2023 is going to be groundbreaking, so as we are starting the year, let’s explore 10 exciting space exploration missions to look forward to in the coming months.  

1. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship 

Early in 2023, SpaceX intends to launch a Starship spacecraft into orbit for the first time. According to Musk, Starship will launch larger numbers of SpaceX Starlink broadband satellites. Recently, the business was given permission to launch hundreds more of the second-generation orbiting routers. Starship will eventually be used by the corporation for crewed expeditions to Mars. However, regular Falcon 9 flights as well as a few Falcon Heavy launches for various national security missions and other larger commercial satellite launches will continue in 2023 until Starship is ready for prime time. 

2. NASA’s Psyche Asteroid Mission 

The NASA orbiter “Psyche launch,” will lift off in October 2023, will travel roughly 186 million miles to the metal-rich asteroid Psyche, which astronomers believe might be the exposed core of an early planet. This will be our first direct look at what might be beneath the rocky surface of Earth. The mission promises to provide new insights into how planets and the solar system arose because this will be the first encounter with a metallic asteroid. 

3. The VICTUS NOX mission 

The VICTUS NOX mission, which continues the concept of space defense, will defend the US against any adversaries that chose to start an off-world conflict by destroying one of our important satellites, rather than shielding Earth from an asteroid. The US’s capacity to quickly replace a downed satellite will be demonstrated. The launch service provider will then have just 24 hours to send it into orbit. 

4. ULA’s Vulcan Centaur 

Speaking of ULA, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing that was established in 2006 has launched more than 150 of its Atlas and Delta rockets for NASA, the US Department of Defense, and other clients. The methane-fueled Vulcan Centaur, a new launch vehicle from United Launch Alliance, is getting ready to launch for the first time with the commercial Peregrine Mission One spacecraft. In its inaugural flight, the company’s next-generation rocket, which is scheduled to be launched in early 2023, will carry a moon lander created by Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic Technologies. In order to support the next space exploration missions, Vulcan will also join NASA’s launch services program. 

5. Australia’s Hybrid Rocket Eris 

Australia’s Gilmour Space Technologies, another newcomer to the space industry, intends to launch Eris, its maiden rocket, in April 2023. If successful, Australia will become just the 12th country to enter space using a homegrown rocket. With a successful launch, Eris will also be the first rocket to use a hybrid engine—one in which the fuel and oxidizer are two separate states of matter—which may pave the way for safer, more affordable space travel. 

6. Europe’s Jupiter Icy Moons Mission  

In 2023, the European Space Agency (ESA) also has a moon mission planned, but this one will focus on three moons, namely Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, three of Jupiter’s moons. Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), an ESA mission scheduled to launch in April 2023, will examine the moons over the course of 35 flybys using a suite of 10 instruments. The mission would increase our knowledge of how and where life may exist in the cosmos. 

7. India’s Skyroot Aerospace 

Skyroot Aerospace will shortly launch its first satellite as the first private Indian enterprise, having successfully launched its Vikram-S rocket in November 2022. The rocket’s own altitude of 90 km needed to be increased in order to place a constellation of satellites into orbit. In order to compete with other private space launch companies on price, Skyroot plans to launch its first satellite in 2023. The company’s 3D-printed rockets can be produced in a couple of days. 

8. Chandrayaan 3 Mision 

With the Chandrayaan 2 lander, India attempted its maiden lunar landing in September 2019. During its powered descent, it approached the lunar surface, but control was lost, and the spacecraft crashed. The Chandrayaan 3 lander will most likely launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on an LVM 3 rocket around June.

9. Japan’s Smart Lander 

A small lunar lander from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is slated to launch in 2023 and is one of the most intriguing missions ever. According to JAXA, the SLIM, or Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, “embodies the investigation of procedures that enable accurate landing and the demonstration of the techniques on the moon.” A H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima spaceport will launch SLIM and the XRISM space observatory soon this year.

10. First Commercial Spacewalk – Polaris Dawn  

With Polaris Dawn, the first commercial spacewalk will be recorded in history. The mission will launch from Kennedy Space Center’s LC-39A using a SpaceX Falcon 9 and a Crew Dragon. The mission will be led by millionaire Jared Isaacman, who will be assisted by a completely private crew. The crew will return to Earth in the Crew Dragon with a splashdown at sea. The first in a three-part mission, Polaris Dawn, will also mark SpaceX’s Starship’s first crewed voyage. 

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