Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!


Spaceflight covers topics related to human presence in outer space. Learn about weightlessness, astronauts and space tourism in this section.

How could a hotel orbit the Earth?

A new space race is on -- who will be the first to build a space hotel? One company has gathered 3 billion dollars to do just that. Find out what life in a luxury space hotel might be like.

Behind the X Prize

We know who won – top-runner SpaceShipOne. We know what the team receives for that accomplishment: $10 million and an obscenely gigantic trophy. But what about the story behind the contest? Learn about the rules, restrictions, red tape, test crashes, successful launches and the technological innovations that may get you into sub-orbit sooner than you think. See more »

How SpaceShipOne Works

It's launch time for the first privately funded space flight. In the course of battle for the X Prize, a group called Scaled Composites has built and tested SpaceShipOne, a sub-orbital spacecraft intended to carry tourists on the ride of their life. Learn all about the craft. See more »

How Project Mercury Worked

Project Mercury launched the first American into space. Have a look back at this historic mission. See more »

How Weightlessness Works

As the International Space Station astronauts return to Earth after a three-month stay, learn about the effects of weightlessness on the body. See more »

I would like to know how an astronaut, who is in a space suit for hours, can eat, drink and eliminate fluid- and solid-waste byproducts? What "mechanics" are built into the suit and how do they operate? See more »

How long can a human survive in outer space? In science fiction movies, this seems to be an area of much creative license, with some people exploding instantly, and others surviving for nearly a minute without long-term ill effect. I read once that one's blood would boil, but I read elsewhere that this isn't true. So what is it? See more »

How do I become an astronaut?

How do I become an astronaut? See more »

How Space Suits Work

Spacesuits are incredible devices that allow astronauts to work safely in outer space. Learn how spacesuits work and about the history of spacesuits. See more »

How Space Tourism Works

The space tourism industry offers people a way to take the ultimate vacation. Learn about space tourism and find out how you can become a space tourist. See more »

How does going to the bathroom in space work?

A bathroom in space requires unique engineering that is different from a bathroom on Earth. Learn about the features of a bathroom in space. See more »