2026 in spaceflight

Summary

2026 in spaceflight
Mars-sample-return-Mars-ascent-vehicule.jpg
In 2026, the final elements of a multi-year Mars sample-return mission is planned to be launched by NASA and ESA.

This article documents expected notable spaceflight events during the year 2026.

In 2026, as part of a Mars sample-return mission, NASA plans to launch the Sample Retrieval Lander. Later in the year, the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch the Earth Return Orbiter, which will transport the retrieved samples from Mars to Earth.

Orbital launches

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks


March

March (TBD)[1] United States SLS Block 1B United States Kennedy LC-39B United States NASA
United States Artemis 4 NASA Selenocentric Crewed lunar landing  
Fourth crewed Orion flight. First launch of the SLS Block 1B variant with the Exploration Upper Stage.


July

July (TBD)[2][3] United States Commercial launch vehicle United States TBA United States TBA
United States Europe Sample Retrieval Lander NASA / ESA TMI to Martian Surface Mars sample-return  
Lander component of the NASA–ESA Mars sample-return mission. It will carry the ESA's Sample Fetch Rover and the Mars Ascent Vehicle.


October

October (TBD)[2][3] Europe Ariane 6 France Kourou ELA-4 France Arianespace
Europe Earth Return Orbiter ESA Areocentric Mars sample-return  
Orbiter component of the NASA–ESA Mars sample-return mission. It will collect the sample return canister delivered into orbit by the Mars Ascent Vehicle and carry it back to Earth.


To be determined

2026 (TBD)[4] Russia Angara A5P Russia Vostochny Site 1A Russia Roscosmos
Russia Orel Roscosmos Low Earth Crewed flight test  
2026 (TBD)[5] Europe Ariane 62[6] France Kourou ELA-4 France Arianespace
Europe PLATO ESA Sun–Earth L2 Exoplanetary science  
2026 (TBD)[7] Japan Epsilon S[8] Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Solar-C EUVST JAXA Low Earth (SSO) Heliophysics  
Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission.
2026 (TBD)[9] United States Falcon Heavy United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX GLS-2 SpaceX / NASA Selenocentric (NRHO) Gateway logistics  
Second Dragon XL resupply mission to the Lunar Gateway.
2026 (TBD)[11] Europe Vega-C France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Europe FORUM ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
Ninth Earth Explorer mission for ESA's Living Planet Programme. FORUM is baselined for launch on the Vega-C, and will fly in a loose sun-synchronous formation with MetOp-SG A1.[10]
2026 (TBD)[12] United States TBA United States TBA United States TBA
United States Axiom Lab (AxL) Axiom Space Low Earth (ISS) ISS assembly / Commercial habitat  
Third Axiom module.
2026 (TBD)[13] United States TBA United States Cape Canaveral United States TBA
United States GPS IIIF-01 U.S. Space Force Medium Earth Navigation  
First GPS IIIF satellite. A total of 22 GPS satellites are planned to be launched from 2026 to 2034.
2026 (TBD)[14] TBA TBA TBA
Europe International Habitation Module (I-HAB) ESA Selenocentric (NRHO) Lunar Gateway component  

Suborbital flights

Deep-space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
July Hayabusa2 Flyby of (98943) 2001 CC21[15]

Extravehicular activities (EVAs)

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks

Orbital launch statistics

By country

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of orbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the rocket, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. For example, Soyuz launches by Arianespace in Kourou are counted under Russia because Soyuz-2 is a Russian rocket.

Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks

By rocket

By family

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By type

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By configuration

Rocket Country Type Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By spaceport

Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By orbit

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric 0 0 0 0
Low Earth 0 0 0 0
Geosynchronous / transfer 0 0 0 0
Medium Earth 0 0 0 0
High Earth 0 0 0 0
Heliocentric orbit 0 0 0 0 Including planetary transfer orbits

Notes

References

  1. ^ "NASA's Management of the Gateway Program for Artemis Missions" (PDF). OIG. NASA. 10 November 2020. p. 3. Retrieved 4 January 2021. Artemis IV is scheduled to launch in March 2026 (as of August 2020). CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Cowart, Justin (13 August 2019). "NASA, ESA Officials Outline Latest Mars Sample Return Plans". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 2 December 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Wall, Mike (29 July 2019). "Bringing Pieces of Mars to Earth in 2031: How NASA and Europe Plan to Do It". Space.com. Retrieved 2 December 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Определен срок полета российского корабля "Орел" с экипажем на МКС" [The scheduled time for the first crewed flight of the Russian spacecraft Orel to the ISS has been determined]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 13 February 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Planet-hunting eye of PLATO". ESA. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Mission Operations". ESA. 13 January 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "NASA Approves Heliophysics Missions to Explore Sun, Earth's Aurora". NASA (Press release). 29 December 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Instruments | Next-generation solar-observing satellite Solar-C_EUVST". NAOJ. Retrieved 30 December 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Report No. IG-21-004: NASA's Management of the Gateway Program for Artemis Missions" (PDF). OIG. NASA. 10 November 2020. pp. 5–7. Retrieved 24 December 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Earth Explorer 9 Candidate Mission FORUM – Report for Mission Selection" (PDF). ESA. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "A new satellite to understand how Earth is losing its cool". ESA. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Axiom Space [@Axiom_Space] (30 November 2020). "The Axiom Lab module is the next step for astronaut-tended manufacturing & research in space. What industries could you reshape in microgravity?" (Tweet). Retrieved 1 December 2020 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Erwin, Sandra (23 February 2021). "L3Harris gets $137 million contract for GPS digital payloads". SpaceNews. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Thales Alenia Space on its way to reach the Moon". Thales Group (Press release). 14 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "はやぶさ2、次のミッションは小惑星「1998KY26」…JAXA". The Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 13 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links

Generic references:
RocketSunIcon.svg Spaceflight portal
  • Bergin, Chris. "NASASpaceFlight.com".
  • Clark, Stephen. "Spaceflight Now".
  • Kelso, T.S. "Satellite Catalog (SATCAT)". CelesTrak.
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Chronology of Space Launches".
  • Kyle, Ed. "Space Launch Report".
  • McDowell, Jonathan. "Jonathan's Space Report".
  • Pietrobon, Steven. "Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive".
  • Wade, Mark. "Encyclopedia Astronautica".
  • Webb, Brian. "Southwest Space Archive".
  • Zak, Anatoly. "Russian Space Web".
  • "ISS Calendar". Spaceflight 101.
  • "NSSDCA Master Catalog". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • "Space Calendar". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • "Space Information Center". JAXA.
  • "Хроника освоения космоса" [Chronicle of space exploration]. CosmoWorld (in Russian).