2026 in spaceflight
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.

NASA's NEO Surveyor, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2026, is expected to be capable of detecting at least 90% of near-Earth objects larger than 140 meters (460 ft), a goal mandated by the US Congress in 2005.[1]

Orbital launches

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


March[edit]

March (TBD)[3] United States SLS Block 1B United States Kennedy LC-39B United States NASA
United States Artemis 4 NASA Selenocentric (NRHO) Crewed Gateway expedition  
Europe International Habitation Module (I-HAB)[4] ESA Selenocentric (NRHO) Lunar Gateway component  
Third crewed Orion flight. First launch of the SLS Block 1B variant with the Exploration Upper Stage. Delivery of I-HAB to the Lunar Gateway.[2]


June[edit]

H1 2026 (TBD)[6] United States TBA United States TBA United States TBA
United States NEO Surveyor NASA Sun–Earth L1 Infrared astronomy
Near-Earth object detection
 
Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission (NEOSM).[5]

July[edit]

July (TBD)[7][8] United States Commercial launch vehicle United States Cape Canaveral or Kennedy[9] 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 ESA's Sample Fetch Rover and NASA's Mars Ascent Vehicle.


October[edit]

October (TBD)[7][8] 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[edit]

2026 (TBD)[10] Russia Amur Russia Vostochny Russia Roscosmos
Russia Sfera × ?[11] Roscosmos Low Earth Communications  
Maiden flight of Amur, a partially reusable methane-powered launch vehicle.
2026 (TBD)[12] Russia Angara A5P Russia Vostochny Site 1A Russia Roscosmos
Russia Orel Roscosmos Low Earth Crewed flight test  
2026 (TBD)[13] Europe Ariane 62[14] France Kourou ELA-4 France Arianespace
Europe PLATO ESA Sun–Earth L2 Exoplanetary science  
2026 (TBD)[15] Japan Epsilon Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-5 JAXA Low Earth Technology demonstration  
2026 (TBD)[16] Japan Epsilon S[17] Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Solar-C EUVST JAXA Low Earth (SSO) Heliophysics  
Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission.
2026 (TBD)[18] 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)[15] Japan H3 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y2 Japan MHI
Japan IGS-Optical Diversification 2 CIRO Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance  
2026 (TBD)[19] China Long March 5DY China Wenchang China CASC
China TBA CNSA Low Earth Flight test  
First flight of China's triple-core crew launch vehicle for moon missions. Previously known as the 921 rocket.
2026 (TBD)[20] South Korea Nuri (KSLV-II) South Korea Naro LC-2 South Korea KARI
South Korea TBA TBA Low Earth (SSO) TBA  
Fifth planned launch of Nuri, and the first with solely commercial payloads.
2026 (TBD)[21] Russia Soyuz-2.1a Russia Vostochny Site 1S Russia Roscosmos
Russia Obzor-R №2[22] Roscosmos Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation  
2026 (TBD)[23] Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Russia Roscosmos
Russia Arktika-M №4[24] Roscosmos Molniya Meteorology  
H2 2026 (TBD)[26][27] 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.[25]
2026 (TBD)[28] Europe Vega-E France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
TBA ESA Low Earth Flight test  
First flight of Vega-E.
2026 (TBD)[29] 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)[30][31] Russia TBA Kazakhstan Baikonur or Russia Vostochny Russia Roscosmos
Russia Ekspress-AMU6 RSCC Geosynchronous Communications  
2026 (TBD)[32] 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.

Suborbital flights

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
March (TBD)[33] United States Improved Orion Sweden Esrange Germany MORABA / Sweden SNSA
Germany Sweden REXUS-37 DLR / SNSA Suborbital Education  
March (TBD)[33] United States Improved Orion Sweden Esrange Germany MORABA / Sweden SNSA
Germany Sweden REXUS-38 DLR / SNSA Suborbital Education  
September (TBD)[33] Brazil VSB-30 Sweden Esrange Germany MORABA
Germany MAPHEUS-17 DLR Suborbital Microgravity research  
October (TBD)[33] Brazil VSB-30 Sweden Esrange Sweden SSC
Sweden S1X-M18 SSC Suborbital Microgravity research  
SubOrbital Express Microgravity flight opportunity 18.
November (TBD)[33] Brazil VSB-30 Sweden Esrange Germany MORABA
Germany Europe TEXUS-64 DLR / ESA Suborbital Microgravity research  
November (TBD)[33] Brazil VSB-30 Sweden Esrange Germany MORABA
Germany Europe TEXUS-65 DLR / ESA Suborbital Microgravity research  

