2020s in spaceflight

This article documents expected notable spaceflight events during the 2020s.

2020s in spaceflight
Orion visiting Deep Space Gateway.jpg
NASA plans to assemble a Lunar Gateway as a permanent base in lunar orbit during the 2020s.

OverviewEdit

The trend towards cost reduction in access to orbit is expected to continue. In 2022, SpaceX plans to launch its new fully reusable Starship to orbit[1] and Vulcan is planned to replace its more expensive predecessors. Ariane 6 is expected to replace the more expensive Ariane 5 in 2023, and Blue Origin plans to launch the maiden flight of New Glenn with a reusable first stage in early 2023.

Mars stays a focus for missions to other planets, with three missions launched in 2020 (by China, the United Arab Emirates and the United States) and at least two missions planned for 2024 (India and Japan).

In 2028, as part of a Mars sample-return mission, NASA plans to launch two Sample Retrieval Landers. In 2027, ESA plans to launch the Earth Return Orbiter, which will transport the retrieved samples from Mars to Earth by 2033. China is also planning to retrieve samples from Mars by 2031.

NASA plans a return of humans to the Moon by 2025. A first uncrewed launch of the Space Launch System is planned for 2022, followed by a first crewed launch in 2024. In addition NASA plans to assemble the Lunar Gateway in lunar orbit. A crewed exploration of Mars could follow in the mid 2030s. An uncrewed and then a crewed trip to Jupiter and Europa have been commonly contemplated, but no space agencies or companies have yet announced definite plans to launch a crewed mission further than Mars. SpaceX, a private company, has also announced plans to land humans on Mars in the mid-2020s, with the long-term goal of enabling the colonization of Mars.

India plans to launch its first crewed flight with a spacecraft called Gaganyaan on a home-grown GSLV Mark III rocket in 2024. The mission would make India the fourth nation to launch a crewed spaceflight after Russia, the US and China. India also plans to launch its second Mars probe, Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (Mangalyaan 2), in 2024.

The James Webb Space Telescope was launched in 2021. In 2027, NASA plans to launch the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which will have a field of view 100 times larger than that of the Hubble Space Telescope.[2][3]

The number of small satellites launched annually was expected to grow to around one thousand (2018 estimate),[4] although SpaceX alone plans to launch more than that for its Starlink constellation (12,000 satellites from 2019 to 2027).[5] The majority of the satellites are expected to be communication satellites in large constellations. In 2020, over 800 Starlink satellites were launched to orbit.

Orbital launches by yearEdit

2020–2027Edit

2028Edit

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
Q1 (TBD)[6] TBA TBA TBA
  Emirates Asteroid Mission UAESA Heliocentric Asteroid flyby and landing  
November (TBD)[7][8]   Long March 3B   TBA   CASC
  Tianwen-3 lander CNSA TMI to Martian surface Mars sample-return    
  Tianwen-3 ascent vehicle CNSA TMI to Martian surface Mars sample-return    
Chinese Mars sample-return mission.
November (TBD)[7][8]   Long March 5   Wenchang LC-1   CASC
  Tianwen-3 orbiter CNSA Areocentric Mars sample-return    
  Tianwen-3 reentry capsule CNSA Areocentric Mars sample-return    
Chinese Mars sample-return mission.
2028 (TBD)[9]   Angara A5 / KVTK[10]   Vostochny Site 1A   Roscosmos
  Luna 29 Roscosmos TLI to lunar surface Lunar rover
Lunar sample-return
 
