A Uranus orbiter and probe is a mission to explore the planet Uranus, its atmosphere, rings, and moons, was recommended to NASA in 2011 by its Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2013–2022. A mission study was conducted which also considered Neptune; however, for feasibility reasons Neptune was dropped in favor of Uranus. Two white papers on Uranus exploration were also submitted to the decadal survey. The survey listed the Uranus orbiter and probe as the third priority for a flagship mission after the MAX-C rover and the JEO component of the Europa Jupiter System Mission.
Although a chemical propulsion mission to Uranus is possible, solar-poweredelectric propulsion is preferred because it allows a larger spacecraft mass. The proposed mission would launch in the years 2020–2023. Travel time to Uranus with solar-electric propulsion would be 13 years, with one Earth-flyby gravity-assist, with launch-windows from Earth of 21 days every year.
In early 2012, because of the FY2013 budget proposal, NASA flagship-class planetary missions were put on hold. U.S. plans to develop more planetary flagships beyond the $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) are waiting until the budget situation changes. A cheaper mission might happen as a medium-class mission. There is also a study that recommended a New Frontiers orbiter for Uranus.