American News Update

News

2016 Space Missions

2016 Space Missions
January 18
10:54 2016

The image above shows a gorgeous blue sunset on our closest neighbor, Mars. The year 2016 promises to teach us more about the Red Planet with the beginning of the ExoMars mission.

Fans of spaceflight and space exploration will have plenty of exciting events to keep them on the edge of their seats this year. And while 2016 may not give us anything quite as dramatic as last July’s flyby of Pluto, there is much to look forward to. Here is a brief summary of the biggest space missions to watch for during 2016:

January

how to order prednisone taper A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Jason-3 Earth-observing satellite will be launched into space on January 17th from Vadenberg Air Force base in California. The mission is a collaboration between NASA, NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), French agency CNES, and European organization EUMETSAT.

Jason-3 will make precise measurements of variations in sea level around the globe. These measurements will provide data valuable to climate change research.

The launch is unique in that SpaceX is attempting to “catch” Flacon 9’s first stage on an unoccupied ship off the coast California so that the rocket can be reused. If it works, the cost of future spaceflight may be drastically reduced.

February

source site SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply the ISS (International Space Station) via a series robotic resupply missions. The first six out of twelve missions succeeded, but the seventh blew up in Florida skies last June.

SpaceX will resume its cargo mission on February 7th with a new and improved Falcon 9 and unmanned Dragon payload.

March

planet

buy Seroquel line ESA (European Space Agency) will launch the first part of its ExoMars mission (a collaborative effort with the Russian Space Agency AKA Roscosmos) on March 14th, blasting the TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) on a long, 7-month journey. Upon arrival, the TGO will hunt for sources of methane on Mars.

The photo at left was captured by NASA in April 1999. Click here to see more photos of Mars. 

The lander will make a variety of observations during its descent through the Red Planet’s atmosphere and promises to demonstrate new technology as it touches down on Mars. This event will pave the way for the eventual launch of the ExoMars rover (in 2018) that will search the Red Planet for signs of life.

“Mars was a habitable world at some point early in its history,” says planetary scientist Jim Bell. “We don’t know exactly when, and we don’t know precisely where. Future missions will have to figure that out.”

NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Aleksey Ovchinin will blast into space on March 18th headed for the International Space Station. The trio will enter space in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft constructed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Three additional ISS crew launches are scheduled for 2016 and will blast off from Baikonur on June 21st, September 23rd, and November 16th.

April

can i buy viagra in canada SpaceX will launch its giant Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time this April from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rocket is 224 feet tall and will become the world’s most powerful booster. Experts say the beast is capable of launching 53 metric tons into orbit.

SpaceX was originally founded to help humankind eventually colonize Mars. The Falcon Heavy is an integral part of those plans.

Summer

The $466 million Dawn mission may end this summer when the probe is expected to run out of hydrazine fuel. Dawn is the only probe to ever circle two different bodies beyond our Earth-moon system. The spacecraft orbited Vesta (a protoplanet in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars) from July 2011 to September 2012. It then moved on to Ceres, another planetary body in the asteroid belt, where it has been taking pictures and measurements since March 2015. Click here to watch a video of Ceres. 

July

NASA’s Juno probe is scheduled to enter Jupiter’s orbit on Independence Day – almost five years after the spacecraft’s original launch from Earth. The solar-powered probe will map out the magnetic and gravitational fields of the gas giant, revealing important details about Jupiter’s evolution and structure. NASA officials hope to learn whether or not Jupiter has a solid core.

September

The asteroid-sampling probe OSIRIS-REx (Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer mission) is scheduled for launch on September 3rd.

The probe’s mission is to snag 60 grams of material from the 1,650-foot-wide asteroid Bennu. OSIRIS-REx will reach the asteroid in 2018 and if everything goes according to plan will return to Earth in 2023.
NASA officials hope the asteroid sample will teach us more about our solar system’s evolution.

ESA’s Rosetta mission will end September 30th when the Rosetta orbiter is scheduled to crash land on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The mission, which is the first to ever orbit and land on a comet, began in March 2004. The probe entered the asteroid’s orbit in August 2014. The Rosetta mothership then ejected a lander called Philae, which made it to the comet’s frozen surface in November 2014.

The final step of the mission this September will give researchers a more detailed picture of Comet 67P.

Tags
Share

About Author

April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

Related Articles