Deep-space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
July Hayabusa2 Flyby of (98943) 2001 CC21[34]

Extravehicular activities (EVAs)

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks

Orbital launch statistics

By country[edit]

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[edit]

By family[edit]

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By type[edit]

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By configuration[edit]

Rocket Country Type Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By spaceport[edit]

Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks

By orbit[edit]

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. ^ "H.R. 1022 (109th): George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act - Original text". GovTrack. 27 June 2005. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  2. ^ Foust, Jeff (20 January 2022). "NASA foresees gap in lunar landings after Artemis 3". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  3. ^ "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).
  4. ^ "Thales Alenia Space on its way to reach the Moon". Thales Group (Press release). 14 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020. I-HAB is slated for launch in 2026.
  5. ^ Smith, Marcia (19 January 2020). "NASA's New NEO Mission Will Substantially Reduce Time to Find Hazardous Asteroids". Space Policy Online. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  6. ^ Talbert, Tricia (11 June 2021). "NASA Approves Asteroid Hunting Space Telescope to Continue Development". NASA. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b Cowart, Justin (13 August 2019). "NASA, ESA Officials Outline Latest Mars Sample Return Plans". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "NASA Selects Developer for Rocket to Retrieve First Samples From Mars". NASA. 7 February 2022. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Russia to launch first reusable rocket with payload in 2026". TASS. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Russia's new Amur rocket to carry Sfera next-generation satellites as first payload". TASS. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Planet-hunting eye of PLATO". ESA. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Mission Operations". ESA. 13 January 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  15. ^ a b "宇宙基本計画工程表 (令和2年度改訂)" [Space Plan Schedule (2020 Revision)] (PDF) (in Japanese). Cabinet Office. 15 December 2020. p. 30. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  16. ^ "NASA Approves Heliophysics Missions to Explore Sun, Earth's Aurora". NASA (Press release). 29 December 2020. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Instruments | Next-generation solar-observing satellite Solar-C_EUVST". NAOJ. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ Jones, Andrew (17 December 2021). "China's new rocket for crewed moon missions to launch around 2026". SpaceNews. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  20. ^ Lee, Kyung-tae (25 October 2021). "[누리호 발사] 내년 5·10월 추가 발사…2026년 위성시대 본격 돌입" [[Launching Nuri] Additional launches in May/October next year… The satellite era begins in earnest in 2026]. NewsPim (in Korean). Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Запуск новейшего российского радиолокационного спутника отложили на год" [The launch of the newest Russian radar satellite was postponed for a year]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 29 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  22. ^ Krebs, Gunter (9 September 2019). "Obzor-R". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  23. ^ Report on the status of current and future Russian meteorological satellite systems. CGMS-49. Roscosmos / Roshydromet. 11 May 2021. pp. 8–9. Retrieved 27 August 2021 – via the Internet Archive.
  24. ^ Krebs, Gunter (28 February 2021). "Arktika-M 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Earth Explorer 9 Candidate Mission FORUM – Report for Mission Selection" (PDF). ESA. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  26. ^ Status of the Current and Future ESA Earth Observation Missions and Programmes. CGMS-49. ESA. 14 May 2021. pp. 36–37. Retrieved 27 August 2021 – via the Internet Archive.
  27. ^ "A new satellite to understand how Earth is losing its cool". ESA. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  28. ^ "New launch service contracts for Vega C and new development activities". Avio (Press release). 20 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ Shulgin, Dmitry (21 January 2021). "Российский «Экспресс» набирает обороты" [Russian "Ekspress" gaining momentum]. RSCC (in Russian). p. 5. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  31. ^ Holmes, Mark (15 October 2020). "Russian Space Leaders Split on GEO vs LEO at SatComRus". Via Satellite. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  32. ^ Erwin, Sandra (23 February 2021). "L3Harris gets $137 million contract for GPS digital payloads". SpaceNews. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  33. ^ a b c d e f "Esrange Space Center EASP Launching Programme" (PDF). Swedish Space Corporation. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  34. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
Generic references:
 Spaceflight portal