Only three nations - Russia, the U.S. and China - have independently launched astronauts into orbit, though the pursuit of human and unmanned space exploration remains strong.

Swarms of rockets launch each year to send unmanned satellites and probes on their way, while NASA and its partner nations continue assemble of the International Space Station (ISS) with Soyuz and space shuttle flights. Meanwhile, a host of private enterprises are working to build their own vehicles to expand access to space to the fare-paying public.

Below is a collection of links pointing to SPACE.com?s coverage of historic launch and mission events, as well as a year-by-year archive of launches from around the world:

Jump Points:

  • Year-by-Year Launch Coverage
  • International Space Station Expeditions
  • Space Shuttle Missions
  • Private Spaceflight Features
  • Human Spaceflight Special Reports

International Space Station Mission Archives

Expedition 1 | Expedition 2 | Expedition 3 | Expedition 4 | Expedition 5 | Expedition 6 | Expedition 7 | Expedition 8 | Expedition 9 | Expedition 10 | Expedition 11Expedition 12 | Expedition 13Expedition 14Expedition 15Expedition 16


Launch Coverage

Click the links below for a year-by-year rundown of each major space launch:

2008 Launch Log

2007 Launch Log

2006 Launch Log

2005 Launch Log

2004 Launch Log

2003 Launch Log

2002 Launch Log

2001 Launch Log

Atlas 3 Inaugural Launch
The first U.S. rocket to be powered by a Russian main engine was launched by Lockheed Martin from the Cape in May 2000.

2000 Launch Log

1999 Launch Log.

Major ISS Construction Steps (in chronological order)

Space Station Begins: Russian Zarya Control Module Reaches Orbit
Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station (ISS), launched flawlessly at 1:40 a.m. (EST) on November 20, 1998, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazahkstan. The module unfurled its solar arrays after the successful launch.

A New Room: ISS Finds Unity
NASA?s STS-88 shuttle mission aboard the Endeavour orbiter delivered the U.S.-built Unity node to the free flying Zarya module in December 1998 to form the core of the International Space Station.

Proton Launches Zvezda
(July, 26, 2000) ?
After years of delays the Russians finally launched the Zvezda service module to the embryonic space station, clearing the way for NASA to begin an ambitious construction plan.

Truss-ing Up ISS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2000) -- Spacewalking astronauts waltzed through six hours of construction work at the International Space Station Sunday, whistling while they wired up a new metal truss at the orbital outpost. Full STS-92 mission coverage.

Discovery Spacewalkers Help Install New ISS Docking Port
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2000) - Two spacewalkers and a construction crane operator outfitted the International Space Station with a new shuttle docking port Monday, and that's good news for NASA's next two outpost assembly crews. Full STS-92 mission coverage.

Space Station Wired Up For Power
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2000) - Spacewalking astronauts wired up the International Space Station's new $600 million electric tower Tuesday, routing a crucial stream of direct current from its newly sprouted solar wings to the power-hungry outpost. Full STS-97 mission coverage.

Destiny Lab Opened for Business at ISS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2001) - The $1.4 billion U.S. Destiny lab opened for business at the International Space Station Sunday, cracking the hatch on a new era of scientific discovery that one day could lead to human expeditions beyond Earth orbit. Full STS-98 mission coverage.

Station Crane Erected During Spectacular Spacewalk
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (April 22, 2001) -- Two spacewalking astronauts raised a high-tech Erector set at the International Space Station Sunday, unfurling a Canadian construction crane during an otherworldly excursion that left both in awe. Full STS-100 mission coverage.

Quest Airlock Makes Orbital Debut as Astronauts Wrap Up Station Construction Work
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (July 21, 2001) -- Two Atlantis astronauts made fast work of a debut spacewalk from the International Space Station's new Quest airlock Saturday, taking time to stage a cosmic photo op after finishing up a successful week of construction work at the frontier outpost. Full STS-104 mission coverage.

