What is a Spacecraft?

Astronauts traveled on multiple spacecrafts to reach the space station. Engineers carefully evaluated every component in each craft.

Space can be defined as any place, or space can also be used more generally to refer to any object that lies beyond Earth and its atmosphere; stars for instance exist within this definition of the term.


Spacecraft are vehicles designed for travel and operation in outer space, such as satellites, probes, rovers, space shuttles or any other form of exploration vehicle such as spaceships or rockets.

Spacecrafts and spacecraften are nonstandard forms. When speaking of Atticus wanting to command a fleet of spacecrafts to Jupiter, grammatically correct sentences use spacecraft rather than its subordinate forms as multiple vehicles are already implied in one word; adding extra letters would only add unnecessary confusion.

Note that “space” here does not refer to a physical place but rather the near-vacuum between celestial bodies. While using it as an analogue for “the sky”, calling stars “in the sky” would likely be less common as sky provides more precise locations where these bodies may exist even when not visible to an observer – please see notes for further discussion of this matter.


Spacecraft has various synonyms and antonyms, such as lunar lander, planetary explorer, space probe and satellite. Each word’s definition may differ slightly but all pertain to vehicles capable of operating in outer space.

Spacecraft can be used both singularly and plurally as nouns. The standard plural form is spacecraft; however, some prefer spacecraften for clarity of meaning. Furthermore, this word may also be used to refer to groups of spacecraft, for instance a fleet. There is no official collective noun for spacecraft – you should select whatever best fits the context in which you use it.

Spacecraft is frequently associated with other words that share similar meaning, not necessarily synonyms or antonyms but which offer additional context to its definition. Below are examples of such related words, while you can discover even more using hypernyms; these help clarify its meaning by showing words which mean very similar concepts.


No standard noun exists to refer to spacecraft collectively, so any term that best describes their mission can be used. A common practice is referring to multiple spacecraft as “fleet of spacecraft”, though any noun used such as mission or orbiter or group would also suffice.

Multiple spacecraft were launched into space to explore our solar system’s planets. Scientists studied data gathered by these spacecraft.

Astronauts are trained to travel aboard spacecraft for scientific research. The Voyager spacecrafts were the first human-made vehicles ever to leave our solar system and explore space. Spacecrafts may also be called probes, satellites or rovers; depending on their configuration they may be either unmanned or manned and powered either by electricity or fuel; using aerobraking they can move through space using gravity; they can navigate and communicate with distant celestial objects as well.


Spacecraft are vehicles used to travel through space. Their main functions are exploration, communication and satellite deployment; however they may also serve other functions such as reconnaissance. A spacecraft could take the form of a rocket, satellite or rover.

Referring to multiple space vehicles is simple – no need for additional’s’s or different spelling (spacecrafts/spacecraften). Simply say something like, “Atticus wanted to command a fleet of spacecraft to Jupiter,” or, “Hey look at all those new rockets and rovers they have sent up there!” It will work just fine!

Stars may also be considered space objects if they have left Earth’s atmosphere, though this term is usually reserved for more distant celestial bodies. Planets are not usually considered part of this universe but technically can be. “In space” has become a cliche in pop culture to give unoriginal stories an inexplicably science fiction setting (Girl band in space,” “murder mystery set on a space station”, etc). Although not an official collective noun.

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