Most Extreme Human Spaceflight Records

World Records for Humans in Space

STS-133 Shuttle Crew, NASA

Longest, fastest, biggest: We've got the space records right here. Above: The International Space Station owns some of the records.

Oldest Person in Space


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.

Youngest Person in Space


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.

Most Consecutive Days in Space


Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent nearly 438 consecutive days aboard the Mir space station, from January 1994 to March 1995.

Shortest Spaceflight Mission


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.

Farthest Trip from Earth

NASA/Andrew Chaikin.

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.

Most Total Time Spent in Space

NASA/Roscosmos/Element 21.

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.

Longest Continuously Inhabited Spacecraft


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.

Longest Space Shuttle Mission


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.

Most Time on the Moon


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.

Fastest Human Spaceflight


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.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.