A spacecraft (or spaceship) is a vehicle, vessel or machine designed to fly in space. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight, a spacecraft 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, while 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 currently on trajectories that leave our 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.

Currently, only twenty-four nations have spaceflight technology: Russia (Russian Federal Space Agency), the United States (NASA, the US Air Force, SpaceX (a U.S private aerospace company)), the member states of the European Space Agency, the People's Republic of China (China National Space Administration), Japan (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and India (Indian Space Research Organisation).

Spacecraft and space travel are common themes in works of science fiction.

Read more about SpacecraftHistory, Subsystems

Other articles related to "spacecraft":

TKS (spacecraft) - Missions - VA Spacecraft Test Flights
... Four flights with eight VA spacecraft without an FGB module were conducted to speed up the development of the TKS spacecraft Orbital test of a pair of two VA ... forty seconds into the flight on a suborbital test of two VA spacecraft ... On 1978-03-30 pair of two VA spacecraft Kosmos 997 and Kosmos 998 started jointly and reentered separately On 1979-05-23 pair of two VA spacecraft Kosmos 1100 and Kosmos 1101 that started jointly and ...
... is a small, washing-machine-sized, low-cost spacecraft developed by the U.S ... In other words, it would approach, investigate, and photograph other spacecraft in Earth orbit ... The spacecraft was also designed to test systems that would allow the spacecraft to maneuver autonomously ...
Spacecraft - Subsystems
... A spacecraft system comprises various subsystems, dependent upon mission profile ... Spacecraft subsystems comprise the spacecraft "bus" and may include attitude determination and control (variously called ADAC, ADC or ACS), guidance ... Life support Spacecraft intended for human spaceflight must also include a life support system for the crew ...
TKS (spacecraft) - Missions - TKS-1 (Kosmos 929)
... Kosmos 929 was the first flight of a "complete" TKS spacecraft (VA spacecraft with FGB), launched on July 17, 1977 – it was a "solo" test flight and was not destined for a ... The remainder of the spacecraft – the FGB – deorbited on February 2, 1978 ...
Taelon - Spacecraft
... Taelons use the same bioslurry for the construction of most of their spacecraft as they do for the construction of their buildings ... While most Taelon spacecraft, such as their shuttles and cruisers, are created from the same material as their embassies, there is a notable exception in the Taelon Mothership ...