Astronomy

An updated list of space missions: Current and upcoming voyages

This is a sampling of current and future space missions from agencies around the world.

 

Orion’s “selfie” of itself and the Moon. Orion will carry astronauts on several space missions.

 

 

 

Here is a list to help you keep track of many current and scheduled space missions. We’ve gathered a selected group of high-profiles ones, listed them below, and linked to official sites where you can get the latest updates and launch dates.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the list of missions in alphabetical order:

2001 Mars Odyssey

This unusual view of the horizon of Mars was captured by NASA’s Odyssey orbiter using its THEMIS camera, in an operation that took engineers three months to plan. It’s taken from about 250 miles above the Martian surface – about the same altitude at which the International Space Station orbits Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU.

Mission: This Mars orbiter was launched with the intention of detecting water and ice on the planet, as well as studying its composition.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: April 7, 2001

Updates available here.

Aditya-L1

Mission: The mission, which name means “Sun” in Sanskrit, was launched to conduct a comprehensive study of the Sun, sitting at the Lagrange point L1 between the Sun and Earth.

Agency: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Launch date: Sept. 2, 2023

Updates available here. 

Akatsuki

Mission: The orbiter mission was designed to study weather patterns and atmospheric conditions, as well as search for the possibility of lighting and active volcanoes.

Agency: JAXA

Launch date: May 21, 2010

Updates available here.

Ariel

Mission: This mission will be placed at Lagrange point L2 to study thousands of exoplanets, ranging from rocky planets to gas giants in visible and infrared wavelengths.

Agency: ESA/Ariel Mission Consortium

Expected launch: 2029

Updates available here.

Artemis II

Mission: The mission, featuring a crew of four astronauts, will perform a series of flights maneuvers as well as tests in space to ensure the systems are appropriate to take the Artemis III crew to the Moon.

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: September 2025

Updates available here.

Artemis III

The Orion spacecraft “selfie” with the moon in the distance. Credit: NASA

Mission: The mission is expected to take four astronauts to the lunar South Pole for the first time to explore, collect geologic samples, and take images of the region’s unique features.

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: September 2026

Updates available here.

BepiColombo

Mission: BepiColombo, comprised of two orbiters, was designed to study composition, geophysics, atmosphere, magnetosphere and history of Mercury.

Agency: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/ESA

Launch date: Oct. 18, 2018

Updates available here.

Chandrayaan-3

Mission: With its lander, Vikram, and rover, Pragyan, this mission landed safely on the Moon’s south pole.

Agency: ISRO

Launch date: July 14, 2023

Updates available here.

Comet Interceptor

Mission: Made up of three spacecrafts, the mission will wait at the Lagrange point L2 before separating to gather 3D images of Comet Interceptor as well as its nucleus and composition.

Agency: ESA

Expected launch: 2029

Updates available here.

DAVINCI

Mission: Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry, And Imaging (DAVINCI) probe would explore the atmosphere of Venus.

Agency: NASA

Expected Launch: June 2029

Updates available here.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly departs and heads off toward its next landing spot on Titan in this artist’s impression. Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

Mission: This dual-quadcopter would explore a variety of locations on Saturn’s moon, Titan, for possible habitability.

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: 2027

Updates available here.

Emirates Mars Mission

Mission: The Emirates Mars Mission, named “Hope Probe” will gather a picture of the Martian atmosphere and its layers. It will also look at the planet’s loss of hydrogen and oxygen gases into space over the span of one Martian year.

Agency: UAE Space Agency

Launch Date: July 20, 2020

Updates available here.

EnVision

Mission: The mission is to investigate Venus from its inner core to its upper atmosphere, characterizing the interaction between its atmosphere, surface, and interior.

Agency: ESA

Expected launch: early 2030s

Updates available here.

EscaPADE

Mission: The Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE) are a dual-spacecraft mission to study the transfer of solar wind energy and momentum.

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: 2024

Updates available here.

Europa Clipper

Mission: Europa is expected to explore the moon of Jupiter with the same name during a series of flybys. Its objectives include studying the moon’s ice shell and ocean, as well as its composition and geology.

Agency: NASA

Expected Launch: Oct. 10, 2024

Updates available here.

Hera

Mission: The spacecraft will perform a survey of the target asteroid, Dimorphos and the orbiting moonlet Didymos, after the NASA Dart Mission conducted its asteroid deflection on Sept. 26, 2022.

