA for different purposes, mostly involving the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, but was canceled due to lack of funding. Two Skylab modules were built in 1970 by McDonnell Douglas for the Skylab...

    ) was manufactured, as a backup article; due to the high costs of providing launch vehicles, and a desire by NASA to cease Saturn and Apollo operations in time to prepare for the Space Shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

     coming into service, it was never flown. The hull can now be seen in the National Air and Space Museum
    National Air and Space Museum
    The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and...

    , in Washington DC, where it is a popular tourist attraction.

  • A number of additional Salyuts were produced, as backups or as flight articles that were later canceled.

  • The U.S. Space Station Freedom
    Space Station Freedom
    Space Station Freedom was a NASA project to construct a permanently manned Earth-orbiting space station in the 1980s. Although approved by then-president Ronald Reagan and announced in the 1984 State of the Union Address, Freedom was never constructed or completed as originally designed, and after...

     program, which, despite being under development for ten years, was never launched, evolved into the International Space Station

  • The Soviet/Russian Mir-2
    Mir-2
    Mir-2 was a space station project begun in February 1976. Some of the modules built for Mir-2 have been incorporated into the International Space Station . The project underwent many changes, but was always based on the DOS-8 base block space station core module, built as a back-up to the DOS-7...

     station, which was never constructed, had some of its elements incorporated into the International Space Station.

  • The Industrial Space Facility was a station proposed in the 1980s that was to be privately funded. The project was canceled when the company created to build it, Space Industries Incorporated
    Space Industries Incorporated
    Space Industries Incorporated was a company formed in the 1980s for the purpose of building a privately owned space station, which was to be called the Industrial Space Facility...

    , was unable to secure funding from the United States government.

  • The European Columbus
    Columbus (spacecraft)
    The Columbus Man-Tended Free Flyer was a European Space Agency program to develop a space station that could be used for a variety of microgravity experiments while serving ESA's needs for an autonomous manned space platform...

     project planned to create a small space station serviced by the Hermes
    Hermes (shuttle)
    Hermes was a proposed spaceplane designed by the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales in 1975, and later by the European Space Agency. It was superficially similar to the US X-20. France proposed in January 1985 to go through with Hermes development under the auspices of the ESA. Hermes was...

     shuttle. It evolved into the ISS Columbus
    Columbus (ISS module)
    Columbus is a science laboratory that is part of the International Space Station and is the largest single contribution to the ISS made by the European Space Agency ....

     module.

Future developments

  • The People's Republic of China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

     is expected to launch two more space labs called Tiangong 2
    Tiangong 2
    Tiangong-2 will be a Chinese space laboratory, part of the Project 921-2 space station program. Tiangong-2 is expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency in 2013 to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011....

     and Tiangong 3
    Tiangong 3
    Tiangong-3 will be a Chinese space station module, part of the Tiangong space station program. The China National Space Agency is expected to launch Tiangong-3 around 2015, following the launch of the Tiangong-2 laboratory module in 2013...

     before 2016. It will then launch a three module 60-ton space station by 2022. Project 921-2
    Project 921-2
    Tiangong is a space station program of the People's Republic of China, with the goal of creating a third generation space station, comparable to MIR. This program is autonomous and unconnected to any other international space-active countries...

     is the working name given by the People's Republic of China for plans to create a manned space station. The public is being asked to submit suggestions for names and symbols to adorn the space station.

  • U.S.
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     company Bigelow Aerospace
    Bigelow Aerospace
    Bigelow Aerospace is a North Las Vegas, Nevada space technology startup company that is pioneering work on expandable space station modules. Bigelow Aerospace was founded by Robert Bigelow in 1998...

     is developing the Bigelow Commercial Space Station
    Bigelow Commercial Space Station
    The Bigelow Next-Generation Commercial Space Station is a private orbital space complex currently under development by Bigelow Aerospace. The space station will be constructed of both Sundancer and BA 330 expandable spacecraft modules as well as a central docking node, propulsion, solar arrays,...

    , a private
    Private spaceflight
    Private spaceflight is flight above Earth altitude conducted by and paid for by an entity other than a government. In the early decades of the Space Age, the government space agencies of the Soviet Union and United States pioneered space technology augmented by collaboration with affiliated design...

     orbital complex. Bigelow proposes to construct the space station using both Sundancer
    Sundancer
    Sundancer is the proposed third prototype space habitat to be launched by Bigelow Aerospace and the first human-rated expandable module based on TransHab technology acquired from NASA...

     and BA 330 expandable spacecraft modules as well as a central docking node
    Docking Compartment
    International Space Station modules:* Docking Compartment 1 * Docking Compartment 2 Other docking modules of the Russian Orbital Segment:* Docking and Cargo Module , implementing the Docking and Stowage Module...

    , propulsion
    Spacecraft propulsion
    Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the...

    , solar arrays
    Solar panels on spacecraft
    Spacecraft operating in the inner solar system usually rely on the use of photovoltaic solar panels to derive electricity from sunlight. In the outer solar system, where the sunlight is too weak to produce sufficient power, radioisotope thermal generators are used as a power source.-History:The...

