The record for the number of people in space at one time is thirteen, which has been set a few different times (as discussed in this question, this other question, and this article). In order:

  • March 1995, STS-67 (7), Mir (3), Soyuz TM-21 (3)
  • February 1997, STS-82 (7), Mir (3), Soyuz TM-25 (3)
  • July 2009, STS-127 (7), ISS Expedition 20 (6)
  • March 2010, STS-131 (7), ISS Expedition 23 (6)

At the moment, it peaks at nine (one ISS expedition plus one visiting Soyuz). When the US commercial-crew vehicles start flying, I assume they will be timed so that there is not a Soyuz and US crew rotation flight at the same time - it would seem to make things very complicated - and that will keep the peak at nine.

A Shenzhou flight at the same time as crew rotation would bring the total to twelve.

With what we know about future plans, is there any plausible combination of missions likely to fly in the next few years that would set a new record at fourteen?

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    $\begingroup$ Depending how you count space tourism, it may be very soon. If BO or Virgin Galactic start flying groups of 5-7 people, the amount of people in space concurrently could easily top 14. Maybe 2020? $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Nov 16 '19 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ SpaceX and Boeing will be doing direct handovers at least once, so the Soyuz crew of 3 + Boeing Dreamliner crew of 4 + SpaceX crew of 4 will get us 11 on the ISS. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Nov 17 '19 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek good catch! six on ISS plus seven on a flight would be thirteen, so we'd beat the record (for about half an hour) if there was an ISS crew rotation flight and a VG flight at the same time. I don't know what sort of frequency they're planning to fly with, though... $\endgroup$ – Andrew Nov 18 '19 at 0:27

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