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SpaceX launches: Here is everything that happens in the space in 2019


JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images

There are many loyal robots in our solar system, close to or near the nearby planets, which are turning to new things in 2019. We must also be prepared to expand our horizons with new telescopes that are larger, worse and ready to see what nobody has seen before. So here's a look at all the space that comes in the next 12 months.


January will be a super busy month.

On January 1, the intrepid New Horizons probe, who traveled for 13 years visiting Jupiter and Pluto, will become the past 2014 MU69, better known as Ultima Thule, one of the oldest objects in the system Solar and the farthest world that has not yet been reached. Only about 30 km in diameter, Ultima Thule is part of the Kuiper belt: a ring of rubble around the sun, about 4,500 million miles from the Earth, outside our solar district. The ring is a leftover of the formation of the planets in our solar system. It is believed that these objects have been essentially unchanged since they were condensed from the ice and dust of the outer solar nebula when our Sun was a simple child. New Horizons has only 24 hours to observe and analyze Ultima Thule with all its instruments. Astronomers hope to understand what is done and if it could even have an atmosphere.

"We want to see what forms are present: aspects such as faults, sublimation wells or peaks, and perhaps even rivers of wind-blowing sand. We also want to know if there are rings, moons, and finally, and more fundamentally, we want to know if Ultima is an object or two objects in orbit, "says Kirby Daniel Runyon, a planet geomorphologist at Johns Hopkins University. "We have never explored a classic Kuiper Belt object before, so we will begin to have a taste of superficial geology and the composition of a world that we think has not changed much since it formed more than 4,500 million years ".

Also in January, it is hoping that the Mars InSight newly grounded probe will start drilling on Mars and will deploy its various instruments. Your heat probe will measure the heat of the interior of the planet, and your seismometer will be prepared to detect mollusks. "The only other body with which we have seismic data is the Moon, and this is a direct result of the manned Apollo missions, where there were geophysical stations in each of the destination sites," says Mark Wieczorek, a planetary scientist of Paris Diderot University and co-investigator of the Mars InSight mission.

"The Apollo network collected data up to 1977, and as a result of seismic data, we know the thickness of the crust, the size of the lunar nucleus and the seismic activity of the Moon, which is correlated with Tides created by Earth … We do not have other datasets comparable to any of the other terrestrial planets (in addition to the Earth). InSight's geophysical data in situ may revolutionize our understanding of how Mars was formed, it is It differentiated and evolved during geological time. " InSight expects to start sending data as of March 2019.

On January 30, India will launch Chandrayaan-2, its second lunar mission, which includes a scary and an explorer and aims at a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, near the lunar south pole It would be the first visit of humanity to one of the moon's poles. Chandrayaan-2 orbit, by the way, will also act as a relay station for another new lunar explorer, the Chinese explorer who has just arrived at the furthest side of the Moon.

If you remember the Lunar XPrize of Google, who saw that several teams competed to send a boat to the Moon, to earn $ 30 million? Well, competition was a big failure, and no mission ever came out of the way, so far. One of the teams, SpaceIL, plans to point to the Moon in January, with a lunar landing a secondary load in SpaceX Falcon 9, which will be separated from Falcon 9 at an altitude of 60,000 km, will enter into an elliptical orbit of Earth before pointing to the Moon. Fingers crossed.

If you live in the Americas, you will find for a lunar event, a total eclipse of the Moon on January 20 and 21.


A few years ago, humans gained a new meaning – gravity – with the first detection of gravitational collision of black holes and neutron stars. The three observatories for gravitational waves, two instruments of the gravitational wave observatory (LIGO), plus one in Italy called Virgo, resume work after an update of many months. His first observations provided even more confirmation for the general theory of relativity of Albert Einstein. Once the three detectors are back online, we hope to hear news about the increasingly gravitational waves that are being washed by the Earth, which offer us new visions about the distant cataclysm in all of our universe, thousands millions of light years away.

Picture frame

In March, the United States is ready to approach its own manned space arrows, with the launch of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner crewmember cap, although without a crew. The plan is to use the capsule to transfer astronauts from and to the International Space Station. Right now, the only way to paste them (and return) is to Soyuz Russian capsules.

The Boeing Capsule is part of the NASA Commercial Creation Development Program (CCDev). Almost ten years later, the program still has not been able to see a single launch, although in 2019 it can see some of them. The Boeing CST-100 can soon be followed by the release of SpaceX's Dragon V2.

The March test flight will face an extremely tight scrutiny, to meet the strict requirements of the NASA for certification before any astronauts can make their way to the ISS. The Starliner CST-100 will launch on an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 to the Cap Canaveral Air Force Station.


In June, it is probably the turn of SpaceX from Elon Musk to set the stage for manned space flights in the United States. SpaceX is a bit mysterious, because it is a private company, unlike Tesla, which should be explained to shareholders. But in June, SpaceX's work horse, the Falcon 9 rocket, can bring its first humans to the space, as long as there are no delays. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are training to fly on SpaceX's mission Crew Dragon Demo-2, the best of luck.


NASA will conduct the tests of the Orion ship and the European module of services as a unit, even on the ground, in its complex of space environments. This "stack" is configured to make a space flight soon, which is significant, because it will be for the first time that NASA uses a system built in Europe: for ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus Defense and Space – to power a spaceship American. Orion is designed for a day to bring astronauts to the Moon and beyond.

On July 2, you are preparing for a total Sun eclipse, as long as you are based in the South Pacific, Chile, and Argentina Pacific Ocean.

