Suspension of Disbelief: The Real History of Spaceships

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Suspension of Disbelief: The Real History of Spaceships

Science fiction has a plethora of ideas about what happened in the past and what to expect from the future. Unfortunately, not all of those ideas are exactly plausible in reality. In Suspension of Disbelief, we’ll take a look at the best ideas from sci-fi movies, books, comics and videogames to see where (and if) they intersect with the real world.


The spaceship is a staple of the science-fiction genre. Whether it’s the massive deliberate submarines of Star Trek or the swift single-pilot planes of Star Wars, spaceships are a common element in sci-fi imaginings. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where riding in a spaceship is as common as getting into a car or even flying in an airplane. But that doesn’t mean spaceships are exclusive to the world of science-fiction. It’s easy to compare the limited spaceward progress humanity has made to Star Trek and feel a little disappointed that we’re not at that level yet, but that makes it all too easy to blind yourself to what we have accomplished. Humanity has achieved a long-dreamt-of science-fiction creation and we’ve been doing it for decades.

Click through the gallery to see a history of some of the most important spaceships, rockets, crafts, shuttles, capsules, and stations that humanity has built.

Hailing from upstate New York, Cameron Wade is a freelance writer interested in movies, videogames, comic books and more. You can find his work at