Comparison of NASA Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle spacecraft with their launch vehicles
Comparison of NASA Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle spacecraft with their launch vehicles

This is a list of NASA missions, both crewed and robotic, since the establishment of NASA in 1958. There are over 80 currently active science missions.[1]

X-Plane program

Main article: List of X-planes

Since 1945, NACA (NASA's predecessor) and, since 1958, NASA have conducted the X-Plane Program. The program was originally intended to create a family of experimental aircraft not intended for production beyond the limited number of each design built solely for flight research.[2] The first X-Plane, the Bell X-1, was the first rocket-powered airplane to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947.[3] X-Planes have set numerous milestones since then, both crewed and unpiloted.[4]

Human spaceflight

Main article: Human spaceflight

Discovery STS-120 launch, October 23, 2007
Discovery STS-120 launch, October 23, 2007
Astronauts Andrew Feustel (right) and Michael Fincke, outside the ISS during the STS-134 mission's third spacewalk.
Astronauts Andrew Feustel (right) and Michael Fincke, outside the ISS during the STS-134 mission's third spacewalk.
Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt standing next to a boulder at Taurus-Littrow.
Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt standing next to a boulder at Taurus-Littrow.
Astronaut Peter Wisoff on a robotic arm, 1993
Astronaut Peter Wisoff on a robotic arm, 1993

NASA has successfully launched 166 crewed flights. Three have ended in failure, causing the deaths of seventeen crewmembers in total: Apollo 1 (which never launched) killed three crew members in 1967, STS-51-L (the Challenger disaster) killed seven in 1986, and STS-107 (the Columbia disaster) killed seven more in 2003. Thus far, 163 missions were conducted without fatalities.

Program Start date First crewed flight End date No. of crewed
missions launched
Project Mercury 1958 1961 1963 6 First U.S. crewed program
Project Gemini 1961 1965 1966 10 Program used to practice space rendezvous and EVAs
Apollo program 1960 1968 1972 11[a] Landed first humans on the Moon
Skylab 1964 1973 1974 3 First American space station
Apollo–Soyuz 1971 1975 1975 1 Joint with Soviet Union
Space Shuttle program 1972 1981 2011 135[b] First missions in which a spacecraft was reused
Shuttle–Mir program 1993 1994 1998 11[c] Russian partnership
International Space Station 1993 1998 Ongoing 65 Joint with Roscosmos, CSA, ESA, and JAXA; Americans flew on Russian Soyuz after 2011 retirement of Space Shuttle
Commercial Crew Program 2011 2020 Ongoing 6 Current program to shuttle Americans to the ISS
Artemis program 2017 2023 (Ongoing) Ongoing 0 Current program to bring humans to the Moon again


  1. Apollo 1 was unlaunched due to a fire during testing that killed the astronauts, and is not counted here.
  2. Two Space Shuttle missions ended with disintegrations of the vehicles and deaths of two crews before reaching orbit and while returning from orbit.
  3. The Shuttle-Mir missions were all Space Shuttle missions, and are also counted under the Space Shuttle program missions in the table.


Further information: Constellation program

In May 2009, the Obama Administration announced the launch of an independent review of planned U.S. human space flight activities with the goal of ensuring that the nation is on a vigorous and sustainable path to achieving its boldest aspirations in space. The review was conducted by a panel of experts led by Norman Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin, who served on the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology under both Democrat and Republican presidents.[5]

The "Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans" was to examine ongoing and planned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) development activities, as well as potential alternatives and present options for advancing a safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable human space flight program in the years following Space Shuttle retirement. The panel worked closely with NASA and sought input from the United States Congress, the White House, the public, industry, and international partners as it developed its options. It presented its results on October 22, 2009.[6][7] [8]

In February 2010, Obama announced his proposal to cancel the Constellation Program as part of the 2011 Economic Projects. Constellation was officially cancelled by the NASA Budget Authorization Act on October 11, 2010 .


Further information: Artemis program

NASA brought the Orion spacecraft back to life from the defunct Constellation Program and successfully test launched the first capsule on December 5, 2014 aboard EFT-1. After a near perfect flight traveling 3,600 miles (5,800 km) above Earth, the spacecraft was recovered for study. NASA plans to use the Orion crew vehicle to send humans to deep space locations such as the Moon and Mars starting in the 2020s. Orion will be powered by NASA's new heavy lift vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is currently under development.

Artemis 1 is the first flight of the SLS and was launched as a test of the completed Orion and SLS system.[9] During the mission, an uncrewed Orion capsule will spend 10 days in a distant retrograde 60,000 kilometers (37,000 mi) orbit around the Moon before returning to Earth.[10] Artemis 2, the first crewed mission of the program, will launch four astronauts in 2023[11] on a free-return flyby of the Moon at a distance of 8,900 kilometers (5,500 mi).[12][13][14]

After Artemis 2, the Power and Propulsion Element of the Lunar Gateway and three components of an expendable lunar lander are planned to be delivered on multiple launches from commercial launch service providers.[15]

Artemis 3 is planned to launch in 2024 aboard a SLS Block 1 rocket and will use the minimalist Gateway and expendable lander to achieve the first crewed lunar landing of the program. The flight is planned to touch down on the lunar south pole region, with two astronauts staying there for about one week.[15][16][17][18][19]

Robotic missions


Earth and Heliocentric satellites

Main category: NASA satellites orbiting Earth

- Earth Observing System[23]

- Great Observatories

- High Energy Astronomy Observatory program

- Living With a Star

- New Millennium Program (NMP)

- Origins program

- Small Explorer program (SMEX)[33]

- Solar Terrestrial Probes program


See also: Exploration of the Moon

-Lunar Orbiter program

- Lunar Precursor Robotic Program (LPRP)

-Pioneer program

- Ranger program

- Surveyor program


See also: Exploration of Mars

- Mariner program

- Mars Exploration Rovers

- Mars Pathfinder

- Mars Polar Lander

- Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

- Mars 2020

- Mars Scout program

- Viking program


- Discovery Program

  • Deep Impact (primary) – EPOXI (extended)
  • Stardust – follow-up for Deep Impact's primary mission to 9P/Tempel
  • Lucy – launched October 16, 2021. Will fly by one main-belt asteroid and seven Jupiter Trojan asteroids.[37]

- New Millennium Program (NMP)

- New Frontiers program

Other planets

- Mariner program – Venus

- New Frontiers program

- Pioneer program

- Voyager program


- Living With a Star

- Solar Terrestrial Probes program

Planned missions

- Origins Program

- New Frontiers program

- Discovery Program

Canceled or undeveloped missions

Main article: List of NASA cancellations

- Origins program

Old proposals

- Mars Scout program

See also


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  16. ^ Grush 2019, "Now, for Artemis 3 that carries our crew to the Gateway, we need to have the crew have access to a lander. So, that means that at Gateway we're going to have the Power and Propulsion Element, which will be launched commercially, the Utilization Module, which will be launched commercially, and then we'll have a lander there..
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