We are in the next golden age for space travel, with many countries and even private companies pushing toward the final frontier. While the most exciting news is, by far, the Mars mission, this is still years away from the public seeing big updates. Don’t worry; if you’re a space fan, there are still many exciting things ahead to look forward to. From big launches to the start of new projects that should give us some very important information about the far reaches of the solar system, these are the big missions that have taken place, or are planned, for 2023.
The rise of SpaceX has been instrumental to the revitalization of the space industry, and for one simple reason: reusability. Sending a spaceship up into the air and having to lose the booster, which is used to get into space, every time has made space travel largely unsustainable. With reusable booster rockets, costs plummet per flight. The Starship heavy booster is the leading figure in reusability, and in 2023, it’s being tested alongside its orbital launch tower. The first take-off resulted in heavy damage around the launch tower’s base. A flame diverter and water deluge system to alleviate launch stress will first need to be installed before further testing can continue.
The Crew for Artemis II Has Been Assigned
The Artemis program has seen a lot of progress in the past few years, with its first successful unmanned flight occurring just last year in 2022. While a manned flight isn’t set for at least 2024 (barring any issues), we now know who will be on the flight. This mission is a joint program between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and as a result, contains both Americans and Canadians. The four astronauts selected include Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Jeremy Hansen. Ahead of their 2024 flight, NASA is expected to send cargo in anticipation of their arrival to the moon this year.
Jupiter’s moons are of huge interest to space agencies around the world, which is why the launch of JUICE – Jupiter’s Icy Moons Explorer Mission” is so exciting. The launch occurred on the 14th of April this year, from Kourou, French Guiana. It’ll be a while yet before this probe reaches Jupiter, as it’s using the Earth’s, the moon’s, and then Venus’ gravity to assist it onwards to the gas giant. It’s expected to reach Jupiter and its moons around July 2031.
Boeing to Send a Crew to the ISS
Boeing is another leading figure in space, but its Starliner has been plagued with ongoing developmental issues that have caused years of delays. Last year, however, they completed an uncrewed test mission, and this year are planning a crewed mission. The initial slot was for April, but the latest date has been moved to the end of July.