The year 2024 will be rich in various landmark space missions that will delight enthusiasts. They range from the moon landing to crewed missions, the launch of new rockets and the exploration of Jupiter's moon Europa.
These missions not only reflect significant achievements in space exploration, but also pave the way for future scientific discoveries and the potential for human presence beyond Earth, writes Сourierstandardenterprise.com .
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Smart Lunar Exploration Lander (SLIM) mission will be one of the most exciting events of 2024. This mission, which is due to take place in January, aims to make the first-ever soft landing on the Moon for a Japanese spacecraft. The SLIM mission will land on the lunar crater Shioli, which will be an important milestone for JAXA and their lunar exploration.
Astrobotic Technology, a leading space robotics company, also plans to launch its first lunar lander in January. This lander will carry 20 commercial and government payloads, including a lunar rover developed by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University. This mission is another step forward in our understanding and exploration of the lunar surface.
In mid-February, Intuitive Machines, in partnership with SpaceX, will make the first lunar landing with the IM-1 lunar mission. The landing is to take place near the Moon's south pole and will be an important milestone for the company in its quest to explore the Moon.
China's Chang'e-6 mission, scheduled for 2024, aims to collect material from the lunar backside. This mission follows the success of the country's previous sample return mission and further contributes to our understanding of Earth's natural satellite.
NASA's Artemis 2 mission is also scheduled for 2024. It will send the first astronauts around the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972. With a scheduled launch in November, Artemis 2 will carry four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft using a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, reviving the excitement of crewed lunar missions for space enthusiasts.
In addition, the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket is scheduled to make its maiden flight in January. The rocket will carry several payloads, including the Astrobotic Technology lunar lander, demonstrating the capabilities of this new space launch system.
SpaceX's Starship rocket, one of the most anticipated projects in the space industry, is preparing for its third flight in the first quarter of 2024. This mission, known as IFT-3, aims to test critical technologies for future lunar and interplanetary missions, further expanding the frontiers of space exploration.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is also preparing for a major launch in 2024. Following the completion of recent tests, the Ariane 6 rocket is expected to fly in the middle of the year, offering a reliable and efficient means of reaching space.
Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, plans to launch its New Glenn rocket in 2024. On board will be NASA's ESCAPADE mission, which aims to study the magnetosphere of Mars, contributing to our understanding of the Red Planet.
Jupiter's moon Europa will also be the focus of research in 2024. NASA's Europa Clipper mission is set to launch in October and will explore the moon to determine if its underground ocean is habitable, offering tantalizing possibilities for extraterrestrial life.
Finally, the Boeing Starliner spacecraft is tentatively scheduled to make its first crewed test flight in mid-April. The test pilots will travel to the International Space Station, which will be an important step for Boeing in its quest to provide reliable crew transportation services.
All in all, 2024 promises to be an exciting year for space exploration.