2020s in spaceflight

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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.

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

In 2020, NASA plans to launch the Mars 2020 rover,[1] followed by the maiden launch of the Space Launch System (launch date to be determined, unlikely to be before late 2021);[2] in 2023, NASA plans to carry out the first crewed flight of the Space Launch System.[3]

The trend towards cost reduction in access to orbit is expected to continue. In 2020, Blue Origin plans the maiden flight of New Glenn with a reusable first stage.[4] In the same year SpaceX plans to launch its new fully reusable Starship.[5]

NASA plans a return of humans to the Moon by 2024, first by assembling a 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 its first crewed flight with a spacecraft called Gaganyaan for December 2021 on a home-grown GSLV-III rocket. The mission would make India the 4th nation to launch a crewed space flight after Russia, US and China. India also plans to launch its second Mars probe, Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (Mangalyaan 2), in 2024.

The number of small satellites launched annually was expected to grow to around one thousand (2018 estimate),[6] although SpaceX alone plans to launch more than that for its Starlink constellation (12,000 satellites from 2019 to 2027).[7] The majority of the satellites are expected to be communication satellites in large constellations.

Orbital launches[edit]

2020[edit]

2021[edit]

2022[edit]

2023[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
March (TBD)[8] United States Falcon 9 Block 5 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
Japan Hakuto-R Mission 2[9] ispace Selenocentric Lunar lander and rover  
2023 (TBD)[10] United States Starship United States TBD (Boca Chica or Cape Canaveral/Kennedy) United States SpaceX
Japan #dearMoon Yusaku Maezawa Lunar free return Crewed lunar flyby  
Private spaceflight with 6 to 8 artists commissioned and funded by Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa.[10]
2023 (TBD)[11] India PSLV India Satish Dhawan India ISRO
India Shukrayaan-1 ISRO Cytherocentric Venus orbiter  
2023 (TBD)[3] United States SLS Block 1 Crew United States Kennedy LC-39B United States NASA
United States Artemis 2 NASA Lunar free-return Second flight of Artemis program  
First crewed test flight of SLS and Orion.
2023 (TBD)[12] United States SLS Block 1 Cargo United States Kennedy LC-39B United States NASA
United States Europa Clipper NASA Jovicentric Jupiter orbiter  
2023 (TBD)[13] Russia Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Rezonans-MKA Roscosmos Tundra Magnetospheric research  
2023 (TBD)[14] Russia Soyuz-5 Russia TBD Russia Roscosmos
Russia Federatsiya-1 Roscosmos Low Earth Test flight  
An uncrewed test flight of Russia's new crew spacecraft.
2023 (TBD)[15] Europe Vega C France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Europe FLEX ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Eighth mission of the ESA's Living Planet Programme.
2023 (TBD)[16] Europe Vega-C or Ariane 62 France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
China Europe SMILE CAS, ESA Molniya Earth observation  
2023 (TBD)[17] TBA TBA TBA
Europe Lunar Pathfinder[18] ESA Selenocentric
elliptical orbit
Communications  
2023 (TBD)[19] TBA TBA TBA
United States SPHEREx NASA Low Earth (SSO) Space observatory  

