Human spaceflight is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft.
A spacecraft is a vehicle, or machine designed to fly in outer space.
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Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to harbor life.
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The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR, was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed from 1922 to 1991.
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft.
The Vostok programme was a Soviet human spaceflight project to put the first Soviet citizens into low Earth orbit and return them safely.
Humans have been continually present in space for 7008503605364000000♠15 years and 350 days on the International Space Station.
All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft.
After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.
Since the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program.
The Soyuz programme is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon.
The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as part of the Space Shuttle program.
Russia, also officially known as the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eurasia.
Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed.
The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
A low Earth orbit is an orbit around Earth with an altitude between 160 kilometers, and 2,000 kilometers.
While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role.
The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry.
SpaceShipOne is an experimental air-launched rocket-powered aircraft with suborbital flight capability that uses a hybrid rocket motor.
NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services and Commercial Crew Development.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
Private spaceflight is flight beyond the Kármán line —or the development of new spaceflight technology—that is conducted and paid for by an entity other than a government agency.
Commercial Crew Development is a multiphase, space technology development program that is funded by the U.S. government and administered by NASA.
With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010, the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit.
The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers.
Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2017.