List of NASA missions

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All Saturn V launches, 1967–1973.
Dryden pilot Neil Armstrong standing next to the X-15 ship #1 in 1960.

This is a list of NASA missions, both manned and unmanned, since its establishment in 1958.

X-Plane program[edit]

Main article: List of X-planes

Since 1946, 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.[1] The first X-Plane, the Bell X-1, was the first rocket-powered airplane to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947.[2] X-Planes have set numerous milestones since then, both manned and unmanned.[3]

Manned missions[edit]

See also: NASA - Manned missions
Shuttle launch profiles. From left to right: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour.
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.

Human spaceflight[edit]

Main article: Human spaceflight

NASA has successfully launched over 100 manned flights. Two have ended in failure, causing the death of the entire crew: STS-51-L (the Challenger disaster) in 1986, and STS-107 (the Columbia disaster) in 2003. (Apollo 1 in 1967 lost three crew members but never launched.)

Program Start date End date No. of launched
crewed missions
Mercury program 1959 1963 6 First U.S. crewed program
Gemini program 1963 1966 10 Program used to practice space rendezvous and EVAs
Apollo program 1961 1972 11[a] Brought first human to the Moon
Skylab 1973 1974 3 The crewed missions only took place in 1973 and 1974; first American space station
Apollo-Soyuz 1975 1975 1 Joint with Soviet Union
Shuttle-Mir Program 1995 1998 9[b] Russian partnership
Project Constellation 2003 2010[4] 0 Cancelled program to bring humans to the Moon again, to Mars and beyond
Space Shuttle 1981 2011 135 First missions in which a spacecraft was reused
International Space Station 1998 On-going 44 Joint with Russia, Canada, ESA, and JAXA along with co-operators ASI and AEB


  1. Apollo 1 was unlaunched due to a fire during testing that killed the astronauts, and is not counted here.
  2. The Shuttle-Mir missions were all Space Shuttle missions, and are also counted under the Space Shuttle program missions in the table.

Airborne observatories[edit]

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (NASA/DLR) with open telescope doors, allowing engineers to understand how air flows in and around the telescope.

Fixed wing:

Program Start date End date Aircraft
Kuiper Airborne Observatory 1974 1995 Modified Lockheed C-141A
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) 2010 On-going Modified Boeing 747SP


Program Start date End date Aircraft
Stratoscope 2 1963 1971 Balloon-borne 36-inch (91.4 cm) reflecting telescope


On May 7, 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.

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.[5][6]

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 11 October 2010.

NASA brought the Orion MPCV 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 3600 miles 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, Near Earth Asteroids, 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. Orion's next flight, along with the first SLS flight, is slated to launch no later than November 2018, with the designation of Exploration Mission 1. This mission will send an uncrewed Orion capsule around the Moon. It will be succeeded by Exploration Mission 2, sending a crewed Orion spacecraft to an undetermined location in the early 2020s.

Unmanned missions[edit]


Earth satellites[edit]

- Earth Observing System[9]

- Great Observatories

- High Energy Astronomy Observatory program

- Landsat program[11]

- Living With a Star

- New Millennium Program (NMP)

- Origins program

- Small Explorer program (SMEX)[14]

- Solar Terrestrial Probes program


-Lunar Orbiter program

- Lunar Precursor Robotic Program (LPRP)

-Pioneer program

- Ranger program

- Surveyor program


- Mariner program

- Mars Exploration Rovers

- Mars Pathfinder

- Mars Polar Lander

- Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

- Mars Scout program

- Viking program


Other planets[edit]

- Mariner program – Venus

- New Frontiers program

- Pioneer program

- Voyager program


  • Genesis – returned sample of solar wind

- Living With a Star

- Solar Terrestrial Probes program

Planned missions[edit]

- New Frontiers program

- Origins program

Cancelled or undeveloped missions[edit]

- Origins program

Old proposals[edit]

- Mars Scout program

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dryden Historic Aircraft - X-planes overview". Dryden Flight Research Center. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  2. ^ "Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis"". Milestones of Flight. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  3. ^ "APPENDIX A; HISTORY OF THE X-PLANE PROGRAM". Draft X-33 Environmental Impact Statement. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ OSTP Press Release Announcing Review (pdf, 50k)
  6. ^ "No to NASA: Augustine Commission Wants to More Boldly Go". Retrieved 2015-07-14. 
  7. ^ "Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX)". NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  8. ^ "ATREX Launch Sequence" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "NPP Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  11. ^ Landsat Missions Timeline
  12. ^ "RBSP Mission Overview". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  13. ^ "RBSP". NASA/APL. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  14. ^ "Explorer Missions". NASA. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  15. ^ Clark, Stephen (2012-04-03). "Launch of NASA X-ray telescope targeted for June". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  16. ^ "NuSTAR". NASA. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  17. ^ "GRAIL Mission: Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  18. ^ "Juno Mission to Jupiter" (PDF). NASA. 04/09. p. 2. Retrieved April 5, 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ Karen C. Fox (2011-02-22). "Launching Balloons in Antarctica". NASA. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  20. ^ "Van Allen Probes: NASA Renames Radiation Belt Mission to Honor Pioneering Scientist". Reuters (Science Daily). 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  21. ^ "STP Missions". NASA. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  22. ^ "MMS Launch". NASA. 
  23. ^ "NASA Selects Science Investigations for Solar Probe Plus". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  24. ^ "Johns Hopkins APL Team Developing Solar Probe Plus for Closest-Ever Flights Past the Sun". JHU APL. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  25. ^ "NASA To Launch New Science Mission To Asteroid In 2016". NASA. Retrieved 2011-08-25. 
  26. ^ "JWST Home Page". NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  27. ^ "10-Year Plan for Astrophysics Takes JWST Cost into Account". 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 

External links[edit]