How many people are in space?

How Many People Are in Space Right Now is a single-serving site that manages to be depressing and awe-inspiring at once.

How Many People Are In Space Right Now? (via Making Light)


  1. I believe there’s a URL that shows how many consecutive days humans have been in space. Does anyone happen to know it?

    1. The number of consecutive days humans have been in space goes back the start of Expedition 1 on ISS.  The Wikipedia page on ISS – under “Days occupied” shows 4417 days as of Dec 6th.  Add two days for the time between launch (Oct 31st 2000) and arrival at the station (Nov 2nd 2000).

    1. These days the number is usually six.  But the Soyuz spacecraft have to be rotated home every six months.  One just returned, and a new crew of three will launch from Bailkonur on the 19th.

      The Chinese won’t raise the number very often until their mini-Mir is built a decade from now.  By then the first Bigelow Aerospace station should be operating.

    1. I highly doubt that there are people secretly in space. In response to the NRO, you do not need people in space to observe satellite imagery and it is far more cost effective just to use unmanned satellites than it is to send people into space in secret space stations. I don’t see why, if Bigelow Aerospace had already developed an orbital space complex, they would choose to keep it secret. It’s not exactly a great business strategy to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on something and just have it sit around in space not making any money.

      In conclusion, don’t be silly.

    1. I don’t care, but I am eagerly awaiting the day when SpaceX starts shipping their 80,000+ pioneers per year to Mars that they’ve been predicting lately. I was listening to the radio depressed today about Canada’s relatively small purchase of F-35 fighters which may be cancelled because the price tag is looking like it’ll be higher than expected, about $40 billion. For that price, SpaceX is willing to send about TEN MANNED MISSIONS TO MARS. [Although to be clear, I want to see colonization, not a more distant repeat of Apollo].

      Sad world we live in that a bunch of fighter jets are more a more enticing draw for tax dollars. The space industry needs to start hiring lobbyists out of the military industrial complex…

      1. While giving all due credit to SpaceX, our turkey of a space station is currently running well over the $100 Billion mark. Pardon me while I be HUGELY SKEPTICAL of the 10 mission/40 billion dollar number you just gave.

        1.  It adds a -lot- to the cost when you have to spread so damn much money around in so damn many Congressional districts.

          Elon Musk seems to get a lot more launch value per dollar in his political contributions than do Boeing, Thiokol, and the rest of the NASA-industrial complex.

          1.  What other guy?  The US has more firepower on one aircraft carrier than the next 13 most powerful nations combined, most of whom are allies. 

          2. But we’re not talking about the US are we? I thought OP mentioned Canada, and I’m in the UK :)

            Agree though, broadly, that far too much is spent on military, I was just pointing out that unfortunately we can’t stop spending on it altogether – but don’t get me wrong, I’d be first in line to sign the global peace treaty!

          3.  What other guy is planning an invasion of Canada? The idea is ludicrous. The one nation geographically capable of doing so, the United States, is first of all highly unlikely to do so short of some apocalyptic scenario, and in any case, the USA is so ludicrously armed that it would be impossible for Canada, a nation of equal size but a tenth the population, to match it jet for jet…

          4. Who exactly does Canada need to defend itself from? The US certainly could invade Canada, but obviously isn’t likely to anytime soon. 

            Any other nation that decided to would certainly be seen as a huge threat to the US, which would guarantee defence from the US.

          5. Yet, you’re the one insisting its necessary to invest in the jets.

            If Canada is not under any threat of invasion, and if the USA will undoubtedly defend Canada in the extremely remote case of invasion, why do they need to buy jets?

            This isn’t a matter of keeping up with the Jones, it’s a matter of security. If there is no threat, there is no need to spend absurd amounts of money on defence. 

          6. Listen, I have no idea how many jets Canada have, my one and only point was that military investment isn’t going to stop as long as there’s someone investing in their military.

  2. Is it more important that we have people in space, or that we have something for them to do up there? Because I’m a big fan of space research, and I’m darned if I can figure out much in the way of accomplishment from manned spaceflight in the last few decades, even as our unmanned space research has advanced by – if you will – giant leaps.

    The crime isn’t that we’ve only got three people in orbit; it’s that we’ve got zero people doing anything meaningful in orbit, a number that has been accurate at almost every point in recent memory – or, alternately, the crime is that we go to enormous expense to have any people in orbit, when we apparently have nothing for them to do up there.

    1. Really?  Nothing to do?  I guess if you don’t know what they’re doing, or if you don’t value it, then it must be nothing.

      1. A better way to make your point would be to tell us about all the valuable work that is going on up there.

      1. Someone more dedicated than me has probably already run the numbers on:

        – the cost of man-rating the shuttle and the ISS (Soyuz was pretty much amortized by the date of the first ISS occupancy) and the safety elements of each launch and recovery, crew selection and training, etc.


        – what it would cost to fly an automated version of every experiment and sensor that’s been flown on the ISS, with an allowance for expendability on non man-rated launchers.

        I have a hunch that the latter option would not lose, at least by very much.

        1. I think that’s an important point.

          It’s not that we can’t automate most of this stuff, but in some cases robotics and tech can cost a fortune – people are nearly free!

      2. I’m sorry, this isn’t really true. Yes, research projects are being done. But are they research projects worth doing? Are they being done because they are important and there is a demand for them, or are they just happening because something needs to be found to occupy the time of the ISS? I’m aware of a few ISS projects that impinge on my own area of research, and they are just laughably bad – I mean, they are literally running jokes. At the level of expense involved, they are not good jokes. This is hardly confined to my own area; the paucity of important findings from the manned space program is obvious compared to any other enterprise receiving a fraction of its funding, and ludicrous compared to the results from unmanned spaceflight.

        I believe in the importance of eventual space colonization. But we’re not going to achieve it by having a few people pointlessly spinning around the planet. If we want space colonization, we need to work on it here at home, developing better lifting capacities and technologies, better biospheres, etcetera. We aren’t going to get there by putting a few people in jumpsuits and pretending we’ve got something for them to do.

        1. Whether or not what they’re doing is worthwhile is for someone more qualified to say (perhaps yourself), I was just pointing out that they are doing /something/.

          I would imagine a large part of their purpose is to test the effect being in space has on the human body and mind, something we can only simulate on earth, and not particularly well from what I understand.

    1. By my count, there are 20.  8 are still intact, another 9 fell into the sun, and three were cremated in accordance with Martian mourning tradition.

  3. I think the website would be a little cooler if there was a counter for people on earth at the bottom.

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