2028 (TBD)[11][12]   Ariane 62 or Vega-C[13]   Kourou ELA-4 or ELV   Arianespace
  ROSE-L (Sentinel-12) ESA Low Earth (Polar) Earth observation  
Part of the European Space Agency's Copernicus Programme.
2028 (TBD)[14][15]   Epsilon   Uchinoura   JAXA
  JASMINE JAXA / NAOJ Low Earth (SSO) Astrometric observatory  
2028 (TBD)[16]   H3   Tanegashima LA-Y2   MHI
  LiteBIRD[17] JAXA Sun–Earth L2 Space observatory  
2028 (TBD)[18]   Long March 9   Wenchang   CASC
  TBA CNSA Low Earth Flight test    
First flight of the Long March 9 super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
2028 (TBD)[19]   Vega-C   Kourou ELV   Arianespace
  CIMR (Sentinel-11) ESA Low Earth (SSO) Oceanography  
Part of the European Space Agency's Copernicus Programme.
2028 (TBD)[20][21]   Yenisei   Vostochny PU3   Roscosmos
  Orel Roscosmos Low Earth Flight test  
First flight of the Yenisei super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
2028 (TBD)[22][23]   TBA   Baikonur or   Vostochny   Roscosmos
  Ekspress-40 RSCC Geosynchronous Communications  
Replacement for Ekspress-AM7 at 40° East.
2028 (TBD)[24]   TBA   TBA   TBA
  JPSS-3 NOAA Low Earth (SSO) Meteorology  
2028 (TBD)[26] TBA TBA TBA
  TBA ESA TMI to Martian surface Mars lander  
  Rosalind Franklin ESA TMI to Martian surface Mars rover  
ExoMars mission. Launch vehicle and date is uncertain following the suspension of ESA–Russia cooperation on ExoMars.[25]
2028 (TBD)[27]   Commercial launch vehicle   Cape Canaveral or Kennedy[28]   TBA
    Sample Retrieval Lander 1 (SRL1) NASA / ESA TMI to Martian surface Mars sample-return  
First lander component of the NASA–ESA Mars sample-return mission. It will carry NASA's Mars Ascent Vehicle.
2028 (TBD)[27]   Commercial launch vehicle   Cape Canaveral or Kennedy[28]   TBA
    Sample Retrieval Lander 2 (SRL2) NASA / ESA TMI to Martian surface Mars sample-return  
Second lander component of the NASA–ESA Mars sample-return mission. It will carry ESA's Sample Fetch Rover.
2028 (TBD)[30]   TBA   TBA   TBA
  VERITAS NASA Cytherocentric Venus orbiter  
NASA Discovery Program mission to Venus.[29]

2029Edit

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
June (TBD)[31]   TBA   TBA   TBA
  DAVINCI+ NASA Cytherocentric Venus atmospheric probe  
NASA Discovery Program mission to Venus.[29]
2029 (TBD)[32][33]   Ariane 62   Kourou ELA-4   Arianespace
  ARIEL ESA Sun–Earth L2 Exoplanetary science  
    Comet Interceptor ESA / JAXA Sun–Earth L2 Comet flyby  
2029 (TBD)[19]   Vega-C   Kourou ELV   Arianespace
  CHIME (Sentinel-10) ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Part of the European Space Agency's Copernicus Programme.
2029 (TBD)[19]   Vega-C   Kourou ELV   Arianespace
  LSTM (Sentinel-8) ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Part of the European Space Agency's Copernicus Programme.
2029 (TBD)[34]   Yenisei   Vostochny PU3   Roscosmos
  Orel Roscosmos Lunar free-return Crewed lunar flyby  
Crewed lunar flyby in preparation for a Russian crewed mission to the lunar surface in 2030.
2029 (TBD)[22][23]   TBA   Baikonur or   Vostochny   Roscosmos
  Ekspress-36 RSCC Geosynchronous Communications  
Replacement for Ekspress-AMU1 at 36° East.
2029 (TBD)[35] TBA TBA TBA
  Harmony 1 ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
  Harmony 2 ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Tenth Earth Explorers mission.
2029 (TBD)[36]   TBA   TBA   TBA
  Venus Atmosphere Sample Return Mission MIT Heliocentric to Venus Venus sample return  
Third of three MIT missions to Venus to study its atmosphere.


Deep-space rendezvous after 2027Edit

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
18 April 2028 Lucy Flyby of asteroid 11351 Leucus Target altitude 1000 km
June 2028 Hayabusa2 Flyby of Earth[37] Gravity assist
11 November 2028 Lucy Flyby of asteroid 21900 Orus Target altitude 1000 km
21 April 2029 OSIRIS-APEX Rendezvous with asteroid 99942 Apophis[38] Observation operations begin 8 April