Agency: ESA

Expected launch: October 2024

Updates available here.

JUICE

Mission: Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or JUICE, was dispatched to study the composition of Jupiter along with its three large, water-logged moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa.

Agency: European Space Agency (ESA)

Launch date: April 14, 2023

Updates available here.  

Juno

Mission: Understand origin and evolution of Jupiter and its four largest moons, look for solid planetary core, map magnetic field, measure water and ammonia in deep atmosphere, observe auroras.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Aug. 5, 2011

Updates available here.

Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO)

Mission: Known as Danuri, this is a lunar probe expected to carry out the mission of lunar observation while flying at an altitude of 100km over the Moon.

Agency: Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)

Launch date: Aug. 5, 2022

Updates available here.

Lucy

During its flyby on Nov. 1 2023, Lucy discovered that its target, Dinkinesh, is not one, but two asteroids. Here, the smaller companion appears from behind the larger Dinkinesh. Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOAO

Mission: Lucy was launched to view trojan asteroids surrounding Jupiter.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Oct. 16, 2021

Updates available here. 

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mission: The mission began as a way to target areas for future robotic and human exploration on the Moon. After two years, it focused more on studying temperature maps and other scientific data on Earth’s satellite.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: June 18, 2009

Updates available here.

Mars Express

Mission: The orbiter’s goal was to complete a map of the Mars’ atmospheric composition and water on its surface, as well as learning more about one of its moons, Phobos.

Agency: ESA

Launch date: June 2, 2003

Updates available here.

Mars Sample Return

Mission: The mission involves Mars Perseverance Rover working with a lander and orbiter to retrieve samples from Mars and deliver them to Earth.

Agency: NASA/ESA

Expected launch: 2027 (orbiter) and 2028 lander

Updates available here.

MAVEN

Mission: Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or MAVEN, studies the upper atmosphere of Mars as well as its interaction with the Sun and solar winds.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Nov. 18, 2013

Updates available here.

MMX

Mission: Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) will explore the two moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos, to collect data on the satellites as well as samples of Phobos’ surface before returning to Earth.

Agency: JAXA

Expected Launch: September 2024

Updates available here.

Parker Solar Probe

Mission: The probe’s main objective was to be the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun’s upper atmosphere to study the evolution and origins of solar wind, to determine if we can forecast the space weather in the future.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Aug. 12, 2018

Updates available here.

Proba-3

Mission: Two satellites –the Coronagraph spacecraft and the Occulter spacecraft – will fly in tandem to learn about autonomous formation flying. They will also study the Sun’s corona and surrounding atmosphere.

Agency: ESA

Expected launch: 2024

Updates available here.

Psyche

Mission: The mission is expected to land on the asteroid with the same name between Mars and Jupiter. It will study the asteroid’s metal core and determine its age.

Agency: NASA

Launch: Oct. 13, 2023

Updates available here.

SOHO

Mission: The Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission was designed to study the Sun inside and out as well as observe space weather.

Agency: ESA/NASA

Launch date: Dec. 2, 1995

Updates available here.

SPHEREx

Mission: The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx)

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: No earlier than June 2024

Updates available here.

STEREO

Mission: The twin Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory, or STEREO spacecrafts (STEREO-A and -B) launched as the first stereoscopic, or multiple-perspective, view of the Sun.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Oct. 25, 2006

Updates available here.

VERITAS

Mission: Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy or VERITAS (also Latin for “truth”) is expected to study the interior evolution and surface of Venus.

Agency: NASA/German Aerospace Center (DLR)/Italian Space Agency (ASI)/France’s Centre National

Expected Launch: No earlier than 2031

Updates available here.

VIPER

Mission: Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will explore Earth’s Moon, characterizing its distribution and composition

Agency: NASA

Expected launch: Late 2024

Updates available here.

Voyager 1

Mission: A probe launched 46 years ago with the intention of studying the outer Solar System and interstellar space.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Sept. 5, 1977

Updates available here.

Voyager 2

Mission: Although named Voyager 2the probe was launched before Voyager 1, with a longer expected trip to Saturn and Jupiter, but it ultimately had a better vantage point of Uranus and Neptune.

Agency: NASA

Launch date: Aug. 20, 1977

Updates available here.

Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 carry The Golden Record of images and sounds.

source: astronomy.com, An updated list of space missions: Current and upcoming voyages“, by Samantha Hill 

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