There are over 69 currently active missions.
Since 1945, NACA (NASA's predecessor) and, since 1958, NASA have conducted the X-Plane Program. The program was originally intended to create a family of experimental aircraft not intended for production beyond the limited number of each design built solely for flight research. The first X-Plane, the Bell X-1, was the first rocket-powered airplane to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947. X-Planes have set numerous milestones since then, both crewed and unpiloted.
NASA has successfully launched over 200 crewed flights. Two have ended in failure, causing the death of the entire crew: STS-51-L (the Challenger disaster) in 1986, and STS-107 (the Columbia disaster) in 2003. (Apollo 1 in 1967 lost three crew members but never launched.)
|Program||Start date||End date||No. of launched
|Mercury program||1959||1963||6||First U.S. crewed program|
|Gemini program||1963||1966||10||Program used to practice space rendezvous and EVAs|
|Apollo program||1961||1972||11[a]||Brought first human to the Moon|
|Skylab||1973||1974||3||The crewed missions only took place in 1973 and 1974; first American space station|
|Apollo–Soyuz Test Project||1975||1975||1||Joint with Soviet Union|
|Space Shuttle||1981||2011||135||First missions in which a spacecraft was reused|
|Shuttle-Mir Program||1995||1998||9[b]||Russian partnership|
|International Space Station||1998||Ongoing||54||Joint with Roscosmos, CSA, ESA, and JAXA along with co-operators ASI and AEB|
|Project Constellation||2003||2010||0||Cancelled program to bring humans to the Moon again, to Mars and beyond|
|Artemis program||2017||Ongoing||0||Current program to bring humans to the Moon again|
On May 7, the Obama Administration announced the launch of an independent review of planned U.S. human space flight activities with the goal of ensuring that the nation is on a vigorous and sustainable path to achieving its boldest aspirations in space. The review was conducted by a panel of experts led by Norman Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin, who served on the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology under both Democrat and Republican presidents.
The "Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans" was to examine ongoing and planned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) development activities, as well as potential alternatives and present options for advancing a safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable human space flight program in the years following Space Shuttle retirement. The panel worked closely with NASA and sought input from the United States Congress, the White House, the public, industry, and international partners as it developed its options. It presented its results on October 22, 2009.
In February 2010, Obama announced his proposal to cancel the Constellation Program as part of the 2011 Economic Projects. Constellation was officially cancelled by the NASA Budget Authorization Act on 11 October 2010.
NASA brought the Orion MPCV back to life from the defunct Constellation Program and successfully test launched the first capsule on December 5, 2014 aboard EFT-1. After a near perfect flight traveling 3,600 miles (5,800 km) above Earth, the spacecraft was recovered for study. NASA plans to use the Orion crew vehicle to send humans to deep space locations such as the Moon and Mars starting in the 2020s. Orion will be powered by NASA's new heavy lift vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is currently under development.
Artemis 1 is planned to be the first flight of the SLS and will be launched as a test of the completed Orion and SLS system. During the mission, an uncrewed Orion capsule will spend 10 days in a distant retrograde 60,000 kilometers (37,000 mi) orbit around the Moon before returning to Earth. Artemis 2, the first crewed mission of the program, will launch four astronauts in 2022 on a free-return flyby of the Moon at a distance of 8,900 kilometers (5,500 mi).
After Artemis 2, the Power and Propulsion Element of the Lunar Gateway and three components of an expendable lunar lander are planned to be delivered on multiple launches from commercial launch service providers.
Artemis 3 is planned to launch in 2024 aboard a SLS Block 1B rocket and will use the minimalist Gateway and expendable lander to achieve the first crewed lunar landing of the program. The flight is planned to touch down on the lunar south pole region, with two astronauts staying there for about one week.
|Artemis 1||N/A||SLS Block 1 Crew||Planned||~25d|
||TBA||SLS Block 1 Crew||Planned||~10d|
||TBA||SLS Block 1B Crew||Planned||~30d|
- Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) – five consecutive launches, 80 seconds apart on March 27, 2012, studied the high-altitude jet stream .
- NASA Sounding Rocket Program
- Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE)
- Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS)
- Landsat program
- New Millennium Program (NMP)
- Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM)
- Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST)
- Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)
- Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX)
- Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) – X-ray telescope orbiting Earth
- Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) – Sun observing, Earth satellite
- Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX)
- Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS)
- Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) – Sun observing, Earth satellite
- Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE)
- Hinode (Solar-B)
- Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED)
- Two Wide-angle Imaging Neutral-atom Spectrometers (TWINS)
- Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
- Lunar Precursor Robotic Program (LPRP)
- Deep Space 2 (DS2) – (sub-surface probes)
- Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
- New Millennium Program (NMP)
- Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) – launched September 2016
- Cassini–Huygens – Saturn and its moons
- Dawn – Vesta in 2011-2012, and Ceres in 2015-2018
- Galileo – Jupiter and its moons
- Juno – Jupiter
- Magellan (Venus Radar Mapper)
- Mariner program – Venus
- Pioneer program
- Genesis – returned sample of solar wind
- Living With a Star
- Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL) – two campaigns of 20 balloons each, studying the Van Allen radiation belts, 2012 to 2014 This mission is complement to the Van Allen Probes (RBSP).
- Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
- Solar Terrestrial Probes program
- Ulysses (spacecraft) – ESA partnership
- Parker Solar Probe – the first mission into the Sun's corona, successfully launched on 12 August 2018.
- Europa Clipper; launch ~2023
- Dragonfly (spacecraft); launch ~2026
Cancelled or undeveloped missions
- Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby (CRAF)
- Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO)
- Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C)
- Mars Telecommunications Orbiter (MTO)
- Origins program
- Mars Scout program
- Space exploration
- Timeline of Solar System exploration
- When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions – 2008 documentary covering NASA's mission history.
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- "NASA Science Missions | Science Mission Directorate".
- "Dryden Historic Aircraft - X-planes overview". Dryden Flight Research Center. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis"". Milestones of Flight. National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "APPENDIX A; HISTORY OF THE X-PLANE PROGRAM". Draft X-33 Environmental Impact Statement. NASA. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- OSTP Press Release Announcing Review (pdf, 50k)
- "No to NASA: Augustine Commission Wants to More Boldly Go". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
- Foust 2019, "Artemis 1, or EM-1, will be an uncrewed test flight of Orion and SLS and is scheduled to launch in June of 2020."
- Hill 2018, Page 2, "The first uncrewed, integrated flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft [...] Enter Distant Retrograde Orbit for next 6–10 days [...] 37,000 miles from the surface of the Moon [...] Mission duration: 25.5 days"
- "NASA: Moon to Mars". NASA. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
- Hambleton, Kathryn (2018-08-27). "First Flight With Crew Important Step on Long-Term Return to Moon". NASA. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
- Hambleton, Kathryn (2019-05-23). "NASA's First Flight With Crew Important Step on Long-term Return to the Moon, Missions to Mars". NASA. Retrieved 2019-07-10.
- Hill 2018, Page 3, "Crewed Hybrid Free Return Trajectory, demonstrating crewed flight and spacecraft systems performance beyond Low Earth orbit (LEO) [...] lunar fly-by 4,800 nmi [...] 4 astronauts [...] Mission duration: 9 days"
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- Bridenstine & Grush 2019, "Now, for Artemis 3 that carries our crew to the Gateway, we need to have the crew have access to a lander. So, that means that at Gateway we're going to have the Power and Propulsion Element, which will be launched commercially, the Utilization Module, which will be launched commercially, and then we'll have a lander there.
- Bridenstine & Grush 2019, "The direction that we have right now is that the next man and the first woman will be Americans, and that we will land on the south pole of the Moon in 2024."
- Chang, Kenneth (25 May 2019). "For Artemis Mission to Moon, NASA Seeks to Add Billions to Budget". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
Under the NASA plan, a mission to land on the moon would take place during the third launch of the Space Launch System. Astronauts, including the first woman to walk on the moon, Mr. Bridenstine said, would first stop at the orbiting lunar outpost. They would then take a lander to the surface near its south pole, where frozen water exists within the craters.
- "NASA outlines plans for lunar lander development through commercial partnerships". 21 July 21 2019. Check date values in:
- "NASA administrator on recent personnel shakeup: 'There's no turmoil at all'". 12 July 2019.
- "NASA's large SLS rocket unlikely to fly before at least late 2021". 17 July 2019.
- Boeing Space (31 July 2019). "Farther and faster: The next stage of America's Moon rocket is taking shape to dramatically reduce travel time in space and carry more on a single flight. The Boeing-built @NASA_SLS Exploration Upper Stage will fly on Artemis-3.pic.twitter.com/pNye8izfiE". Twitter. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- "Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX)". NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "ATREX Launch Sequence" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- "Missions - Science Mission Directorate".
- "NPP Launch Information". NASA. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
- "Jason 3"./
- "Landsat Missions Timeline - Landsat Missions".
- "RBSP Mission Overview". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "RBSP". NASA/APL. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Explorer Missions". NASA. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
- Clark, Stephen (2012-04-03). "Launch of NASA X-ray telescope targeted for June". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "NuSTAR". NASA. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- "GRAIL Mission: Fact Sheet". MoonKAM.UCSD.edu. Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- "NASA To Launch New Science Mission To Asteroid In 2016". NASA. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "NASA's OSIRIS-REx Speeds Toward Asteroid Rendezvous". NASA. 2016-09-08. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
- "Juno Mission to Jupiter" (PDF). NASA. April 2009. p. 2. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Karen C. Fox (2011-02-22). "Launching Balloons in Antarctica". NASA. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Van Allen Probes: NASA Renames Radiation Belt Mission to Honor Pioneering Scientist". Reuters. Science Daily. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
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- "MMS Launch". NASA. 2013-11-06.
- "NASA Selects Science Investigations for Solar Probe Plus". NASA. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "Johns Hopkins APL Team Developing Solar Probe Plus for Closest-Ever Flights Past the Sun". JHU APL. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
- "JWST Home Page". NASA. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- "10-Year Plan for Astrophysics Takes JWST Cost into Account". SpaceNews.com. 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
- NASA - Missions