2019 will be an extraordinary year in space - here's what NASA, SpaceX, and the night sky have in store for Earth
- The 2019 calendar is full of major events in spaceflight, planetary science, and astronomy.
- SpaceX and Boeing hope to launch NASA astronauts inside commercial spaceships for the first time next year.
- Elon Musk may also test-launch his rocket company's "Starship" spacecraft.
- Plus, humanity will make its farthest-ever visit to a planet-like object, and China intends to return its first lunar soil samples to Earth.
- Meteor showers, a total lunar and solar eclipse, and other night-sky events will also grace our planet.
When it comes to events in space, 2019 is going to be an extraordinary year.That's not to say 2018 will be an easy act to follow. After all, SpaceX debuted the world's most powerful operational rocket (called Falcon Heavy), sent a car beyond Mars, and helped launch more orbital rockets than in any year since 1990.Advertisement
With a few exceptions, NASA also had a momentous 12 months: The US space agency announced its first-ever commercial astronaut crews, began a new hunt for Earth-like planets, sent a probe to "touch" the sun, and landed its InSight robot on Mars.Mars landing.
"Right now at NASA, there is more underway than in I-don't-know-how-many years past," Bridenstine said during a live broadcast. "It's a drought, and then all of the sudden there's all of these activities."Here are some of the biggest events you can expect from aerospace companies, government space agencies, and the night sky next year.
January 1: NASA's New Horizons probe will fly by Ultima Thule, the farthest object humanity has ever tried to visit
January 3-4: The Quadrantids meteor shower peaksAdvertisement
January 6: Partial solar eclipse
January 7: SpaceX plans to launch its Crew Dragon spaceship for the first timeAdvertisement
January 20-21: Total lunar eclipse
January (TBD): The first private company plans to launch toward the moonAdvertisement
January 30: India's launch of Chandrayaan 2, the nation's second moon mission
February 12 (and six more times in 2019): NASA's Juno spacecraft flies over JupiterAdvertisement
February (TBD): OneWeb hopes to launch its first 10 satellites, which could compete with SpaceX's all-Earth internet plans
March (TBD): Boeing plans to launch its CST-100 Starliner spaceship for the first timeAdvertisement
Early 2019 (TBD): SpaceX is expected to launch its second Falcon Heavy rocket
April 4 and September 1: NASA's $1.5 billion solar probe zooms past the sunAdvertisement
May 6-7: The Eta Aquarids meteor shower peaks
June (TBD): SpaceX may launch a Crew Dragon spaceship with two NASA astronautsAdvertisement
July 2: Total solar eclipse
June (TBD): China plans to test-launch a new crewed spacecraftAdvertisement
July 16: Partial lunar eclipse
August 12-13: The Perseids meteor shower peaksAdvertisement
November 11: Planet Mercury transits across the sun
Late 2019 (TBD): China intends to launch a mission to the moon that could return a sample to EarthAdvertisement
Late 2019: SpaceX says it will test-launch Elon Musk's new 'Starship' spaceship in southern Texas
December 13-14: The Geminids meteor shower peaksAdvertisement
December 26: Annular solar eclipse
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