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Top 100 Fictional Space Travelers of All Time: 20-1 [List]

Meet the greatest space travelers ever. They're soldiers, construction workers, scientists and children. Here is the final of a five part series counting down the 100 greatest space travelers of all-time.
Everyone has dreamed of going into space. While most of us will never get there hundreds of movies, television shows and books show people traveling into space. We compiled a list of the ones we consider the top 100 space travelers of all-time. You can read the criteria we used here.

It's been a week long series that has come to the end.

You can read the previous entries here: #100-81 #80-61 #60- 41 #40-21
20. David Lister (Craig Charles)
Red Dwarf

In the British sitcom, Red Dwarf, David Lister is a slob who ends up being frozen for a million years. When he recovers, Lister is the last human being alive. Lister's lazy, slovenly, and crude, but he shows himself fully capable of holding his own against the dangers he encounters. Everything, that is, except the loss of his precious vindaloo.

19. Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell)
Stargate (1994)

When we first meet Jack O'Neil hes sitting in his dead son's room cradling a gun. It's never said what happened, but the strength of Russell's acting tells the story. Formerly a retired Special Forces Colonel, he goes to the Stargate project and declares it classified. Brave enough to lead men into the unknown. Strong enough to fight an alien army. Compassionate enough to sacrifice his life for his team. He's Jack O'Neil with one L. The man Richard Dean Anderson said had no sense of humor. He is awesome and takes our number 19 spot.

18. David Bowman (Keir Dullea)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

From the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. David Bowman, played by Keir Dullea is number 9. Its safe to say there have been a number of astronauts that have faced weird stuff in space. None has been as strange as what Captain Bowman faced. Besides having his crew taken out by the ship's own computer system he also had to face the unknown. Even now we don't know where he is. Just that it's "full of stars."

17. William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes)
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Second-in-command of the Enterprise, Riker served as the brawn to Picard's brain. He rushed into danger while Picard counted the cost. At the same time, Riker is fully capable of command and did so on numerous occasions. Tough, handsome, intelligent, and skilled, Riker is a hero all his own.

16. Capt. Steven Hiller (Will Smith)
Independence Day (1996 film)

Willing to go into space with only a pilot's license. When aliens attack and destroy most of the world Army Pilot Captain Hiller, played by Will Smith, went into action. After a fierce dog fight he punched out an alien with a snappy "Welcome to Earth". When the time came to fly an alien ship on a suicide mission he volunteered. His sharp writ and fierce courage made him number 16 on our list.

15. Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin)

Firefly (2002)

He had a whole city named after him. Yes, he has a girl's name, but one look at his prized gun "Vera" and you'll stop laughing. The toughest man in the 'Verse he's in charge of keeping the crew of the "Serenity" safe. Of course, he's more interested in keeping himself safe. He may be one of the "bad guys," but he's one of the good guys to us. Always good for a laugh thanks to Adam Baldwin's combination of sex, muscle, humor and thuggery. He's the man they call Jayne. He's number 15.
14. James Bond (Roger Moore)

Moonraker (1979)

He's James Bond. In space. Nuff' said

13. Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion)
Firefly (2002)

The captain of the broken-down Firefly-class transport ship Serenity. He led an unruly band of outlaws against the most powerful government in the verse. Smuggling and stealing for profit, "Captain Tight-Pants" still managed to keep a moral center in an immoral world. A rebel by trade Empire ranked Mal as #51 on their list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters. He's our number 13 space traveler.

12. Han Solo (Harrison Ford)
Star Wars (1977)

The greatest "scuffy-looking nuff-herder" ever. In Star Wars we're introduced to Han Solo. A smuggler who agrees to transport Obi-Wan and Luke to Alderaan. He takes the job just to get Jabba the Hutt off his back, but ends up saving the galaxy. George Lucas described Solo as "a loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good". To us he's the man who shot Greedo (first), stuck Luke in a frozen Taun-Taun, got frozen in Carbonite and still had a soft spot for the Princess. The American Film Institute ranked Solo as the 14th greatest film hero. He's Empire magazine's fourth greatest movie character of all-time. IGN listed Han Solo as the second greatest Star Wars character. Although Harrison Ford would never admit it he's Ford's greatest character. He's our 12th greatest space traveler of all time.

11. Commander William "Bill" Adama (Edward James Olmos)
Battlestar Galactica (2004)

A "reimagining" of Commander Adama from the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series played by Lorne Greene, Olmos is the commander of a fleet of surviving humans. He is strong, yet compassionate. Brave and bold. A weary, battle-hardened man that's not above making tough decisions to save others, yet still looked for the good in everyone. Edward James Olmos won a "Best Television Actor" Saturn Award, a "Outstanding Actor in a Drama Television Series" ALMA Award, and a "Most Heroic Performance" Scream Award. The show itself was number one on IGN.com's "Top 50 Sci-Fi Shows." He's number 11 on our list.