Russian Pirs Docking Module Reaches International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2001) -- A barrel-shaped Russian docking compartment that will double as an airlock successfully attached itself to the International Space Station on Sunday.

S-Zero Truss Solidly Attached to ISS During Second Spacewalk of STS-110 Mission
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (April 13, 2002) -- The $600 million central truss segment carried into orbit by shuttle Atlantis became a permanent fixture of the International Space Station on Saturday after NASA's first pair of spacewalking grandfathers finished making the necessary structural connections. Full STS-110 mission coverage.

Mission Atlantis: S1 Truss Installed at International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2002) -- The International Space Station has a fresh look thanks to the successful attachment Thursday of the $390 million S-One (S1) truss to the orbiting complex. Full STS-112 mission coverage.

Mission Atlantis: New ISS Radiator Panel Deployed
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2002) -- A new heat-dispelling radiator panel was successfully extended at the International Space Station (ISS) early Monday, a good start to a busy day that is to see the final planned spacewalk of Atlantis' STS-112 mission. Full STS-112 mission coverage.

Endeavour Spacewalkers Wrap Up P1 Truss Outfitting
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2002) -- Trouble with the International Space Station's railroad car forced mission managers to re-plan Saturday's final spacewalk, but NASA officials said the astronauts were able to get everything done anyway. Full STS-113 mission coverage.

Spacewalkers Prime New ISS Solar Arrays for Deployment
HOUSTON (Sept. 12, 2006) ? The first new addition to the International Space Station (ISS) in more than three years is safely attached to the orbital laboratory thanks to two spacewalking astronauts and some precision robotic arm work. Full STS-115 mission coverage.

Astronauts Unfurl New Solar Wings at ISS
HOUSTON (Sept. 14, 2006) ? The International Space Station (ISS) unfurled a new set of solar wings Thursday despite a software glitch that cast early doubt on the entire activity. Full STS-115 mission coverage.

Spacewalkers Help Deploy New ISS Radiator
HOUSTON (Sept. 15, 2006) ? Despite a late start caused by airlock glitches, two Atlantis shuttle astronauts pushed through their mission?s final spacewalk to help deploy a vital new solar array radiator among other maintenance outside the International Space Station (ISS). Full STS-115 mission coverage.

Spacewalkers Add New Piece to Space Station
HOUSTON (Dec. 12, 2006) ? The International Space Station (ISS) grew a bit larger Tuesday after two spacewalking astronauts helped install a new piece of the orbital laboratory?s metallic backbone. Full STS-116 mission coverage.

Astronauts Rewire ISS, Fourth Spacewalk Set
HOUSTON -- Two spacewalkers working outside the International Space Station (ISS) shook a troublesome solar array late Saturday to help fold it away, but ultimately ran out of time during an extended spacewalk to finish rewiring the orbital laboratory. Full STS-116 mission coverage.

Astronauts Successfully Furl ISS Solar Wing in Extra Spacewalk
HOUSTON -- A reluctant solar wing is finally furled atop the International Space Station (ISS) after two spacewalking astronauts poked and prodded it with tape-covered tools. Full STS-116 mission coverage.

Spacewalkers Prime New ISS Solar Arrays for Action
HOUSTON -- Two astronauts primed the International Space Station's (ISS) newest solar wings for full operations Sunday during an extra spacewalk by NASA's Atlantis shuttle crew. Full STS-117 mission coverage.

Orbital Construction: Spacewalkers Add New Piece to Space Station
HOUSTON ? Two spacewalking astronauts added a new piece to the growing International Space Station (ISS) Saturday while engineers on Earth analyzed a U.S computer glitch and damage to the shuttle Endeavour. Full STS-118 mission coverage.

Astronauts Open Space Station's New Room
HOUSTON - Astronauts the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated the grand opening of their orbital laboratory's latest addition on Saturday to christen the hub-like node dubbed Harmony. Full STS-120 mission coverage.

