From asteroids to huge spaceships, 2023 will be filled with great developments for the space industry. You are about to find out the projects you should look forward to this year!
First, there’s the mission OSIRIS-Rex, which after two years is coming back to Earth. This seven-years-long mission had the objective to study Bennu, an asteroid of about 500m of diameter that can get as close as 480,000km from our planet. The spacecraft spent several months analyzing the surface of the asteroid to find a suitable place to get a sample of the surface. Once determined, a sample of at least 60g was collected and it is now making its way back to Earth for analysis.
Future missions to study asteroids include Psyche, a probe with the objective of exploring the origin of planetary cores by studying the asteroid Psyche. The mission is planned to launch in October, and will be in outer space for about five years.
Going back to the Moon
After the long-expected launch of Artemis I last year, the mission will continue its development to prepare for Artemis II, which is expected to launch in 2024. Among the side missions of Artemis, there’s Peregrine Mission One, a lunar lander, carrying scientific and other payloads to the Moon, expected to be launched at the beginning of 2023.
Also, JAXA is working on Moon missions for this year, the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is a mission expected to launch in 2023. The lander is designed to demonstrate accurate lunar landing techniques by a small explorer, with the objective of accelerating the study of the Moon and planets using light exploration systems. This will help JAXA for future Moon and other planet exploration missions.
Finally, after several delays, the launch of Europe’s newest rocket, Ariane 6, the replacement of Ariane 5, is expected to take-off in late 2023. The rocket from ArianeGroup will be available in two configurations: Ariane 62, with two solid boosters capable of taking scientific missions of up to 10.000kg in LEO and 4.500kg in GTO; and Ariane 64, with four solid boosters capable of taking commercial satellites of up to 20.000kg in LEO and 11.500kg in GTO.
Also, the Vulcan Centaur rocket is expected to be launched this year. This is a novel methane-fueled rocket that can take up to 27.000kg into a GEO and it is planned to have a reusable module of its booster engines, avionics, and thrust structure.
There are many other great things coming related to space technology and these are just a couple to keep an eye on, so stay tuned!