What Is a Spacecraft?

spacecraft synonym

Spacecraft are vessels specifically engineered for travel and operation in outer space, featuring life support systems, science instruments and accommodations for crew.

Some spacecraft are unmanned while others can carry people. Manned spacecraft are used to fly astronauts directly to the International Space Station and other planetary destinations while unmanned ones conduct scientific research.

Aldrin Cycler

(Nicknamed after Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin), this interplanetary spacecraft concept uses an innovative orbit to efficiently transport people, cargo, and taxi vehicles between Earth and Mars while using minimal fuel consumption. This feature is essential as interplanetary transfers require significant amounts of energy for acceleration before deceleration at their destinations.

The Cycler could bypass this problem by employing gravity assists as it approached Earth or Mars, to change velocity as it passed by each planet and save on propellant costs. Furthermore, using close observations and small probes dropped from it, it would also allow researchers to investigate distant stars at relatively low cost.


Spacecraft are vehicles designed for operation in space. Their design typically allows them to change their trajectory as needed – this is accomplished using various systems like traditional chemical rockets or advanced technologies like ion drives or nuclear engines.

Spacecraft must also survive the harsh environment of outer space. For this to be possible, environmental subsystems must be deployed to safeguard it against extreme thermal fluctuations and micrometeoroid bombardment.

Spacecraft must contain components necessary for their mission in space, including an optical scanner platform for observations and an effective control and command system to transmit data back to Earth.


Spaceships are vehicles designed to transport astronauts and cargo into space. They may be crewed or uncrewed vehicles and be either reusable like the Space Shuttle, or designed for one-time use.

Spacecraft are made up of various subsystems, such as attitude determination and control, guidance, navigation and control, communications, power generation, payload carriage as well as attitude determination and control systems. A payload may consist of science instruments, cargo or even humans aboard for their mission.

Future humans could live on distant planets in homes 3D-printed by Chinese engineers, breathing air filtered by American devices and powered by rocket fuel from Russian or Arab companies sourced by Russian or Arab companies – ultimately rendering nations obsolete – but for now spaceships remain our means of exploring our vast universe.

Space Probe

Spacecraft carrying sophisticated instrumentation but no crew (see space exploration). Like artificial satellites, they are launched into orbit around a planet but also capable of maneuvering on command via radio transmission from Earth.

Space probes use instruments to take pictures and collect samples from other planets or the outer space, with computers then translating this data back to Earth via radio signals. Some probes have even ventured beyond our solar system in search of comets and celestial bodies. Their missions range from studying atmospheres to measuring ion/electron densities, atomic temperatures and magnetic fields – among many more!


Satellites deliver news, weather and sports to millions of Americans and billions worldwide. Additionally, they connect IoT devices such as vending machines, connected cars and oil and gas pipelines with Internet of Things networks – giving millions access to news, weather and sports information 24/7.

Astronomers use the term satellite to refer to any lunar- or human-made object that orbits another larger celestial body, like Earth or a star. Since 1957, thousands of artificial satellites have been launched into space for various uses: collecting data about our skies, oceans and landmasses; monitoring volcanoes and wildfires for smoke emissions; even keeping an eye on other planets or stars! Where a satellite orbits is crucially important.


Spacecraft are vehicles used for travelling into space. Piloted or unpiloted spacecraft require complex systems in order to function successfully beyond Earth’s atmosphere, survive its extreme temperature extremes and return safely back home or another planet.

Onboard computers control attitude determination and control systems, navigation subsystems, communication subsystems, collect, process and interpret telemetry data collected during flight, manage high-level fault protection routines as well as performing other functions. They are also accountable for the Command & Data Handling subsystem (C&DH).

Manned spacecrafts must include a crew compartment and life support systems to meet international space flight standards. Some such as the Space Shuttle Orbiter are reusable while others like Buran-class spaceplanes are meant only for single use.

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