Space Station Surgery: Astronauts Mend Torn Solar Wing
HOUSTON - Dangling on the end of a shaky robotic arm today, a NASA astronaut rescued a torn solar blanket and ensured the short-term future of the International Space Station (ISS). Full STS-120 mission coverage.


Space Shuttle Mission Coverage

Mission Endeavour: STS-123
Cmmanded by astronaut Dominic Gorie, Atlantis's STS-123 crew launched March 11, 2008 on a record-long 16-day mission to the International Space Station to deliver a Japan-built room and Canadian robot to the orbiting lab.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-122
Led by astronaut Stephen Frick, Atlantis's STS-122 crew launched Feb. 7. 2008 to deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station during a 13-day mission.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-120
Commanded by veteran spaceflyer Pamela Melroy, the seven-astronaut STS-120 crew delivered the Harmony connecting node to the International Space Station, moved old solar power segment and repaired a torn solar array during a 15-day mission.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Endeavour: STS-118
Commanded by veteran astronaut Scott Kelly, the Endeavour orbiter's 13-day STS-118 mission delivered more than two tons of cargo and a new starboard truss segment to the International Space Station in August 2007. Educator-astronaut Barbara Morgan, backup for Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, was among the crew.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-117
NASA launched the space shuttle Atlantis on an extended 14-day mission to the International Space Station on June 8. 2007. Atlantis's seven-astronaut crew delivered new starboard solar wings and retract an older solar array extending from the outpost's mast-like Port 6 truss.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-116
NASA closed out 2006 with the shuttle Discovery?s 13-day mission to deliver the Port 5 truss segment to the International Space Station, rewire the outpost?s power grid and retract one of two solar arrays extending from its mast-like Port 6 truss during a flight that featured four spacewalks and a one-astronaut station crew rotation.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-115
The six-astronaut crew of Atlantis? STS-115 mission jump-started construction of the International Space Station by installing two new portside solar arrays during three spacewalks conducted on the 12-day spaceflight.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-121
This 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) featured three spacewalks to complete NASA?s Return to Flight tests of new shuttle flight safety improvements and procedures. The mission also returned the ISS to a three-person crew complement and resupplied the orbital laboratory.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-114
NASA?s first shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia accident tested new shuttle inspection and flight safety techniques, and also resupplied and maintained the International Space Station during a 14-day flight.
Fixing NASA: SPACE.com?s Return to Flight Special Report

Mission Columbia: STS-107
A marathon 16-day science mission ended in tragedy when Columbia broke apart during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts. Our archives of this mission and the subsequent investigation is divided into two sections:
Pre-Launch and Mission Archive
| Landing and Investigation Coverage | Return to Flight Coverage

Mission Endeavour: STS-113
The P-1 truss was installed during this space station assembly mission that included three spacewalks.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-112
The S-One truss was installed during this space station assembly mission that included three spacewalks.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Endeavour: STS-111
The Expedition Five crew replaced the Expedition Four crew during this space station re-supply mission.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-110
The S-Zero truss and the Mobile Transporter were installed during this space station assembly mission.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Columbia: STS-109
A fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission featured five back-to-back spacewalks.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Endeavour: STS-108
The Expedition Three and Expedition Four crews exchanged places with the help of shuttle Endeavour.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-105
The Expedition Two and Expedition Three crews exchanged places with the help of shuttle Discovery.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-104
The U.S.-built docking module dubbed Quest was delivered and installed at space station Alpha.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Endeavour: STS-100
Canada's major contribution to the International Space Station program ? a robotic arm ? was carried into orbit, as was the Raffaello supply module.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-102
The first changing of the guard of flight crews took place at the International Space Station during this flight that also featured first use of an Italian supply module, in this case Leonardo.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-98
The $1.4 billion Destiny U.S. science laboratory was delivered to the International Space Station during this critical assembly mission in Earth orbit.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Endeavour: STS-97
With the Expedition One crew watching from inside the International Space Station, Endeavour's five astronauts deployed a new 240-foot-wide solar array just in time for the holidays.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Discovery: STS-92
NASA's 100th shuttle mission saw Discovery dock with the International Space Station during October 2000 to prepare it for its first occupants.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-106
NASA began an ambitious schedule of launching nine shuttle missions during the next 12 months with this September 2000 flight of Atlantis to the International Space Station.
Direct Link to Story Archive