    , and attached crew capsules
    Space capsule
    A space capsule is an often manned spacecraft which has a simple shape for the main section, without any wings or other features to create lift during atmospheric reentry....

    . Initial launch of space station components is planned for 2014, with portions of the station available for leased use as early as 2015. Bigelow began to publicly refer to the initial configuration—two Sundancer modules and one BA-330 module—of the first Bigelow station as Space Complex Alpha in October 2010. A second orbital station—Space Complex Bravo—is scheduled to begin launches in 2016. , the launches for Space Complex Alpha have been contracted to launch on Atlas V
    Atlas V
    Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

     and Falcon 9
    Falcon 9
    Falcon 9 is a rocket-powered spaceflight launch system designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Both stages of its two-stage-to-orbit vehicle use liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellants...

     launch vehicles, from Cape Canaveral
    Cape Canaveral
    Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

    , starting in 2014.

  • In April 2008, the Russian space agency proposed the construction of an orbital construction yard
    Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex
    The Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex ' is the planned Russian successor to the International Space Station, with the main goal of supporting deep space exploration.-Overview:...

     for spacecraft too heavy to launch from Earth directly. It would not begin construction or be finished until after the decommissioning of the International Space Station. This plan was described to ISS partners by Anatoly Perminov
    Anatoly Perminov
    Dr. Prof. Anatoly Nikolayevich Perminov is a Russian rocket scientist and a mechanical engineer. He served as the General Director of Russian Federal Space Agency in 2004–2011.-Career:...

     June 17, 2009.

  • Galactic Suite
    Galactic Suite
    Galactic Suite Design is an aerospace design company based in Barcelona, Spain. The company develops concepts, design and interiors of habitats and vehicles...

     is the design of a space hotel, which was initially "wished" to be operational by 2012.

  • The Orbital Technologies Commercial Space Station
    Orbital Technologies Commercial Space Station
    The Orbital Technologies Commercial Space Station is an orbital space station intended for commercial clients. The station was proposed in 2010 by Orbital Technologies, a Russian aerospace firm, who is collaborating to develop the station with Rocket and Space Corporation Energia .As proposed, the...

     is a project of a Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

    n corporation (Orbital Technologies). The CSS is intended to accommodate diverse functions such as:
    • Enabling space-based microgravity research.
    • Providing a destination for commercial human spaceflight, space tourism, and state sponsored human spaceflight programs.
    • Acting as a backup and emergency safe haven for the International Space Station and its crew.
    • Enabling product development.
    • Facilitating satellite servicing and maintenance.
    • Providing a staging outpost for human space flight missions beyond low Еarth orbit.
    • Supplying a uniquely capable remote sensing platform.


The business arrangement for developing and marketing the station was recently clarified by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n firm Orbital Technologies, who is collaborating to develop the station with the Rocket and Space Technology Corporation Energia
S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia
OAO S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia , also known as RKK Energiya, is a Russian manufacturer of spacecraft and space station components...

 (RSC Energia).

  • Excalibur Almaz, an international company based in the Isle of Man in the UK and headed by Arthur Dula, is developing a system integrated by a reusable space vehicle and a space station based on the technology of the Soviet military stations "Almaz". In this efforts, Excalibur-Almaz is co-working with a Russian corporation with a large tradition in aerospace technology, the military-industrial association "Mashinostroyenia".

See also


  • Kerim Kerimov
    Kerim Kerimov
    Lieutenant-General Kerim Aliyevich Kerimov was an Azerbaijani-Soviet/Russian aerospace engineer and a renowned rocket scientist, one of the founders of the Soviet space industry, and for many years a central figure in the Soviet space program. Despite his prominent role, his identity was kept a...

    , lead architect behind earliest space stations
  • Lunar outpost
    Lunar outpost (NASA)
    A lunar outpost was an element of the George W. Bush era Vision for Space Exploration, which has been replaced with President Barack Obama's space policy. The outpost would have been an inhabited facility on the surface of the Moon. At the time it was proposed, NASA was to construct the outpost...

  • Lunar space elevator
    Lunar space elevator
    A lunar space elevator is a proposed cable running from the surface of the Moon into space.It is similar in concept to the better known Earth space elevator idea...

  • Martian outpost
  • Propellant depot
    Propellant depot
    An orbital propellant depot is a cache of propellant that is placed on an orbit about the Earth or another body to allow spacecraft to be fuelled in space. Launching a spacecraft separately from some of its propellant enables missions with more massive payloads...

    , future space station complexes may permit spacecraft to refuel
  • Rotating wheel space station
    Rotating wheel space station
    A rotating wheel space station is a hypothetical wheel-shaped space station that could create artificial gravity by rotating. If the station were rotated, inertia and the centripetal force would cause objects to press against the outer rim of the "wheel"; in the rotating frame of reference of the...

  • Timeline of Solar System exploration
    Timeline of solar system exploration
    This is a timeline of Solar System exploration ordered by date of spacecraft launch. It includes:*All spacecraft that have left Earth orbit for the purposes of Solar System exploration , including lunar probes....


External links