An evolutionary survey of spacecraft landing systems with mission requirements and landing system performance as the evolutionary yardstick is presented. Several types of high performance concepts are evaluated. Description is given of a pioneer controllable descent system developed by the Manned Space Center in consonance with Gemini requirements. With this baseline established, new designs and concepts in the field of gliding descent devices are discussed. The conclusions contain a prognosis of what the next decade may hold for spacecraft landing systems and indicate areas wherein continued improvement is highly desirable.