Mission Atlantis: STS-101
The first crew in a year to visit the early station -- comprising only the Unity and Zarya modules -- delivered supplies and came home with ideas on making the station a nicer home.


Chronicling Private Spaceflight Missions

Bigelow's Second Orbital Module Launches Into Space
A privately-built space station prototype successfully launched into orbit Thursday from a Russian missile base, kicking off the second test flight for the U.S. firm Bigelow Aerospace.

Orbital Trek 'Beyond Wildest Dreams' for Space Tourist
American billionaire Charles Simonyi is reacquainting himself with gravity after a two-week voyage to the International Space Station (ISS); an orbital trip chock full of precious moments. Direct Link to Story Archive. Simonyi's Personal Spaceflight Chronicle

BLOG: Jeff Bezos? Blue Origin Reveals Rocket Launch Details
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin commercial space firm have debuted images and video of their first successful launch test.

Special Report: The New Space Race
The space playing field if ripe with contenders hoping to be the next big thing in private spaceflight.

Space Tourism: A Multimedia Special Report
Ride along with the ongoing efforts to bring spaceflight to the masses in this special report

UP Aerospace Rocket Crashes on Maiden Launch
The inaugural rocket from New Mexico?s Spaceport America crashed in the desert today after failing in its mission to reach sub-orbital space.

The Ansari X Prize is Won
SpaceShipOne, a privately-built suborbital piloted vehicle, won the $10 mission Ansari X Prize on Oct. 4, 2004 after launching two successful spaceflights within two weeks.

Now Boarding: Zero G Flights for the Public
The Zero Gravity Corporation has been given the thumbs up by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct "weightless flights" for the general public, providing the sensation of floating in space.

New $50 Million Prize for Private Orbiting Spacecraft
While a team of aerospace engineers takes aim this week on the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition for privately developed suborbital spaceflight, a Nevada millionaire is planning an even loftier contest.

The First Crewed Civilian Space Mission
SpaceShipOne already made history on June 21, 2004 with Mike Melvill being the first civilian to pilot a craft into space. It was a successful test run for the X Prize flights. SPACE.com covered the historic event with pictures and reports from the scene.

The Rise of Space Tourism
U.S. entrepreneur Dennis Tito made history by becoming the first tourist to pay $20 million to visit the International Space Station.


Special Reports

  • Anousheh Ansari: First Female Private Space Explorer Visits ISS
  • NASA's Space Shuttle Fleet Celebrates 25 Years of Spaceflight
  • Shenzhou Rising: Complete Coverage of China?s Second Manned Spaceflight
  • Gregory Olsen: Third Space Tourist Aims for Orbit
  • Making History: China?s First Human Spaceflight
  • Mark Shuttleworth's Space Adventure
  • First Space Tourist: Dennis Tito's Flight to Station Alpha
  • Fiery Finale: Mir Falls to Earth
  • Special Report: 40 Years of Human Spaceflight
  • Special Report: 20 Years of the Space Shuttle
  • Apollo 11: Man on the Moon
  • Apollo 12: Ocean of Storms
  • Apollo 13: Successful Failure
  • Thirty Years Ago: Apollo 14's Explorations Continue
  • A Tribute to Challenger: 15 Years Later
  • Five Decades in Space
  • Florida's Space Coast At 50

 

SPACE.com?s archive of special reports on a variety of topics