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Henry, Caleb (28 June 2019). "SpaceX targets 2021 commercial Starship launch". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  2. ^ Foust, Jeff (30 September 2021). "Pandemic causes delay and cost increase for NASA's Roman Space Telescope". SpaceNews. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (20 May 2020). "NASA renames WFIRST space telescope after pioneering woman astronomer". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  4. ^ "Smallsat Growth On Shaky Foundations". Northern Sky Research. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  5. ^ Henry, Caleb (26 April 2019). "FCC OKs lower orbit for some Starlink satellites". SpaceNews. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  6. ^ Wall, Mike (5 October 2021). "United Arab Emirates to launch bold asteroid mission in 2028". Space.com. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  7. ^ a b Jones, Andrew (4 November 2021). "China is planning a complex Mars sample return mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  8. ^ a b @EL2squirrel (12 December 2019). "China's second Mars exploration mission is a Mars Sample Return mission: Earth Return Orbiter will be launched in 2028, another launch for Lander&Ascender, Earth Entry Vehicle will be return in 2031 pbs.twimg.com/media/ELo1S31UYAAcbMf?format=jpg&name=large" (Tweet). Retrieved 12 November 2021 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "Luna-29 mission may be led by robot". Hitecher. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. ^ Pietrobon, Steven (31 August 2019). "Russian Launch Manifest". Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Oppdraget over for radarsatellitten Sentinel-1B" [Mission over for the Sentinel-1B radar satellite]. Norwegian Space Agency (in Norwegian). 12 August 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Contract signed for new Copernicus ROSE-L mission". ESA. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Thales Alenia Space signs contract from ESA to build Copernicus ROSE-L satellite". Thales Group (Press release). 3 December 2020. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  14. ^ "JASMINE(赤外線位置天文観測衛星)で拓く天の川中心核と地球型惑星の探査" [JASMINE (Infrared Astrometry Satellite) will pioneer the exploration of the Milky Way's core and terrestrial planets] (PDF). NAOJ News (in Japanese). No. 332. National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. 1 March 2021. p. 6. ISSN 0915-8863. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  15. ^ ""Small-JASMINE": Japan Astrometry Satellite Mission for INfrared Exploration". National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  16. ^ Montier, L. (10 July 2019). "LiteBIRD Overview" (PDF). IN2P3. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  17. ^ "Instrumentation | LiteBIRD: Lite (Light) satellite for the studies of B-mode polarization and Inflation from cosmic background Radiation Detection". High Energy Accelerator Research Organization. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  18. ^ Jones, Andrew (30 September 2021). "China displays crewed moon landing mission elements". SpaceNews. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Parsonson, Andrew (13 November 2020). "ESA signs a trio of Copernicus contracts worth 1.3 billion euros". SpaceNews. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Russia approves conceptual design of super-heavy carrier rocket". TASS. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  21. ^ Zak, Anatoly (4 November 2019). "The Yenisei super-heavy rocket". RussianSpaceWeb. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  22. ^ a b Shulgin, Dmitry (21 January 2021). "Российский "Экспресс" набирает обороты" [Russian "Ekspress" gaining momentum]. RSCC (in Russian). p. 5. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  23. ^ a b Holmes, Mark (15 October 2020). "Russian Space Leaders Split on GEO vs LEO at SatComRus". Via Satellite. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  24. ^ "Mission and Instruments". Joint Polar Satellite System. NOAA. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  25. ^ Foust, Jeff (17 March 2022). "ESA suspends work with Russia on ExoMars mission". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  26. ^ Foust, Jeff (3 May 2022). "ExoMars official says launch unlikely before 2028". SpaceNews. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  27. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (27 March 2022). "NASA to delay Mars Sample Return, switch to dual-lander approach". SpaceNews. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  28. ^ a b "NASA Selects Developer for Rocket to Retrieve First Samples From Mars". NASA. 7 February 2022. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  29. ^ a b Potter, Sean (2 June 2021). "NASA Selects 2 Missions to Study 'Lost Habitable' World of Venus". NASA (Press release). Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  30. ^ Roulette, Joey (2 June 2021). "NASA will send two missions to Venus for the first time in over 30 years". The Verge. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  31. ^ Neal Jones, Nancy (2 June 2022). "NASA's DAVINCI Mission To Take the Plunge Through Massive Atmosphere of Venus". NASA. Retrieved 15 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Ariel moves from blueprint to reality". ESA. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  33. ^ Lakdawalla, Emily (21 June 2019). "ESA to Launch Comet Interceptor Mission in 2028". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  34. ^ "Определен срок полета российского корабля "Орел" с экипажем на МКС" [The scheduled time for the first crewed flight of the Russian spacecraft Orel to the ISS has been determined]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 13 February 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  35. ^ "ESA selects Harmony as tenth Earth Explorer mission". ESA. 22 September 2022. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  36. ^ "Venus Life Finder Mission Study" (PDF). Venus Cloud Life. MIT. 10 December 2021. pp. 42–52. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  37. ^ "はやぶさ2、次のミッションは小惑星「1998KY26」…JAXA". The Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 13 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  38. ^ Lauretta, D. S.; Bierhaus, E. B.; Binzel, R. P.; Bos, B. J. (6 November 2020). OSIRIS-REx at Apophis: Opportunity for an Extended Mission (PDF). Apophis T–9 Years: Knowledge Opportunities for the Science of Planetary Defense.

External linksEdit

Generic references:
  Spaceflight portal