Talk:Robotic spacecraft

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WikiProject Spaceflight (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Robotic spacecraft:

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  • Expand : Section on control. Explain light-speed relevance. E.g. round-trip for signals to Voyager is now more than 26 hours, see Space probe. Sdsds 21:38, 22 March 2007 (UTC) (Sdsds - Talk) 23:55, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

all about space probe[edit]

If a space probe is a spacecraft that leaves earths orbit then how is Sputnik a space probe when it orbited Earth


Yeah.....I'm not saying I have the ability to do this myself, but then again I wasn't audacious enough to state that I knew the information in the first place... Where are the dates for the list of probes? Mercer5089 00:53, 20 January 2007 (UTC)


Should india not be listed on the countries at the beginning? It has now put an object into earth orbit, and if Luna 1 is counted, then surely india should aswell? --Chickenfeed9 20:09, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Merging space probe list[edit]

It seems like the list of notable space probes would make more sense in the space probe article. (sdsds - talk) 16:25, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Agreed, just on the merits of the terms. If we are going to maintain a distinction between space probes and robotic spacecraft, and have two articles in Wikipedia, then it would only make sense to merge this abbreviated list of Space Probes over to the Space probe article. Furthermore, there are no sources that indicate particular notability for this subset of all space probes. Appears to be wiki-redundant. N2e (talk) 14:28, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

What is the difference between "Space probes" and "Robotic spacecraft"?[edit]

I learned only today that their are two separate Wikipedia articles on unmanned space vehicles: Space probe and this one, Robotic spacecraft. I'm not sure I see the value of two articles, especially as currently described where their definitions seem to overlap (and be fuzzy). I thought it best to invite discussion before adding merge tags to the articles. What do others think? N2e (talk) 19:12, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

A space probe is a type of a robotic spacecraft, mainly to gather measurements. You are correct to request a discussion before merging the two articles, since they are both individual topics. Robotic spacecraft is the general term nowadays because we humans now have the ability to send more machinery into space in addition to what space probes used to be able to do. - Jameson L. Tai talkguestbookcontribs 19:56, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I think the distinction between a 'robotic spacecraft' and a 'space probe' is pretty redundant. It seems to me that any unmanned (uncrewed?) vehicle in space has to be 'robotic' in the sense of some degree of autonomy from ground control? I can see a distinction between a space vehicle in Earth orbit and a probe like Galileo etc, but even the the distinction is a fine one. Maybe it has more to do with the purpose of the vehicle? Sputnik could be defined as a 'probe' on that basis, whereas a communications satellite couldn't? Just a thought. (talk) 13:27, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Okay, in six months there have been only two comments, and no consensus. One thinks they are different, and one thinks the two terms are redundant. Bottom line: no one has provided a citation to a verifiable source that even attempts to define what a space probe is. If such a verifiable definition and initial cleanup of the Space Probe article is not done in the coming months, I will begin to challenge and delete the uncited claims in that article. Please feel free to help if you can find a source for just what a space probe is. N2e (talk) 03:49, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

A space probe is a spacecraft designed to probe something, or research something
An automated spacecraft is a spacecraft that is under local programmatic control
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft under local programmatic control or remote control, or has cybernetic components
A manned spacecraft may also be a robotic spacecraft, since the Space Shuttle has a robot arm. (talk) 06:11, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I suppose a communications satellite is a "robotic spacecraft", and not a "space probe". But it's not clear why this article should not be merged into simply "spacecraft". There are two kinds: manned, and unmanned. It seems odd to have three articles: Manned, unmanned, and (manned+unmanned). Mlm42 (talk) 00:25, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Proposed merger[edit]

I propose to merge this article into Spacecraft. Please Discuss here. Mlm42 (talk) 01:04, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Well I am okay with cutting down the article set we have today. And I never could understand the essential difference between robotic spacecraft and unmanned spacecraft. By definition and design, all unmanned spacecraft are robotic spacecraft, whether autonomous or telerobotically controlled, with the possible exception of a manually-controlled human-carrying spacecraft that has somehow lost its crew in space -- which would, I guess, make it an unmanned but non-robotic spacecraft.
So I support the merge, but in carrying out the merge, we ought not make the claim that all spacecraft are robotic spacecraft (at least not unless we have a source for the claim), as I believe a (very) few of the early spacecraft actually did need a human to manually control (some?) aspect(s?) of the spacecraft in space? Other examples that come to mind are the X-15, Spaceship One, etc. We can however just merge the meat of this article into sections on unmanned spacecraft, I would imagine. N2e (talk) 19:29, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that this article describes the "unmanned spaceflight". In German we differentiate between manned and unmanned spaceflight. While I reworked the article "unmanned spaceflight ([1])" I searched for an appropriate article in the english wikipedia. This article is the only one which could be compare with the german one (the first sentences, the list of robotic spacecraft, delete the chapter of "Design" and "Control", add all other satellites and thats it). I would suggest that you delete the redirect from "unmanned spaceflight" to "space probes" and copying lots of this content to the namespace of "unmanned spaceflight". Markus R Schmidt (talk) 19:02, 28 March 2011 (UTC)