Q&A: General Astronomy and Space Science
Is there a technical difference between a spacecraft vs.
satellite? eg, all spacecraft can be satellites but not all
satellites can be spacecrafts?
A spacecraft is a vehicle or device designed for travel or
operation outside the Earth’s atmosphere, whereas a
satellite is an object that orbits the Earth, the moon, or
another celestial body. The Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble
Space Telescope are spacecrafts that are in orbit around the
Earth, so they are also artificial satellites. The moon is a
natural satellite of Earth, and Jupiter’s moons are
natural satellites of Jupiter. The Voyager and Pioneer spacecraft are not
satellites because they are not in an orbit around any