2024[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
September (TBD)[20] Japan H3-24 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y2 Japan MHI
Japan Martian Moons Exploration JAXA Areocentric Mars orbiter and Phobos lander  
October (TBD)[21] Europe Ariane 6 France Kourou ELA-4 France Arianespace
Europe Hera ESA Heliocentric Asteroid orbiter  
Europe Juventas[22] ESA Heliocentric Asteroid probe  
Europe APEX[22] ESA Heliocentric Asteroid probe  
October (TBD)[23] United States TBA United States TBA United States TBA
United States IMAP NASA Sun–Earth L1 Heliophysics  
United States STP Mission of Opportunity NASA Sun–Earth L1 Heliophysics or Atmospheric physics  
United States STP Small Satellite NASA Sun–Earth L1 Technology demonstration  
United States SWFO-L1 NOAA Sun–Earth L1 Space weather  
Under NASA's SMD Rideshare Initiative, three secondary spacecraft will be launched along with IMAP to the Sun–Earth L1 point: a Heliophysics Science Mission of Opportunity (SIHLA or GLIDE),[23] a Heliophysics Technology Demonstration Mission of Opportunity (SETH or Solar Cruiser),[24] and the Space Weather Follow-On L1 mission (SWFO-L1).[25]
2024 (TBD)[26] Japan Epsilon Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Small-JASMINE JAXA / NAOJ Low Earth (SSO) Astrometric observatory  
2024 (TBD)[27] India GSLV Mk II India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India Mars Orbiter Mission 2 ISRO Areocentric Mars orbiter  
2024 (TBD)[28] China Long March 5 China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC
China Xuntian CNSA Low Earth Space telescope  
Xuntian ("Heavenly Cruiser") is a planned space telescope that will orbit close to the Chinese Space Station.
2024 (TBD)[29] Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Luna 26 Roscosmos Selenocentric Lunar orbiter  
2024 (TBD)[14] Russia Soyuz-5 Russia TBD Russia Roscosmos
Russia Federatsiya-1 Roscosmos Low Earth Test flight  
First crewed flight of the new spacecraft.
2024 (TBD) United States Commercial launch vehicle United States Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center United States NASA
United States TBA NASA Selenocentric Lunar lander  
This mission (alongside Artemis 3) will send a lander (possibly Blue Moon or Lockheed Martin Lunar Lander) to land two astronauts on the Moon.
2024 (TBD) United States SLS Block 1B United States KSC LC-39B United States NASA
United States Orion NASA Cislunar space Crewed lunar landing  
Artemis 3 mission to land astronauts on the Moon, will meet the lunar lander in lunar orbit.

2025[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
2025 (TBD)[30][31] Russia Proton-M / DM-03 Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Spektr-UV[32] INASAN Geosynchronous Ultraviolet astronomy  
2025 (TBD)[29] Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Luna 27 Roscosmos Selenocentric Lunar lander  
2025 (TBD)[33] Europe Vega-C France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Europe e.Deorbit[34] ESA Low Earth Satellite servicing
Space debris removal
 
2025 (TBD)[35] United States TBA United States TBA United States TBA
United States NEO Surveillance Mission NASA Sun–Earth L1 Infrared astronomy
Near-Earth object detection
 

2026[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
2026 (TBD)[36] Russia Soyuz-STB / Fregat-MT France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
Europe PLATO ESA Sun–Earth L2 Exoplanetary science  
2026 (TBD)[38] Europe Vega-C France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Europe FORUM ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Ninth Earth Explorer mission for ESA's Living Planet Programme. FORUM is baselined for launch on the Vega-C, and will fly in a loose sun-synchronous formation with MetOp-SG A1.[37]
2026 (TBD)[39] TBA TBA TBA
United States Dragonfly NASA Heliocentric (to Saturn) Exploration of Titan  
Rotorcraft probe to fly in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.

2027[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
2027 (TBD)[40] Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Luna 28 Roscosmos Selenocentric Lunar lander
Lunar sample return
 

2028[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
2028 (TBD)[41] Russia Angara-A5 / KVTK[30] Russia Vostochny Site 1A Russia Roscosmos
Russia Luna 29 Roscosmos Selenocentric Lunar rover
Lunar sample return
 
2028 (TBD)[42][43] Europe Ariane 62 France Kourou ELA-4 France Arianespace
Europe ARIEL ESA Sun–Earth L2 Exoplanetary science  
Europe Japan Comet Interceptor ESA / JAXA Sun–Earth L2 Comet flyby  


Deep-space rendezvous after 2022[edit]

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
20 June 2023 BepiColombo Third gravity assist at Mercury
21 August 2023 Parker Solar Probe Sixth gravity assist at Venus
24 September 2023 OSIRIS-REx Sample return to Earth
5 September 2024 BepiColombo Fifth gravity assist at Mercury
6 November 2024 Parker Solar Probe Seventh gravity assist at Venus
2 December 2024 BepiColombo Third gravity assist at Mercury
24 December 2024 Parker Solar Probe 22nd perihelion, closest approach to the Sun
9 January 2025 BepiColombo Sixth gravity assist at Mercury
5 December 2025 BepiColombo Hermocentric orbit insertion at Mercury


References[edit]

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  20. ^ MMX Homepage. JAXA, 2017
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  38. ^ "A new satellite to understand how Earth is losing its cool". ESA. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
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  41. ^ "Luna-29 mission may be led by robot". Hitecher. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
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External links[edit]

Generic references: