This list contains proposals for space telescopes, space-based (situated in space) astronomical observatories. It is a list of past and present space observatory plans, concepts, and proposals. For observatories in orbit, see list of space telescopes. Unlike that list, this one includes concepts and proposals that are unlikely ever to be launched, as they may have been cancelled or were only proposals.

Space observatories under development

Name Agency Type Proposed
launch date
Status Proposed location Ref(s)
TOLIMAN NASA visible 2023 under construction Low Earth orbit [1]
Xuntian Space Telescope CNSA ultraviolet, visible, infrared 2023 under construction Low Earth orbit [2]
Spektr-UV (WSO-UV) Roscosmos ultraviolet 2025 funded [3]
PLATO ESA visible 2026 Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point
Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formerly WFIRST) NASA infrared 2026-2027 confirmed and named 2020 Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point [4][5]
LiteBIRD JAXA millimeter radio 2028 Approved for development Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point [6]
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) ESA/NASA gravitational waves 2037 Solar Earth-trailing orbit (approx. 1 AU) [7]
Astrosat-2 ISRO Near Ultraviolet, Far Ultraviolet, Visible TBD Low Earth orbit [8]
Future Great Observatory 1 (like LUVOIR and HabEx) NASA Ultraviolet, Visible, Infrared early 2040s early planning 'Phase 1' possibly Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point

[9]

Future Great Observatory 2 (like Lynx or Origins) NASA X-Ray or Far-Infrared late 2040s+ early planning 'Phase 1' possibly Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point

[9]

Future Great Observatory 3 (like Origins or Lynx) NASA Far-Infrared or X-Ray late 2040s+ early planning 'Phase 1' possibly Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point

[9]

Merged, cancelled, or superseded space observatories

Name Agency Type Proposed
launch date
Status Proposed location Ref(s)
X-Ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy Mission (XEUS) ESA X-ray Merged into IXO [10]
Constellation-X NASA X-ray
International X-ray Observatory (IXO) NASA & ESA & JAXA X-ray No funding 2011; rebooted as ATHENA [11]
Exoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer (EXCEDE) NASA ? 2016 Sun-synchronous Earth orbit, 2000 km [12][13]
SIM Lite Astrometric Observatory NASA ? 2015 No funding 2010 [14]
Darwin Mission ESA ? Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point [15]
Terrestrial Planet Finder NASA ? TBA No funding 2011 [16]
Dark Universe Observatory NASA ? Superseded by Roman/WFIRST Earth orbit (600 km) [17][18]
Joint Dark Energy Mission NASA & DOE ? [19]
Astromag Free-Flyer (Particles) NASA ? 1 January 2005 Earth orbit (500 km) [20][21]
VSOP-2 (Astro-G) (Radio) JAXA ? 2012 Cancelled 2011 [22]
SAFIR NASA far infrared Superseded by Origins Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point ref?

Additional examples and non-space telescopes

For launch in the 2030s, NASA is evaluating four possible designs: the Origins Space Telescope, Lynx X-ray Surveyor, Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx), and Large UV Optical Infrared Surveyor (LUVOIR).[23]

Balloon-borne telescopes have been in use since the 1950s. A 20–30 meter balloon telescope has been suggested.[24] The balloon would be transparent on one side, and have a circular reflecting mirror on the other side.[24] There are two main designs using this principle.[24]

Additional examples

8 meter segmented LUVOIR-B (formerly ATLAST) telescope
8 meter segmented LUVOIR-B (formerly ATLAST) telescope
ATLAST produced several versions for the LUVOIR telescope
ATLAST produced several versions for the LUVOIR telescope

Design studies

Calisto architecture for SAFIR.[34] This shows a design concept for a deep infrared space telescope harnessing JWST technology, for the SAFIR program.
Calisto architecture for SAFIR.[34] This shows a design concept for a deep infrared space telescope harnessing JWST technology, for the SAFIR program.

Four NASA Design studies from 2018:[35]

Various proposals or concepts for high-energy light observatories (circa 2010s):[36]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "The TOLIMAN mission: precision astrometry for exoplanetary discovery in the solar neighborhood" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2021. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Flagship Chinese Space Telescope to Unravel Cosmic Mysteries". Chinese Academy of Sciences. 7 May 2022. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  3. ^ "WSO-UV". Wso-uv.org. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  4. ^ "NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Roman Space Telescope". NASA (Press release). 19 July 2022. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  5. ^ Balzer, Ashley (9 November 2021). "NASA's Roman Mission Will Help Empower a New Era of Cosmological Discovery". NASA. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  6. ^ Concept design of the LiteBIRD satellite for CMB B-mode polarization. Y. Sekimoto; P. Ade; K. Arnold; J. Aumont; J. Austermann, etal. Proceedings Volume 10698, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave; 106981Y (2018) doi:10.1117/12.2313432 Event: SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, 9 August 2018, Austin, Texas, United States.
  7. ^ "LISA | Mission Summary". ESA. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Isro plans to launch India's 2nd space observatory".
  9. ^ a b c Staff (4 November 2021). "New Report Charts Path for Next Decade of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Recommends Future Ground and Space - Telescopes, Scientific Priorities, Investments in Scientific Community". National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  10. ^ "KEUS – The X-Ray Evolving Universe Spectroscopy Mission". ESA. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  11. ^ "Official NASA IXO Home Page". NASA. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  12. ^ "EXCEDE Home Page". University of Arizona. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. ^ "EXCEDE the Search for Planets". Astrobiology magazine. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  14. ^ "SIM Lite JPL". NASA. Archived from the original on 16 January 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2009.
  15. ^ "ESA Science & Technology: Darwin". ESA. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  16. ^ "Planet Quest: Missions – Terrestrial Planet Finder". NASA. Archived from the original on 18 February 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  17. ^ "Dark Universe Observatory". Sonoma State University. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  18. ^ "Dark Universe Observatory – About the Launch Vehicle and Orbit". Sonoma State University. Archived from the original on 5 December 2004. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  19. ^ "Destiny JDEM Mission Public Page". National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  20. ^ "NASA – NSSD – Spacecraft – Trajectory Details (Astromag FF)". NASA. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  21. ^ "NASA – NSSDC – Spacecraft – Details (Astromag-F)". NASA. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  22. ^ "VSOP-2 project". JAXA. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  23. ^ Scoles, Sarah. "NASA Considers Its Next Flagship Space Telescope". Scientific American. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  24. ^ a b c Hall, Loura (3 May 2016). "Ballooning Expectations: New Approach for Astronomy". Nasa.gov. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  25. ^ Dunn, Marina Madeline; Lesser, David; O'Dougherty, Stephan; Swift, Brandon; Pat, Terrance; Cortez, German; Smith, Steve; Goldsmith, Paul; Walker, Christopher K. (January 2017). "TeraHertz Space Telescope (TST)". AAS. 229: 238.30. Bibcode:2017AAS...22923830D.
  26. ^ a b "Habitable Exoplanet Observatory (HabEx)". www.jpl.nasa.gov. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  27. ^ University of Arizona (2 August 2019). "A new lens for life-searching space telescopes - University of Arizona researchers have designed a new kind of telescope that is a cheaper, lighter and more powerful option than creating telescopes using ever-larger mirrors. With a fleet of the newly designed space telescopes, they aim to scour a thousand potentially earth-like planets for signs of life". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  28. ^ Apai, Dániel; Milster, Tom D.; Kim, Dae Wook; Bixel, Alex; Schneider, Glenn; Liang, Ronguang; Arenberg, Jonathan (29 July 2019). "A Thousand Earths: A Very Large Aperture, Ultralight Space Telescope Array for Atmospheric Biosignature Surveys". The Astronomical Journal. 158 (2): 83. arXiv:1906.05079. Bibcode:2019AJ....158...83A. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ab2631. hdl:10150/634070. S2CID 186206769.
  29. ^ Apai, D.; et al. (2018). "Nautilus DeepSpace Observatory: A Giant Segmented Space Telescope Array for a Galactic Biosignature Survey" (PDF). Universities Space Research Association. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  30. ^ "M. Wong, et al. – A Dedicated Space Observatory for Time-domain Solar System Science" (PDF). Lpi.usra.edu. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Space Telescopes".
  32. ^ "NASA Considers Sending a Telescope to Outer Solar System - Universe Today". Universitytoday.com. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  33. ^ "ZEBRA". Zebra.caltech.edu. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  34. ^ "SAFIR - Technologies". safir.jpl.nasa.gov. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  35. ^ Clery, Daniel (12 December 2018). "NASA is planning four of the largest space telescopes ever. But which one will fly?". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Concepts for Future High Energy Astrophysics Future Missions". heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  37. ^ "INSIST: A proposed Wide-Field, UV-Optical, Imaging and Spectroscopic Space Telescope" (PDF). Modern engineering trends in astronomy. 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2021.