Here's A List Of Every Upcoming Space Mission For The Next Twenty Years - And Some Of Them Are Unbelievably Awesome

NASA's Space Launch System is one of many developments to look forward to. 3Dsculptor/Shutterstock

2019

January 1 – New Horizons will perform a flyby of an object in the outer Solar System, a Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69.

October – The Sierra Nevada Corporation’s unmanned Dream Chaser vehicle, a space plane about a quarter the size of the Space Shuttle, will launch for the first time atop an Atlas V rocket.

Late 2019 – Japan’s unmanned Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is expected to launch. It will be able to perform a precise landing by analyzing the ground during its approach.

TBD – 2019 may be the year that Virgin Galactic finally starts sending paying customers into space.

TBD – Asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries may launch its first unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid called Prospector 1.

Deep Space Industries wants to one day mine asteroids. Note, this is a future concept, not Prospector 1. DSI

2020

July – NASA’s next Mars rover, tentatively named the Mars 2020 rover, will launch to the Red Planet. It will aim to search for signs of past life on Mars. This, and the other Mars missions below, will arrive in early 2021.

July – ESA’s Exomars rover will launch to Mars, searching for signs of past or present life.

July – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will attempt to launch its first mission to Mars, an orbiter called Hope.

July – India will launch its second mission to Mars, an orbiter called Mangalyaan 2. It may also include a lander and rover.

July – SpaceX may launch its next unmanned mission to Mars.

July/August – China plans to launch an orbiter, lander, and rover to Mars, its first mission to the Red Planet.

October – The Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM), a joint NASA-ESA mission to see how slamming a spacecraft into an asteroid changes its trajectory, will launch. The status of the mission is currently in jeopardy, however, after ESA pulled its funding.

TBD – Chang’e 6, another Chinese mission to the Moon, will launch. It’s not clear what this mission will do.

TBD – The Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world’s largest radio telescope array with a collecting area of one square kilometer (0.39 square miles), will switch on for the first time.

TBD – Bigelow Aerospace hopes to start construction of the first space hotel with its B330 module.

TBD – ESA’s Euclid mission will launch. It will be tasked with studying the acceleration of the universe by measuring the redshift of distant galaxies, giving us a greater understanding of dark energy and dark matter.

AIM would attempt to alter the trajectory of an asteroid, with a view to one day use this technique to save Earth. NASA/ESA

2021

October – NASA will launch a spacecraft called Lucy to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, and one main belt asteroid, from August 2027 to March 2033.

TBD – Earliest date for NASA’s Orion spacecraft to launch with a crew for the first time on a mission to lunar orbit and back. The target is between 2021 and 2023 for this mission.

TBD – India plans to launch its first manned mission.

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