For spaceflight enthusiasts out there, the good news is that there are tons of space missions and rocket launches to look forward to this year. Even before the year started, it already has overflowing and exciting missions scheduled. The NASA will be launching a new spacecraft that’ll be nearer to the Sun, and 2 of its vehicles in space will arrive at their planned locations.
Not only will NASA take over the space, but it is also a busy year for the commercial space industry. To get started, here is a short list of exciting space missions and rocket launches you will enjoy this year. Some of these have been already launched, while others are waiting to take off.
- Launch of Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy lifted off successfully from Launch Complex 39A on Tuesday, February 6th at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of 2. Its first stage is composed of 3 Falcon 9 nine-engine cores. If you missed the launch, you can always watch a replace of the test flight and the live view of Starman in orbit on the web.
- Tess Launch
The next spacecraft of NASA that will be hunting exoplanet, TESS, will also be up this 2018. The spacecraft will be looking for planets and study stars all over the whole night sky. The goal is for the spacecraft to look for the nearby rocky exoplanets to Earth. This will help the astronomers determine the types of atmosphere that such worlds have, as well as whether or not they possibly host life. The launch of Tess is planned on not earlier than March and not later than June.
- Commercial Crew Test Flights
If the launch becomes successful, it could become the very first test of 2 vehicles that are part of the Commercial Crew Program of NASA. The initiative of the space agency is to launch astronauts on spacecraft that are privately made. Both Boeing and SpaceX have been developing new capsules to carry passengers towards the space stations. The test flights were scheduled originally for 2017 and they can see a possibility that the launch may be delayed again.
These are just a few of the many space missions and rocket launches everyone enjoyed and will enjoy this year. This just means that the space will be a bit busy this year with so many exciting launches and space missions that are about to happen.