The Top Ten Space Missions to Watch in 2013

This 2012 was busy with space missions. 2013 will maybe be more busier with astronauts and cosmonauts transports to the International Space Station and with China, South Korea, India, Canada and European countries launching satellites to enhance our understanding of space weather phenomena.

Here, I present to you the most important space missions which will occur in 2013:

1. Suborbital Test Flights -During the whole year. 2013 will mark the turn for private space companies (Virgin: Galactic’s SpaceShipTwoproposing, XCOR Aerospace: Lynx suborbital vehicles) suborbital flights. These machines should be tested thoughroughly in order to bring their first passengers to the edge of space in 2014.

2. Successful South Korea Launch in January? Is the thrird try going to be the good one. After two failed attempts, South Korea will try to launch its Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV) 1 booster to place a test satellite (STSAT 2C) on Orbit. Launch is expected sometime in January 2013.

3. Indian/French SARAL/AltiKa – Jan. 28. The spacecraft will be launched by an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. It will also transport an instrument designed to search for near-Earth asteroids that could pose a risk to our planet (NEOSSat), and Canad’a first military satellite (Sapphire).

4. International Space Station Crew Launches – March 28, May 28, and Sept. 25. They will take place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

5. Canada’s Cassiope (Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer) – April. The satellite will be lauched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base (using a Falcon 9) sometimes in April to observe space weather from an hybrid satellite, to understand how solar storms interact with charged particles in Earth’s ionosphere and to test new communications technology.

6. Space Station Cargo Launches – Feb. 12, April 24, and July 24 (Russia), July 15 (Japan), April 18 (ESA), March 1, Sept. 30: SpaceX (USA), April 5: Orbital Sciences Corp.(USA). This flights will permit to bring food, hardware and science experiments for the crew.

7. ESA’s Space Swarm – April. It will be launched on a Eurockot Rockot rocket from Russia to study the Earth’s magnetic field and its changes over time.

8. NASA’s Iris – April 28 or 29. The Iris (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) Satellite will be lauched on an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base to understand the interface between the sun photosphere and sun corona.

9. China’s Shenzhou 10 – June. Will it be possible for China to dock another spacecraft after the Shenzhou 9 mission (June 2012) and thus bringing China a step closer to establishing a manned space station and potentially landing people on the moon? We will see!

10. NASA’s Ladee (Aug. 12) and NASA’s Mars Maven (betweenNov. 18 and Dec. 7). They are launched to study the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment (LADEE) and the Mars Atmosphere and its Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN).

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