Following this year’s milestones such as the launch of the Webb Space Telescope for scientific observation, the completion of China’s Tiangong space station, and the successful conclusion of NASA’s Artemis 1 mission, next year will also be a busy year for space.
Here are a few of the major upcoming space missions in 2023.
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Europe’s Jupiter Ice Moon Probe
The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the Jupiter Ice Moon Explorer (JUICE) in April 2023.
This is the agency’s first mission dedicated to exploring the Jupiter system, and is expected to enter Jupiter’s orbit in July 2031.
It began to fly by Europa, the largest satellite of the solar system Ganymede, Callisto and other celestial bodies many times; after another 4 years, the JUICE probe will enter the orbit around Ganymede.
The satellites of Jupiter are very interesting. For example, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are all considered to have liquid water oceans under the frozen surface, and Europa, Europa, is particularly valued.
Because it is one of the most likely planets in the solar system where extraterrestrial life exists (another popular research object is Titan).
At that time, the JUICE probe will focus on exploring the chemical conditions necessary for life on Europa, such as organic molecules.
Ganymede will conduct detailed research to assess the possibility of its life-supporting existence, including investigating Ganymede’s outer atmosphere, Ganymede’s magnetic field, and the interaction with Jupiter’s magnetic field, etc., and compare with Europa and Callisto .
The launch window is expected to open from April 5th to April 25th.
SpaceX Starship complete prototype makes first flight
Despite repeated delays and no specific date announced, SpaceX’s super-heavy rocket Starship prototype is expected to conduct its first orbital test flight in early 2023.
When it does, it will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever built, capable of delivering 100 metric tons of cargo to low Earth orbit.
Specifically, the starship is composed of a starship spacecraft carrying crew and cargo on the upper level and a super heavy booster (Super Heavy) on the lower level.
33 Raptor engines first push the super-heavy booster to a height of about 65 kilometers above the ground,
Then a controlled separation returns to the surface; the upper starship spacecraft then uses its own engines to continue pushing up to a higher orbit.
dearMoon Lunar Tourism Project
The dearMoon project was conceived and funded by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa,
It is expected to take 8 civilians to take a SpaceX starship to circle the moon and start a 6-day space tourism.
The mission passenger list has been released and includes several global luminaries such as photographer and science communicator Tim Dodd, who runs the million-subscribed astronomy education/rocket live channel Everyday Astronaut, From SpaceX, NASA to Firefly, etc., as long as there is any rocket launch, you can basically see his channel aiming at the rocket live.
The second is the world-renowned Japanese-American DJ and music producer Steven Hiroyuki Aoki,
He has collaborated with many famous artists to release popular songs, such as BTS “MIC Drop” (the DJ exposed in the film is himself), Linkin Park “A Light That Never Comes”, Alan walker “Are You Lonely” and so on.
Another is T.O.P, a member of the Korean idol group BIGBANG, which is also world-renowned. This group can be said to be one of the contributors to the explosion of the “Korean Wave” music genre to the world.
In the past, we had to use extremely strict criteria to select crews for deep space,
However, most of the participants in this task are creators, which indicates that we will break the traditional process,
The success or failure of the mission will profoundly affect civil space tourism, which is of great significance.
Asteroid Probe Returns to Earth
NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx to study the asteroid Bennu (asteroid 101955) on September 8, 2016, and is about to return to Earth in 2023 with more than 1 kilogram of precious asteroid samples.
Image Credit: NASA
If all goes well, the capsule will then separate from the vehicle and enter the Earth’s atmosphere, deploying parachutes for a soft landing in the Utah desert on September 24, 2023.
Previously, only Japan’s Hayabusa 2 mission has completed an asteroid sample return mission.
Private Indian company launches rocket
While SpaceX is the world’s best-known private space launch company, many other companies around the world are also developing their own rockets.
Skyroot Aerospace, a four-year-old start-up, successfully launched India’s first civilian-developed rocket, Vikram-S, in November this year.
Although it only reached a height of 90 kilometers above the ground, it still needs to be improved to send the satellite group into low-Earth orbit, but it has already started the country’s private industry to explore the space age.
With more and more launches and private ventures, it’s clear we’re entering a new “golden age” of space launches similar to the 1960s and 1970s.