According to NASA's Space Shuttle Basics page, the Space Shuttle had 74.3 cubic meters (2,625 cubic feet) of pressurized cabin space. That provided its largest crew of 8 with only 328 cubic feet per person! (roughly 7ft in all directions)

That leaves me wondering: which space vehicle has/had the most interior pressurized cabin space? Are all so small?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Skylab had "a habitable volume of about 354 cubic meters (12,700 cubic. ft.)" source: history.nasa.gov/EP-107/ch4.htm $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 5:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The single biggest "room" in space has been Skylab, the largest volume in total surely is ISS, and I guess the largest cabin volume was the Space Shuttle. So, what are you after? $\endgroup$
    – DarkDust
    Feb 20, 2018 at 8:00
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Please ask which one had the best sound system next ;-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 20, 2018 at 10:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Largest inhabitable volume in space $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 14:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ToddWilcox I didn't accept the answer because it said "ISS", rather because it provided enough organized and supported information to answer my questions. Organic Marble's additions have been very informative as well. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


The space vehicle with the largest interior pressurised cabin volume is the International Space Station with a pressurised volume of 931.57 m3. It's habitable volume of 388 m3 is only slightly larger than Skylab, which had a habitable volume of 351.6 m3.

Habitable space tends to be limited to the minimum in orbiters and proposed interplanetary craft to reduce the mass, requiring less fuel or being able to use current rockets to launch the space craft. Space stations are able to be larger as they are built in modules, their subsequent sections are combined to calculate the total final volume.

List of manned spacecraft and their pressurised/habitable volumes past and present. All volumes with a * are habitable volumes (usually significantly smaller than total pressurised volume).


  1. ISS: 931.57 m3, 388 m3*
  2. Tianggong-2: 14 m3
  3. Soyuz MS: 10.5 m3 (Largest Soyuz craft according to this table)
  4. ShenZhou: 8 m3



Bigelow Aerospace has proposed a possible space station with a habitable volume of 3000 m3. This would be by far the largest manned spacecraft.

† The Shuttle habitable volume only includes the basic crew cabin, without any additional habitable modules (as pointed out by @OrganicMarble in the comments)

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Your conclusion is correct, but not the part about Shuttle. Its cabin volume differed, and was much larger, if the mission included a Spacelab or Spacehab in the payload bay. It also varied depending on whether the Orbiter was fitted with an internal or external airlock. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble if I understand you correctly, you're saying the size of the crew cabin changed depending on what was in the payload bay? I've just taken my information from the linked page, and looking about haven't found any other numbers. $\endgroup$
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 20, 2018 at 13:21
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, those modules were habitable volumes linked to the basic crew cabin. media.gettyimages.com/photos/… $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble so the basic crew cabin was 74.3 cubic metres? Then, in my opinion pointing it out as such is sufficient for now. $\endgroup$
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 20, 2018 at 13:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Harabeck Because, as above, the space could be filled with equipment, storage, machines, etc. It certainly is "habitable" but it's not a space a human could live in, as they wouldn't fit, or whatever $\endgroup$
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 20, 2018 at 23:10

Supplemental answer to Edlothiad's (which reaches the correct conclusion).

Shuttle cabin volume varied based on its configuration and whether a habitable module was flown in the payload bay.

  • Crew cabin with internal airlock - 70 m^3
  • Crew cabin with external airlock - 76 m^3
  • Crew cabin with external airlock and tunnel adapter - 80 m^3
  • Crew cabin, external airlock, tunnel adapter, and Spacehab - 117 m^3
  • Crew cabin, external airlock, tunnel adapter, and Spacehab double module - 150 m^3

Spacelab volume was approximately 60 m^3, its flights included a tunnel adapter as well. It's been so long since it flew, I can't find detailed information.

Source: SMS Systems Console Handbook

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is useful info! I suspect this aligned with the larger crews as the shuttle crew varied between 5-8 astronauts. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ You are correct, especially in the pre-ISS days, the largest crews were on Spacelab missions. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 14:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.