We like to look up and NASA does too. In a new video titled “Onward and Upward,” NASA gives us a glimpse into 2024 in terms of the space organization's plans.
2024 in space
2023 has not been a very interesting year in terms of major space activities. This does not mean that space organizations were inactive, but for example there were no activities around the Moon from NASA (although there were other organizations, but not all of them were successful). However, tubes containing samples from the Moon were opened, Psyche was launched to that precious asteroid and we were once again able to enjoy the most beautiful images of James Webb and a special discovery from the “old” Hubble. NASA also launched its own streaming service.
Anticipation for the Artemis lunar program is high, and while 2023 has been fairly quiet on this front, 2024 promises a significant new launch. It may not seem that interesting, because humans have never been sent to the Moon, while we have done that before, but it is still the important launch of the year: Artemis II. Here we are getting very close to the moon again.
Four astronauts will fly by the moon at a distance of about 100 kilometers to see if it is possible to get that close using current equipment. However, we still have a long wait for the mission: it's scheduled to take place in November 2024. Besides, if the weather gods aren't so kind to us, it could end up being 2025 after all…
However, there is more going on on the moon. VIPER (Volatile Polar Exploration Orbiter) will be placed on the Moon to examine the South Pole for ice. This is an important resource for people visiting the Moon because it can hopefully be turned into fuel for spacecraft that can travel to nearby planets. This mission was actually supposed to take place in 2023, but the landing gear still needs further development.
Jupiter's moon Europa
NASA also plans to host the Europa Clipper mission, as our continent is only related to one of Jupiter's largest moons, called Europa. Something interesting under investigation is whether the sea there could be home to extraterrestrial life.
Of course there is more than just NASA. Elon Musk's SpaceX, for example, will launch 144 rockets next year, aiming to further expand the Starlink Internet. It now has 2 million users in 60 countries and would like to see this grow. In addition, SpaceX still has a chance to choose from with the giant spacecraft, the largest space system that has erupted several times this year after launch.
SpaceX Super Heavy
A very heavy spacecraft that sends everything up into the air does its job well, but the giant Starship is sometimes a somewhat unguided projectile. SpaceX has to manage this better in 2024, because it has to work for NASA in 2025.
Of course, there are also space companies that have nothing to do with NASA, such as Japanese companies. They hoped to launch their spacecraft to explore the Martian moons in 2024 to retrieve a sample from the Martian moon and bring it back to Earth and examine it. It is about the moon Phobos, but unfortunately they will not go there until 2026: the project has been significantly delayed.
The Chinese will go to the Moon in 2024, with their Chang'e 6 spacecraft, to collect a sample from the far side of the Moon and bring it to Earth for research. Pakistan is sending the lunar probe ICCUBE-Q to monitor the moon. There are also several first flights planned, including an ESA mission:
- Ariane 6 – Ariane Space – Europe (ESA)
- Aurora – Interaction Dynamics – Canada
- Iris Block 2 – Gilmore Space Technologies – Australia
- Gravity-2 – Orienspace – China
- Hanbit Nano – Inospace – South Korea
- Nebula-1 – Deep Blue Aerospace – China
- Neutron – Rocket Lab – USA
- New Glenn – Blue Origin – USA
- Pallas-1 – Hungarian Energy – China
- RFA One – Augsburg Missile Factory – Germany
- Skyrora XL – Skyrora – United Kingdom
- Tianlong-3 – Astronaut – China
- Volans – Tropical Space Systems – Singapore
- Darwin-2 – Rocket Bay – China
- Vulcan Centaur – United Launch Alliance – USA
When she's not clicking, she's traveling around the wonderful world of entertainment or somewhere wonderful in the real world. Mario is the man of her life..
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”