And on July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 – when the first two people went to the Moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the Earth on July 16, 1969 and landed the Eagle lunar module four days later at 8:17 p.m. UTC, and then walked across the Moon. Well, not everything, but left a few traces. And a flag NASA has already begun the celebrations, in fact, and will continue until December 2022, to mark the entire Apollo program. About ten Americans landed on the Moon between July 1969 and December 1972.


Come to August, Boeing is ready to send humans to the space, with their first test of commercial traffic flight. NASA astronauts, Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, and Boeing's astronaut, Chris Ferguson, are planning for the explosion.


NASSA's OSIRIS-REx probe (probes, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security, Regolith Explorer) in the asteroid near the Bennu land will continue to study the asteroid with the help of five instruments Different, which will last until the end of September. The boat reached the rock of 500 meters wide at the beginning of December after a trip of two billion km from the Earth. It will remain there for two and a half years, studying its composition, mapping the surface and choosing the best place to obtain a sample of the regolith (upper floor). Sampling is supposed to happen in the middle of 2020, when the probe will go down to Bennu and try to collect about 60 g of regolito. OSIRIS-REX will return home in 2023.

October / November

At some point between mid-October and mid-November, the European Space Agency expects to launch a new space telescope, the Satellite Characterizing Exoplanet or CHEOPS. He will study the formation of planets beyond our own solar system, which orbits nearby bright stars; The mission lasts three and a half years.

A note for astronomers: November 11, Mercury will move constantly across the Sun's face, and this traffic will be visible, at least in part, in America, Europe, and Africa. Get your telescopes and binoculars ready!


By the end of 2019, we will say goodbye to Spitzer, one of the great observatories of NASA, the sister of the veteran Hubble Space Telescope and predecessor of the James Webb space telescope that is building. Spitzer is an infrared space telescope and started in 2003. Large observatories are four space telescopes launched to study the universe in different optical wavelengths. While Spitzer is looking at infrared space, Hubble is studying in visible and almost ultraviolet light, the Compton X-ray Observatory (in gamma rays) and the ray observatory X Chandra use X-ray radiation.

For more than 16 years in operation, Spitzer has represented some of the most distant galaxies in the universe and created one of the most detailed maps of the Milky Way. During its later years, Spitzer was repurposed to look for planets and was fundamental in the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system, where there were seven rocky planets and of terrestrial dimensions. Three of these planets, according to the researchers, could support life.

Spitzer will enter into missions ending activities and will be closed in January 2020. "If everything is planned, a telescope that should not have lasted more than five years will celebrate more than 16 years in space," says Matthew Segal, news chief of media relations at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Also in December, the Japanese Hayabusa-2 probe, who was currently camping in the Ryugu asteroid, will set courses to return to Earth, with a sample of rock asteroids on board. The boat reached the asteroid in June after a trip of three and a half years.

In one year, China hopes to send another trade to the Moon, the Chang & # 39; E-5. His probe on the far side, Chang & # 39; E-4, left Earth this December and is currently on the way to the Moon. Changing # 5 will aim to land in the region of Mons Rumker of Oceanus Procellarum, and grab and return a sample of 2 kg of lunar regolith.

It's not just the new "new" that will surprise us. There are also many ongoing missions that are still being offered. Be careful with …

The Mars Curiosity Rover will continue to send data. At the beginning of the year, you will get your last drill sample before driving a long distance to the muddy area in the mountain. Sharp will represent the next phase of his mission.

The Parker Solar probe will continue to "kiss the sun."

The satellite Satellite Survey of Exoplanet de Trànsit (TESS) will find even more distant planets in the relatively near relatively near stars.

There will be some progress in the Supersonic flight more reassuring the X-59 test airplane.

The Cold Atom Laboratory became the first installment of cold atoms in orbit in 2018 (and the only cold plant on the floor to operate in the space for more than $ 39 ; a few minutes). In 2019, we should begin to see the scientific results of this installation, which offers physicists a unique environment to investigate some of the strangest behaviors of atoms.

Voyager 2 will send new data on interstellar space, especially because its plasma science experiment still works. (At the German Voyager 1 boat, this experiment failed). Plasma "is the material that fills the space between the stars of our galaxy: all this empty space is really full of these things (and cosmic rays) and we are immersed in it now," says Segal.

There will be many 2020 targets, as the mission is moving towards launch in 2020. This is another Mars mission: this time, a vehicle will now unite all other robots currently on the red planet. The launch planned for July or August of 2020, and the rover will investigate, among other things, the possibility of past life on Mars.

This year, NASA signed an agreement with nine commercial companies working on lunar missions. All of them will take bids for the delivery services of NASA on the lunar surface through the commercial contracts of Lunar Payload Services, a step towards the study and the human exploration of the Moon and later perhaps until everything Mars. "This will represent a new way of doing business for planetary development and will lead to an era of routine lunar access that the space community has been waiting for since Apollo landed on the Moon nearly 50 years ago," says John Thornton , General Director of Astrobotic, a company that develops a lunar provider.

Finally, the event horizon telescope, a worldwide network of about 20 telescopes around the world, can draw the horizon of the black hole event: the limit of # 39 ; a black hole that nothing can cross or escape beyond light. The purpose of the mega virtual telescope is the image of the largest black holes that are seen from Earth, and is currently analyzing the data made in 2017, accumulating 27 Petabytes (!). "You will test predictions of general Relativity as never before, and will reveal the shape, size and properties of two black holes: Sgr A * in the center of the Milky Way and the supermassive black hole in the center of M87, "Says the astrophysicist Ethan Siegel.

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