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by Jos Heyman

WORLD SPACECRAFT DIGEST arose from the author’s personal need for a compact but comprehensive description of all spacecraft ever launched.

In spite of the availability of many good reference sources, including the now defunct TRW Space Logs, which provided descriptions of many spacecraft, no reference source provided such descriptions for all spacecraft.

WORLD SPACECRAFT DIGEST is divided in two parts:

  • Descriptions of each spacecraft ever launched; and
  • A series of tables listing spacecraft launched by individual countries classified by type, including a summary index of all spacecraft.

In gathering and recording the information for a database of this nature, a balance must be struck between the amount of information to be included and the amount of space for the database.

On one end of the scale there are the military spacecraft, for which, often, an objective can only be guessed, whilst on the other hand there are, for instance the Apollo and ISS programmes, which have been subject of many separate volumes of technical and historical information, not to mention the many academic papers which resulted from the scientific investigations undertaken by those programmes.

The author believes an acceptable balance has been achieved but apologises, in advance, for the omission of any information that the reader sought.


In collecting the information included in this database, many reference sources were consulted, including the publications prepared for the US Congress by the historians of the US Congress Library, the TRW Space Logs, RAE Table of Earth Satellites, The DRA Table of Space Vehicles, Spacewarn Bulletin and It was, however, not deemed appropriate to record the specific references to these sources, as well as other sources, with each specific spacecraft description.

However, acknowledgement must be made to the Defence Research Agency’s permission for the use of the orbital parameters published in the ‘RAE Table of Earth Satellites’ and ‘The DRA Table of Space Vehicles’.

In 2001 the descriptions of Kosmos satellites were revised based on work undertaken and published by Jonathan McDowell.

Thanks is also expressed to John O’Dwyer, from Perth, who researched and drafted the information on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

The majority of illustrations were obtained from obvious sources such as space agencies, manufacturers, organisations responsible for the respective satellites and launch vehicle operators and are, as far as is known, not subject to copyright. As such, the sources have not been recorded, except in special circumstances.

The author would welcome any additional information, comments and suggestions.

Jos Heyman



July 2016

Jos Heyman has passed away on 30th September 2016. This website will no longer be updated.