What’s Going to Happen in Space in 2024? You Won’t Believe!

Look up to the skies because 2024 is set to be a year of surprises and in .

US Billionaires Explore Space

Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, two rival American companies, are preparing to offer their wealthy clients suborbital adventures. With Virgin Galactic's next flight set for January 26th and further orbital flights from both companies planned throughout the year, the space tourism industry is about to take off.

Space Activities Scheduled for the Year

Apart from the leisure trips, a significant tourism mission to the ISS is also in the pipeline for January. Another anticipated event is billionaire Jared Isaacson's mission, Polaris, in conjunction with SpaceX. On this mission, astronauts will attempt an unprecedented exit in a private suit.

Also, the first manned flight of Boeing's Starliner capsule is expected around April-May. The Artemis II mission, planned for a tour around the moon towards the end of the year, might only take off by early 2025, according to recent indications.

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New Arrivals on the Horizon

Expect new types of cargo in 2024. The HTV-X from Japan and the private shuttle DreamChaser from the U.S. are set to arrive. Also, four robotic missions, including the Japanese SLIM lander and American landers from Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines, are scheduled to touch down on the Moon. Furthermore, 's Chang'e-6 mission aims to bring back samples from the dark side of the Moon.

Ongoing Space Explorations

The exploration of Mars will continue with the Curiosity and rovers, and the Ingenuity helicopter. NASA, in conjunction with Blue Origin, plans to ideally dispatch two small ESCAPADE probes to Mars by year-end.

Expect some good news from the European mission, ExoMars, and its rover. Jupiter is also on the radar due to Juno's ongoing exploration and the European probe JUICE's double gravitational assistance maneuver set for August 2024. As well, NASA's mission to study the icy moon, Europa Clipper, is in the works.

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While the study of asteroids may take a backseat this year, the European Space Agency (ESA) still plans to send Hera to inspect the Didymos-Dimorphos asteroid pair. NASA's Parker solar mission is the only anticipated Venus flyby this year.

The BepiColombo mission, on the other hand, will continue aligning its trajectory with Mercury, with a 4th flyby planned for September.

The Satellite Scene in 2024

SpaceX's Starlink units, Amazon's Kuiper constellation, and several Chinese projects will continue launching satellites throughout the year. However, Europe may face challenges in launching satellites from European soil due to an ongoing launcher crisis. The anticipated mid-June of Ariane 6 might help Europe overcome this crisis.

Breaking Records

SpaceX is on track to cross the 100-launch threshold for a single company, with potential progress on its Starship program. Other companies such as Rocket Lab and Firefly also hope to set new records. Globally, an estimated 220-250 orbital launches are expected in just one year.

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