Most Extreme Human Spaceflight Records
Longest, fastest, biggest: We've got the space records right here. Above: The International Space Station owns some of the records.
John Glenn flew on space shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in October 1998, aged 77! Having been the first American to orbit the Earth back in February 1962, that second flight gave him another record, the longest time between trips to space--36 years.
Fictional Wesley Crusher does not qualify as the youngest person in space; rather the title goes to cosmonaut Gherman Titov (at right), a month shy of 26 years old when he launched aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok 2 in August 1961.
Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent nearly 438 consecutive days aboard the Mir space station, from January 1994 to March 1995.
Alan Shepard's May 5, 1961, spaceflight was the first for an American. Also, Shepard achieved a less-celebrated record on that day: briefest human spaceflight mission, of only 15-minutes' duration.
In April 1970, NASA's ill-fated Apollo 13 capsule swung around the far side of the moon at an altitude of 158 miles (254 km), putting the astronauts 248,655 miles (400,171 km) away from Earth. It's the farthest our species has ever been from our home planet.
Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev holds this record, with a little more than 803 days accrued over six spaceflights. That's more than two years and two months spent zipping around the Earth.
This record belongs to the International Space Station, and it grows every day. The $100 billion (see the Most Expensive Spaceship) orbiting lab has held occupants since Nov. 2, 2000.
The STS-80 mission of space shuttle Columbia began on Nov. 19, 1996, and owing to delays lasted nearly 17 days and 16 hours in space, the record for a shuttle mission.
In December 1972, Harrison Schmidt and Eugene Cernan of NASA's Apollo 17 mission spent just under 75 hours, more than three days, on the surface of the moon. Apollo 17 also marked the last time people traveled to the moon, or even went past low-Earth orbit.
The crew of NASA's Apollo 10 moon mission reached a top speed of 24,791 mph (39,897 kph) relative to Earth as they rocketed back to our planet on May 26, 1969. That's the fastest any human beings have traveled.
Franklin Chang-Diaz (shown) and Jerry Ross both went to space seven times aboard NASA's space shuttles. Chang-Diaz made his flights between 1986 and 2002, while Ross made his between 1985 and 2002.
During NASA's STS-127 shuttle mission aboard Endeavour in 2009, the shuttle's seven-person crew docked, then went aboard the International Space Station, joining the six spaceflyers already there. The 13-person party was the largest-ever gathering of people in space at the same time. The record has been matched since then. (Only nine of the spaceflyers are pictured here.)
On March 11, 2001, NASA astronauts Jim Voss and Susan Helms spent 8 hours and 56 minutes outside the space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station during the STS-102 mission, performing some maintenance work and preparing the orbiting lab for the arrival of another module.
Four women sped around the world in space at the same time in April 2010. NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson traveled to the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spaceship. She was soon joined on the orbiting lab by NASA astronauts Stephanie Wilson and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Japan's Naoko Yamazaki, who made the trip aboard the space shuttle Discovery on its STS-131 mission.
The International Space Station has cost $100 billion to date, making the station not not only the most expensive spaceship, but also the most expensive single structure ever built.
The International Space Station sets this record. The space station is so large that it can easily be seen by the unaided eye from the ground (under the right conditions). It measures about 357.5 feet (109 meters) across. There are huge solar arrays at each end of the truss, and they have a wingspan of 239.4 feet (73 m).