Liftoff

The 10 most important space launches scheduled for 2023

Mark your calendar!

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

2022 was a big year for spaceflight.

But it’ll soon be eclipsed by another impressive year for public and private space company missions.

Here are 10 of the biggest space launches scheduled for 2023:

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10. SpaceX Crew-6 and Crew-7

Two more crewed SpaceX missions will blast off to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in 2023.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Crew-6 will depart in February, carrying a team of four to the ISS.

And Crew-7 is slated for launch sometime in the fall, right before Crew-6 returns.

9. Polaris Dawn

The first in a series of crewed SpaceX missions, Polaris Dawn will launch four private citizens into orbit around Earth no earlier than March.

The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

While in orbit, the crew plans to conduct the first spacewalk from a commercial vehicle.

8. Soyuz MS-23

Russia’s Roscosmos plans to launch another ISS-bound Soyuz spacecraft in March.

NASA Johnson Space Center

NASA Johnson Space Center

It’s supposed to carry a new crew but could instead serve as a rescue vehicle for the MS-22 team who recently discovered a coolant leak in their spacecraft.

7. Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS)

To prepare for future Artemis missions, several private space companies will deliver payloads to the Moon under NASA’s CLPS program in the new year.

NASA

NASA

The first will depart Earth in March, carrying a variety of robotic instruments.

6. Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE)

ESA’s JUICE mission is set to launch sometime between April 5 and 25 and is destined to explore the galaxy’s (arguably) weirdest moons.

NASA/JPL/DLR/ESA/ATG medialab/University of Arizona/J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

NASA/JPL/DLR/ESA/ATG medialab/University of Arizona/J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

Ganymede, Europa, and Castillo will be the main targets of this exploratory mission to determine the moons’ makeup and their potential to host life.

5. Boeing Crewed Test Flight

In April, the Boeing Starliner will embark on its first crewed mission after a successful test flight in 2022.

Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The mission will shuttle two NASA astronauts to the ISS and back.

4. Chandrayaan-3

The Indian Space Research Organisation will once again attempt to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, almost four years after its Vikram lander crashed into the Moon.

Indian Space Research Organisation via Wikimedia Commons

Indian Space Research Organisation via Wikimedia Commons

Chandrayaan-3 is slated for launch in June.

If successful, it will mark India’s first time landing any spacecraft on the Moon.

3. Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2)

After sending the first commercial spacecraft with an all-citizen crew to the ISS in 2022, Axiom Space is gearing up for a second run.

Red Huber/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Red Huber/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In the spring or early summer, the company plans to send another private crew to the ISS for ten days.

2. Psyche

On October 10, this NASA probe will travel to the peculiar Psyche asteroid, which scientists think is the exposed metal core of an ancient planet.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin

Studying it could help us understand how planets form in the Solar System — and could reveal some surprises about its unexplored, solid metal body.

1. X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM)

A next-generation X-ray telescope created by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is slated to launch sometime in 2023.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

XRISM will give scientists a serious upgrade for research into dark matter, black holes, and other strange celestial phenomena.