The Coolest Spaceships in Science Fiction

By: Jim Halden
A man ascending into a spaceship.
Sci-fi movies have given us some incredible depictions of spaceships that were out of this world. Colin Anderson Productions pty l / Getty Images

We like to think that we aren’t alone in saying a spaceship was the one and only thing we truly yearned for as children. After all, many spent years locked in front of a television, captivated by remarkable space battles, galaxies far, far away, aliens, black holes, and the like.

We’ve seen things you couldn’t believe, man. All of it possible thanks to the amazing technology located in whichever spaceship was carrying our fragile heroes on their quest to better the galaxy, universe, or even lonely little planet Earth. Whatever the mission, we trusted the spaceship to get our heroes where they needed to be — and fast.


Eagle 5

It’s important to remember that while spaceships are really, really cool, they can also be funny. That’s why the Eagle 5 makes the list.

The Eagle 5 is the chosen craft of the heroes Lone Starr and Barf in Spaceballs, the Mel Brooks-directed spoof of Star Wars. It’s a 1986 Winnebago Chieftan 33 modified for space travel by attaching jet engines and wings to the rickety carriage.


Featuring a periscope, hyper jets and a swanky rear projection TV in the cockpit, the Eagle 5 is the spaceship we never really wanted. However, we would take if it was passed down to us by an underwhelming uncle.

The Heart of Gold

We’re veering briefly back into the comedic realm of space-faring for a moment. If only because it would’ve been impossible to create a list like this without including the bizarre and absurd, yet also insanely cool Heart of Gold. This is the Improbability-ridden vessel from the 2005 adaptation of Douglas Adam’s beloved science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, the Heart of Gold is a ship that can, according to the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide, “[pass] through every conceivable point in every conceivable universe almost simultaneously.” This results in alarming speed, but some very prominent side-effects that dissipate shortly after the drive has been turned off. For example, you could be turned into a ball of yarn on the way.


While the 2005 adaptation of Adam’s novel was not universally acclaimed, its depiction of the Heart of Gold and its Improbability Drive was spot on.

X-Wing Fighter

Ahhhh, finally. We’ve reached the Star Wars point on our list, in what is the first (but not the last) appearance by a spacecraft from the acclaimed space opera.

The X-Wing is the primary dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy and the Resistance in the sequel trilogy. This iconic spaceship design exists in stark contrast to the TIE Fighter used by the Galactic Empire and First Order.


The X-Wing is equipped with four laser cannons and a photon torpedo chamber. Moreover, it contains a space for an astromech droid like R2-D2 to assist in navigation and combat.

Discovery 1

We wanted to make sure we branched out from your standard science fiction fare when choosing crafts for this list. Therefore, we chose the Discover 1 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as the ship to do just that.

A slow-moving interplanetary ship powered by nuclear fission, the Discovery 1 is a pretty harsh juxtaposition from the fast-moving combat-oriented ships that make up the majority of this list. However, that doesn’t mean the Discovery 1 isn’t cool. Rather, if you removed one slightly murderous artificial intelligence system from power, it’d probably be a really swell place to spend a journey to Jupiter. Its got a spacious cabin, stylish minimalist design, and suspended animation chambers to help to speed up the trip).



While most of the ships on this list represent some semblance of hope, adventure, and opportunity, this one’s a bit more dour. In many ways, the Nostromo, as depicted in Alien, acts as a prison. It’s a horrific enclosure that represents an impossible escape from the Xenomorphs.

The Nostromo succeeds in creating an atmosphere of terror with its dark colors, sweating pipes, and labyrinth of hallways. Its iconic design resembles a city far more than a spaceship. However, its cultural legacy is cemented by its status as the setting of one of science fiction’s truly terrifying films.


Battlestar Galactica

In many ways, Battlestar Galactica carries an unfair stigma due to its classification as a science fiction television series. Sure, it takes place on a spaceship — and a very cool one, at that — but it’s more a character drama than anything else.

With that said, the Galactica itself, a battlestar class spacecraft designed for heavy warfare, is infinitely cool. Plus, its retro design and utilitarian facets only add to the legend of a ship meant to be portrayed as both outdated and formidable. Measuring over 4,700 feet in length and possessing a wide variety of arms, the Galactica is capable of both taking and dishing beatings of an extraordinary variety.



Described by creator Joss Whedon as “the tenth character” of his short-lived but much-loved science fiction series Firefly, Serenity is a firefly class freighter captained by Malcolm Reynolds. Serenity gets its name from Serenity Valley, the location of the bloodiest battle in the Unification War.

Although Serenity has no external armaments, it’s fast and extremely stealthy. These two factors come in handy when considering the fact that smuggling is the primary course of action for Mal and his crew. Equipped with rotating engines that allow vertical takeoffs and landings, Serenity is a loveable little vessel that represents the best of what a spaceship can offer: hope.


U.S.S Enterprise

The U.S.S. Enterprise has served as the trusted vessel for several generations of crew members in the Star Trek universe. Despite being designed for deep space reconnaissance and peacekeeping missions, this miraculous vessel still packs a punch with phasers and photon torpedoes available in spades.

Along with its trademarked warp speed, teleportation technology, and particle replicator devices, the Enterprise is where we’d like to spend the rest of our space-faring days.


Millennium Falcon

The Millennium Falcon captivated the hearts and minds of young rebels and would-be smugglers since its iconic reveal in 1977’s Star Wars. Piloted by the always rugged Han Solo and his Wookie compatriot Chewbacca, the Falcon is a YT-1300 light freighter modified extensively for use as a smuggling vessel.

The Millennium Falcon is often cited by Solo as the fastest ship in the galaxy. One capable of doing the famed Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.


Won by Han Solo in a card game from Lando Calrissian, the Millennium Falcon is quite possibly the most famous spaceship in science fiction and with good reason. Its instantly recognizable shape, famed reputation, and roguish captain all guarantee the Falcom a legacy as one of the finest interstellar crafts the genre has ever seen. A fact that’s unlikely to change anytime in the near future.