We all know why... Three cheers for female astronauts! Or cosmonauts! Or taikonauts, or whatever.


I personally don't see a problem (but acknowledge that it might exist):


/mand/ adjective

adjective: manned

(especially of an aircraft or spacecraft) having a human crew.
"a manned mission to Mars"





past tense: crewed; past participle: crewed

provide (a craft or vehicle) with a group of people to operate it. "normally the boat is crewed by 5 people"

act as a member of a crew, subordinate to a captain. "I've never crewed for a world-famous yachtsman before"

And, strictly technically, crewed does not even necessarily imply a human crew. Soviets launched a few canine crewed vehicles into orbit, and NASA launched a few chimpanzee crewed ones. I'm not saying that's a problem though as far as it concerns our tags LOL, just that they'd then be somewhat less specific. And we might then also need additional tags to distinguish between human operated, ... oh, I don't even wanna go there :)

I can however see no harm in making them as master names to avoid them being taken as sexist and keep existing ones as their synonyms, so our users can find them easier. Out of those tags that would apply:

And I'm not sure we'll ever even need a tag / since we already have more specific tags like , , ,...

How does this sound?


The only qualm I have with this change is may increase confusion with regards to what I have always understood Crew to 'traditionally' mean.

"Crew" to me implies essential personnel. A car is a vehicle that requires one crew but can carry four passengers. Soon we will have space tourism "passengers". Theoretically, we could have a flight with zero crew and several passengers.

I would hesitate to call that flight "crewed" because we have to assume that none of those passengers were trained in any official capacity. They are essentially along for the ride on an unmanned flight. (uncrewed flight)

I like the spirit of this change but I don't like that we lose that "crew/passengers" dichotomy. Is there another term that is as clear as "manned/unmanned" is to people already?

  • $\begingroup$ This is a really good point! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 6 '20 at 23:45

In the professional field missions with humans on board are also called "manned missions". Now you can obviously argue that is a bad term etc etc.

But this isn't an english SE - it's about space exploration, so we should just use the well accepted term that is used in all literature & on the work-floor.

Why do different and create confusion?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi paul23. You are free to use the term 'manned' if you wish. I use it myself occasionally depending on circumstances. All change breaks with tradition, though. Google 'crewed mission' and you will get lots of results. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    May 11 '15 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ @briligg I have to state I can't remember it ever reading "crewed missions" in a research level paper. - Unless of course they are specifically focussing on the crew. But when talking about the generic ideas of making a rocket capable of holding humans I can't remember I have ever read it. $\endgroup$
    – paul23
    May 11 '15 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ This is a cultural matter, not a technical one. I feel quite strongly that language habits affect opinion, and raised the matter for that reason. I do not mean to imply that anyone using the term manned is or was sexist. However I can't see how 'crewed' could cause confusion, and it has value in the same way all gender neutral terms do, and all of them have been created in the last century, or usually much less. I personally appreciate it when people switch to a neutral term, but try not to assume anything when they don't. $\endgroup$
    – kim holder
    May 11 '15 at 20:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @briligg I did a simple google scholar search: scholar.google.nl/scholar?q=manned+flight and scholar.google.nl/scholar?q=crewed+flight Looking at the results it's quite clear that the latter terms gives much worse results. The papers using that term are less cited and written by less known institutions. On top of that the "crewed" term is used mostly to describe the use of a human controller vs a robot. While "manned" is more generic in describing just a rocket that has a habitat for humans (but could be flown by a computer). $\endgroup$
    – paul23
    May 14 '15 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ There are many terms that were (or still are) "well accepted" that are fundamentally problematic, and some downright evil, so this is not a good argument. Many have been un-accepted and others are in the process. English isn't Latin, it's a living language and we are changing it all the time and presumably generally for the better. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 6 '20 at 23:44

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