10. Steve Austin, Col. (Lee Majors)
The Six Million Dollar Man (1973)

Steve Austin, astronaut. Those were the words that introduced him in every episode. When NASA test pilot Austin crashed, the government put him in a top secret program to replace his broken limbs with bionic replacements. Based on a 1972 novel, called Cyborg he became a secret agent. His adventures on Earth were more exciting than the ones in space. He even fought a rogue space probe and Bigfoot. Yes, the dude punched out Sasquatch. That's why he's number ten.

9. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)
Star Wars (1977)

Living on a backwards planet at the end of the galaxy, Luke was a simple moisture farmer. A chance encounter with two droids led him on the greatest space adventure ever told. He fought the galaxy and became a Jedi. Yet, he still managed to bring his father Darth Vader back from the Dark Side. We all dream of becoming a Jedi and Skywalker did it first. In 2008, Luke Skywalker was selected by Empire magazine as the 54th greatest movie character of all time. He's number 9 to us.

8. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)
Star Trek (1966)

She broke new ground as a minority in a high-profile position. She also is an expert in alien linguistics. Played by the beautiful and classy Nichelle Nchols, Uhura is the most powerful African-American in science-fiction. Her ground-breaking interracial kiss with Captain Kirk is legendary. Martin Luthor King himself praised her character and persuaded her to remain on the show. Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison said Uhura was her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut. Roddenberry got jungle fever from her. She's number eight on our list.

7. Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones)
Flash Gordon (1980)

Flash Gordon is one of the characters that is so iconic he set the standard for every other space explorer. Created as a comic strip by Alex Raymond in the 1930s he quickly became one of the most popular characters ever. Just like the comic, the movie is about football hero Flash kidnapped by a mad scientist to the planet Mongo, where he battles against its tyrannical overlord, Ming the Merciless. While the 1980 movie, with its Queen soundtrack and goofy costumes are a cult classic, the SyFy television series was insanely bad. We'll pretend that never happened and rank him as number seven.

6. Captain William Anthony "Buck" Rogers (Gil Gerard)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)

Based on a 1930s comic strip, the character of Buck Rogers was so iconic that he inspired Flash Gordon. NASA astronaut Buck Rogers was a space shuttle pilot of "Ranger 3" who discovers an anomaly. It freezes him in suspended animation until he's revived 500 years later to discover a bizarre future of 2491. While the character started out as a comic strip, the television show is the best known of the interpretations. Starring Gil Gerard he traveled space along with Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering. His dry wit and smile endeared him to millions and he quickly became one of the most popular space heroes ever.

5. Col. George Taylor (Charlton Heston)
Planet of the Apes (1968)

In the far future of 1971 Taylor hopes there's something better in the universe than man. He goes into space and comes back to a world of stinkin' dirty apes. Kidnapped and turned into a pet he escapes and manages to overturn an entire world. Little did he realize he was home. Yes, he's one of the few astronauts to leave the planet and visit an alien world that was Earth. No other astronaut has so many great lines too.

4. Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart)
Star Trek: The Next Generation

The captain of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). A classically trained Shakespearean theater actor he gave the role of Picard the dignity and grace of a King. Whether he was cursing out Klingons or fending off Troi's Mom he faced it all with a hot cup of tea. A man like Picard could only be number four.

3. Reed Richards
Fantastic Four comic (1961)

The smartest man in the Marvel universe he braved the mysterious "cosmic rays" of space to become "Mister Fantastic" the super-stretchy superhero. His adventures are legendary and his brain is unparalled. The smartest man in space and beyond. Ioan Gruffudd played him as the absent-minded professor in the 2005 film and we won't even mention the 1994 Roger Corman film starring Alex Hyde-White. We'll forget those two and just remember him from the comics. He was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics. He stretched to number three on our list.

2. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)
Alien (1979) film

Many astronauts have faced off against aliens, but only one has managed to defeat the voracious, acid-blooded monsters of the Aliens films. Entertainment Weekly described her as "one of the first female movie characters who isn't defined by the men around her, or by her relationship to them". Bold, proud and beautiful he is the greatest female space explorer ever portrayed on film or television. She is number two on our list.

1. Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner)
Star Trek (1966)

The coolest space traveler of all time. Commanding officer of the USS Enterprise and
USS Enterprise-A he went on an exploration of bold new worlds. New life and new civilizations. He also managed to get with hot alien space babes. The earliest and most successful space opera of all time. He's inspired the careers of thousands of real astronauts and set the standard for all to come. In a 2010 Space Foundation survey, Kirk was ranked as #6 (tied with real-life cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin) as the most popular space hero. He is the greatest space traveler of all time.

That's it! Make sure you read our previous entries: #100-81 #80-61 #60-41 #40-21

How do you feel about the list? Who is your favorite? Did we miss anyone?


  1. Kirk number one - that fits! Glad Mal got a top spot as well.

  2. You know Captain Tightpants had to be in there Alex.

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  3. Benj, great suggestion. Since the Doctor is an alien from Gallifrey he wouldn't make the list. Look for him in our upcoming top 100 aliens list!
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  4. How the hell is Janeway not in the top 20? She went further than any man (or woman) had gone before. 


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