List of NASA missions

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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[edit]

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]

Crewed programs[edit]

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.
Astronaut Wisoff on a robotic arm, 1993

Human spaceflight[edit]

NASA has successfully launched 166 crewed flights. Three have ended in failure, causing the death of the entire crew: Apollo 1 (which never launched) in 1967 lost three crew members, STS-51-L (the Challenger disaster) in 1986, and STS-107 (the Columbia disaster) in 2003.

Program Start date First crewed flight End date No. of crewed
missions launched
Mercury program 1958 1961 1963 6 First U.S. crewed program
Gemini program 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 Test Project 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 1995 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 3 Current program to shuttle Americans to the ISS
Artemis program 2017 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. One Space Shuttle mission ended with destruction of the vehicle and death of the entire crew before reaching orbit.
  3. The Shuttle-Mir missions were all Space Shuttle missions, and are also counted under the Space Shuttle program missions in the table.


On May 7,[clarification needed] 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] [7]

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 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 planned to be the first flight of the SLS and will be launched as a test of the completed Orion and SLS system.[8] 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.[9] Artemis 2, the first crewed mission of the program, will launch four astronauts in 2023[10] on a free-return flyby of the Moon at a distance of 8,900 kilometers (5,500 mi).[11][12][13]

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.[14]

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.[14][15][16][17][18]

Robotic missions[edit]


Earth satellites[edit]

- Earth Observing System[21]

- Great Observatories

- High Energy Astronomy Observatory program

- Living With a Star

- New Millennium Program (NMP)

- Origins program

- Small Explorer program (SMEX)[31]

- 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 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.[35]

- New Millennium Program (NMP)

- New Frontiers program

- Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

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]

- Origins Program

- New Frontiers program

- Discovery Program

Canceled or undeveloped missions[edit]

- Origins program

Old proposals[edit]

- Mars Scout program

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "NASA Science Missions | Science Mission Directorate".
  2. ^ "Dryden Historic Aircraft - X-planes overview". Dryden Flight Research Center. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  3. ^ "Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis"". Milestones of Flight. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  4. ^ "APPENDIX A; HISTORY OF THE X-PLANE PROGRAM". Draft X-33 Environmental Impact Statement. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  5. ^ OSTP Press Release Announcing Review (pdf, 50k)
  6. ^ "No to NASA: Augustine Commission Wants to More Boldly Go". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  7. ^ "House Gives Final Approval to NASA Authorization Act". SpaceNews. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  8. ^ Foust 2019, "Artemis 1, or EM-1, will be an uncrewed test flight of Orion and SLS and is scheduled to launch in June of 2020."
  9. ^ Hill 2018, Page 2, "The first uncrewed, integrated flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft [...] Enter Distant Retrograde Orbit for next 6–10 days [...] 37,000 miles from the surface of the Moon [...] Mission duration: 25.5 days"
  10. ^ "Report No. IG-20-018: NASA's Management of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program" (PDF). OIG. NASA. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  11. ^ Hambleton, Kathryn (2018-08-27). "First Flight With Crew Important Step on Long-Term Return to Moon". NASA. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  12. ^ Hambleton, Kathryn (2019-05-23). "NASA's First Flight With Crew Important Step on Long-term Return to the Moon, Missions to Mars". NASA. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  13. ^ Hill 2018, Page 3, "Crewed Hybrid Free Return Trajectory, demonstrating crewed flight and spacecraft systems performance beyond Low Earth orbit (LEO) [...] lunar fly-by 4,800 nmi [...] 4 astronauts [...] Mission duration: 9 days"
  14. ^ a b Weitering, Hanneke (23 May 2019). "NASA Has a Full Plate of Lunar Missions Before Astronauts Can Return to Moon". Retrieved 28 August 2019. And before NASA sends astronauts to the moon in 2024, the agency will first have to launch five aspects of the lunar Gateway, all of which will be commercial vehicles that launch separately and join each other in lunar orbit. First, a power and propulsion element will launch in 2022. Then, the crew module will launch (without a crew) in 2023. In 2024, during the months leading up to the crewed landing, NASA will launch the last critical components: a transfer vehicle that will ferry landers from the Gateway to a lower lunar orbit, a descent module that will bring the astronauts to the lunar surface, and an ascent module that will bring them back up to the transfer vehicle, which will then return them to the Gateway.
  15. ^ Bridenstine & 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.
  16. ^ Bridenstine & Grush 2019, "The direction that we have right now is that the next man and the first woman will be Americans, and that we will land on the south pole of the Moon in 2024."
  17. ^ Chang, Kenneth (25 May 2019). "For Artemis Mission to Moon, NASA Seeks to Add Billions to Budget". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019. Under the NASA plan, a mission to land on the moon would take place during the third launch of the Space Launch System. Astronauts, including the first woman to walk on the moon, Mr. Bridenstine said, would first stop at the orbiting lunar outpost. They would then take a lander to the surface near its south pole, where frozen water exists within the craters.
  18. ^ Foust, Jeff (21 July 2019). "NASA outlines plans for lunar lander development through commercial partnerships". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX)". NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  20. ^ "ATREX Launch Sequence" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  21. ^ "Missions - Science Mission Directorate".
  22. ^ "NPP Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
  23. ^ "JWST Home Page". NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  24. ^ "10-Year Plan for Astrophysics Takes JWST Cost into Account". 2010-08-20. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  25. ^ "Jason-1". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13.
  26. ^ "OSTM/Jason-2". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13.
  27. ^ "Jason 3". Archived from the original on 2011-08-13./
  28. ^ "Landsat Missions Timeline - Landsat Missions".
  29. ^ "RBSP Mission Overview". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  30. ^ "RBSP". NASA/APL. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  31. ^ "Explorer Missions". NASA. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  32. ^ Clark, Stephen (2012-04-03). "Launch of NASA X-ray telescope targeted for June". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  33. ^ "NuSTAR". NASA. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  34. ^ "GRAIL Mission: Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  35. ^ "NASA, ULA Launch Lucy Mission to 'Fossils' of Planet Formation" (Press release). NASA. 16 October 2021. Retrieved 18 October 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  36. ^ "NASA To Launch New Science Mission To Asteroid In 2016". NASA. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  37. ^ "NASA's OSIRIS-REx Speeds Toward Asteroid Rendezvous". NASA. 2016-09-08. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  38. ^ "Juno Mission to Jupiter" (PDF). NASA. April 2009. p. 2. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  39. ^ Karen C. Fox (2011-02-22). "Launching Balloons in Antarctica". NASA. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  40. ^ "Van Allen Probes: NASA Renames Radiation Belt Mission to Honor Pioneering Scientist". Science Daily. Reuters. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  41. ^ "STP Missions". NASA. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
  42. ^ "MMS Launch". NASA. 2013-11-06.
  43. ^ "NASA Selects Science Investigations for Solar Probe Plus". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  44. ^ "Johns Hopkins APL Team Developing Solar Probe Plus for Closest-Ever Flights Past the Sun". JHU APL. Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-31.

External links[edit]