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May 29, 2024

Space Race 2024: NASA, China, India and More Set for Monumental Launches

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Jan 8, 2024

2022 was a landmark year for space, with towering achievements like the James Webb telescope’s first images and SpaceX’s first orbital flight. If you thought that was exciting, 2024 is shaping up to bring even more monumental advances.

The Moon Takes Center Stage

Several major agencies have their sights set on our celestial neighbor in 2024. After years of preparation, NASA is finally gearing up for the first Artemis lunar landing since 1972.

Artemis 1 launched flawlessly late last year. Now Artemis 2 plans to send astronauts on a flyby of the Moon in 2024. If all goes to plan, Artemis 3 will land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface by the end of 2024, over half a century since NASA last achieved this feat.

Mission Launch Date Key Details
Artemis 2 May 2024 4 astronauts will fly around the Moon without landing
Artemis 3 November 2024 Plans to land 2 astronauts near the lunar South Pole

NASA has described Artemis 3 as its “most high risk endeavor in decades.” While hopes are high, the mission timeline is tight and funding constraints could hamper progress.

India and Japan also have their sights set on the Moon this year. ISRO plans to send its first crewed spaceflight in late 2024, with a lunar landing potentially following in 2025. JAXA aims to launch SLIM, a lunar lander and rover, by March 2025.

China similarly has big ambitions after successfully landing rovers on the far side of the Moon in 2019. Its Chang’e 6 sample return mission could launch by late 2024.

Ice Hunting on Europa and Bounding Across Titan

While NASA returns to the Moon, it has tasked two other critical missions – Clipper and VIPER – with hunting for life’s potential beyond Earth.

The Europa Clipper plans to start its journey in October 2024. It will spend 4 years charting Jupiter’s icy moon Europa through dozens of flybys. Scientists believe warm underground oceans could harbor basic lifeforms under Europa’s frozen crust.

VIPER will pave the way for future human exploration of the Moon. The rover aims to land near the lunar South Pole by November 2024 seeking evidence of water ice. Its discoveries could reveal accessible resources to aid extended lunar missions.

On Saturn’s hazy moon Titan, Dragonfly presents a bold concept – a rotorcraft that can fly and land repeatedly across the alien terrain. This mission plans to launch in late 2027, culminating in arrival on Titan by 2034. The 8-bladed drone will search for signs of past or even present microbial life.

More Highlights in Earth’s Orbit and Beyond

While robotic explorers set sail, exciting new tech also plans to hone skills much closer to home in 2024.

January and February mark busy traffic to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX and Boeing will conduct crew rotation flights. Axiom-2 then plans the second fully private trip to the ISS after last year’s trailblazing Ax-1 mission.

Boeing’s Starliner will retake its NASA certification test after failing to reach ISS in late 2022 due to technical problems. Its success is key to providing redundancy to SpaceX for future NASA crew rotations.

SpaceX also aims to launch four heavy Starlink internet satellite batches by February 2024 alone as it races to meet consumer demand globally.

Even missions launching this year will begin bearing fruit in 2024. Lockheed Martin’s satellite repair ROBOpilot will start testing technologies for autonomous spacecraft servicing. NASA’s SPHEREx telescope should start its sky surveys by early 2024, gathering data to help explain the universe’s expansion.

More Moonshots on the Horizon

After years of planning, 2024 may finally humankind’s next “giant leap” back to the Moon. But epic journeys to other worlds are just getting underway.

The meteoric rise of commercial space also shows no signs of slowing. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and RocketLab have slated over 40 combined launches for next year spanning crewed flights, communications, defense and more.

With luck, many future space travelers will reflect back on 2024 as the year expansive dreams started becoming incredible new realities. Buckle up – the new space race has truly begun!

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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