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Spacecrafts vs. Spacecraft — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 6, 2024
'Spacecrafts' is a less common and nonstandard plural form of 'spacecraft', which is typically used as both singular and plural to refer to vehicles designed for space travel.
Spacecrafts vs. Spacecraft — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Spacecrafts and Spacecraft


Key Differences

The term 'spacecraft' is commonly used to refer to both a single vehicle and multiple vehicles designed for space travel. It is the standard form used in both singular and plural contexts. In contrast, 'spacecrafts', although understandable, is considered nonstandard and is less frequently used. It might appear in casual speech or writing, but is rare in formal aerospace contexts.
'Spacecraft' maintains uniformity across different contexts, which helps in maintaining clarity and consistency in technical and scientific communication. On the other hand, the usage of 'spacecrafts' can sometimes introduce confusion or be marked as incorrect in professional settings, especially those involving aerospace engineering or astrophysics.
In educational and professional documentation concerning space technology, 'spacecraft' is predominantly used. Using 'spacecrafts' in these contexts might be viewed as an error or as a deviation from the norm, which could potentially undermine the credibility of the text.
It’s important for students and professionals in related fields to adhere to the conventional terminology, using 'spacecraft' as the plural form to ensure they are aligned with industry standards. Using 'spacecrafts' could inadvertently signal a lack of familiarity with aerospace terminology.

Comparison Chart

Standard Usage

Less common, nonstandard plural form
Both singular and plural, widely accepted


Informal, less technical
Scientific, technical, formal


Potentially incorrect, informal
Professional, correct

Example in a Sentence

"He mistakenly referred to the vehicles as spacecrafts."
"NASA launched five spacecraft."


Avoid in professional or academic contexts
Preferred in all contexts

Compare with Definitions


Potentially erroneous in professional settings.
The editor corrected the manuscript's reference from 'spacecrafts' to 'spacecraft'.


Any machine designed to fly in outer space.
NASA's new spacecraft features advanced solar panels.


An informal, nonstandard plural term for multiple space vehicles.
The children made models of different spacecrafts for their science project.


A vessel equipped for living in space during missions.
The international crew lived in the spacecraft for six months.


Sometimes used in casual or non-technical contexts.
His book on space mistakenly uses 'spacecrafts' to describe several explorers.


A term used for both singular and plural forms.
The mission involved multiple spacecraft maneuvering simultaneously.


Used less frequently and usually avoided by experts.
In her presentation, she avoided using 'spacecrafts' and stuck with the standard term.


A carrier of instruments for space research.
The spacecraft carried instruments to measure cosmic radiation.


Seen in varied public discussions or media.
The documentary featured old footage of spacecrafts.


A vehicle used for traveling in space.
The spacecraft Voyager 2 has left our solar system.


(nonstandard) spacecraft


A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite, spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, Earth observation, meteorology, navigation, space colonization, planetary exploration, and transportation of humans and cargo.


A vehicle designed to be launched into space. Also called spaceship.


A vehicle that travels through space.


A vehicle capable of travelling in or into outer space; at present, all such vehicles are powered by rocket engine.


A craft capable of traveling in outer space; technically, a satellite around the sun

Common Curiosities

What is the impact of using 'spacecrafts' in professional contexts?

Using 'spacecrafts' in professional settings might be seen as a lack of precision or familiarity with aerospace terminology.

Are there any contexts where 'spacecrafts' is acceptable?

While it can appear in casual or informal discussions, 'spacecrafts' is typically avoided in technical and academic contexts.

Why is 'spacecraft' preferred over 'spacecrafts'?

'Spacecraft' is the standard term for both singular and plural, ensuring consistency in technical and scientific communication.

Can I use 'spacecrafts' when writing fiction?

Yes, in creative writing, authors may choose 'spacecrafts' for stylistic reasons, though 'spacecraft' remains standard.

Can 'spacecrafts' be used in formal writing?

It is generally recommended to use 'spacecraft' for both singular and plural to maintain formality and correctness.

Is there a historical reason why 'spacecraft' is used for both singular and plural?

It likely follows the pattern of other 'craft' words, where the form remains the same to avoid confusion and promote uniformity.

What are some examples of famous spacecraft?

Examples include Apollo 11, the Hubble Space Telescope, Voyager 1, the International Space Station, and the Mars Curiosity rover.

How do educational materials handle the term 'spacecraft'?

Educational resources, especially in science and engineering, consistently use 'spacecraft' as the plural form to align with industry standards.

How do other aerospace organizations treat the term 'spacecraft'?

Organizations like NASA, ESA, and private aerospace companies consistently use 'spacecraft' for both singular and plural.

What other terms are commonly used alongside 'spacecraft'?

Words like 'probe,' 'lander,' 'orbiter,' and 'rover' describe specific types of spacecraft with specialized functions.

How can I ensure the correct usage of 'spacecraft'?

When writing or speaking, simply use 'spacecraft' whether referring to one or multiple vehicles.

Why is 'spacecraft' used as both singular and plural?

Similar to words like 'deer' or 'aircraft,' 'spacecraft' maintains the same form in both singular and plural for simplicity and consistency.

Is 'spacecrafts' ever considered technically correct?

No, 'spacecrafts' is generally considered nonstandard. The accepted plural form is 'spacecraft'.

Are there different categories of spacecraft?

Yes, spacecraft can be categorized based on their purpose, like crewed, uncrewed, exploratory, scientific, or commercial.

Do all languages treat 'spacecraft' the same way as English?

Different languages may have their own rules for the singular and plural forms, but in English, 'spacecraft' remains uniform.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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