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Space calendar 2020: rocket launches, events in the sky, missions and more



LAST UPDATE October 2nd: These dates are subject to change and will be updated throughout the year as more fixed dates occur. Please DO NOT schedule your trip based on a date you see here. Launch dates collected by NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, Spaceflight Now and others.

Watch NASA webcasts and other launch news live on our “Watch Live” page and watch our night sky webcasts here. Find out what’s happening in the night sky this month with our guide to visible planets and sky observation predictions.

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October

2nd October: The waning, gibbous moon will approach the Red Planet closely in the early morning sky. It will be in conjunction with Mars at 11:25 am EDT (0325 GMT).

2nd October: Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-14 cargo spacecraft will be launched towards the International Space Station on an Antares rocket. It will take off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 9:16 pm. EDT (0116 GMT of October 3). It will arrive at the space station on October 5 at 5:20 am EDT (2120 GMT). Watch it live

2nd October: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the US Air Force’s fourth third-generation navigation satellite, designated GPS 3 SV04, for the Global Positioning System. It will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, in a 4-hour launch window that opens at 21:43. EDT (0143 GMT of October 3). Watch it live

October 3: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket can launch the 12th batch of approximately 60 operational satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network on a designated mission Starlink 12. It is scheduled to take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:34 am EDT (1234 GMT). Watch it live

October 4-10: World Space Week

7-8 October: The Draconid meteor shower peaks.

October 13: Mars is in opposition, which means it is bigger and brighter than any other time of the year. Look for the bright red planet above the eastern horizon after dark.

October 14: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the crew Soyuz MS-17 spaceship al International Space Station with Expedition 65 crew members: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. It will take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, at 1:45 am EDT (0545 GMT). Watch it live

October 16: New moon

October 16: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the Falcon Eye 2 Earth Imaging Satellite for the United Arab Emirates. It will take off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana at 21:33. EDT (0133 GMT of October 17th). Watch it live

October 17: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch a file Glonass K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.

21-22 October: The Orionid meteor shower is at its peak.

October 22: Just one day before reaching the first quarter phase, the moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 13:12. EDT (1712 GMT). That same day, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 11:42 pm. EDT (0324 GMT on October 23). Look for the trio in the evening sky.

October 23: SpaceX will launch its first operational Crew Dragon mission on the International Space Station, called Crew-1, with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and the Japanese Soichi Noguchi. The mission will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, at 5:47 am EDT (0947 GMT). Watch it live

October 29: The crescent and gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 12:16 p.m. EDT (0325 GMT). Look for the couple above the eastern horizon after dark.

October 31st: Uranus is in opposition. This is the best time of the year to see the planet, as it is bigger and brighter. If the sky is dark enough, you may be able to spot it with your naked eyes.

October 31st: This month has two full moons, which means we will have one Blue Moon “on Halloween. The moon reaches full phase at 10:49 am EDT (1449 GMT).

The launch is also scheduled for October (from Space flight now):

  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the United States National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, entitled NROL-44, will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A missile laboratory Electronic rocket it will depart on its first mission from a new launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic regional spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia. It will launch an experimental mission for the US Air Force’s space test program called Monolith, which carries a space weather instrument.
  • An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the second military reconnaissance satellite Composante Spatiale Optique (CSO-2) for the French space agency CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. It will take off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. will launch a payload of classified spacecraft for the United States National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, NROL-101, will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch the thirteenth batch of approximately 60 operational satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network on a designated mission Starlink 13. It will take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch the 14th batch of approximately 60 operational satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network on a designated mission Starlink 14. It will take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • Blue Origin plans to launch its own New Shepard rocket on the NS-13 mission. It will start from the company’s launch site in West Texas. This will be the thirteenth flight of Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard rocket and the seventh flight for this vehicle. The NS-13 mission will carry 12 commercial payloads, including demonstration of deorbit, descent and landing sensors in collaboration with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate under a flagship point partnership.

November

November 3: A Russian Angara-A5 rocket will be launched on its second orbital test flight from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.

November 10: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Sentinel 6A satellite (also known as Jason-CS A), a joint mission between the European Space Agency, NASA, NOAA, CNES and Eumetsat to continue recording sea level data previously collected by the Jason series of satellites. It will take off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 2:45 pm. EST (1945 GMT). Watch it live

11-12 November: The Northern Taurid meteor shower peaks.

November 12: The waning crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, the “morning star”, at 16:30. EST (2130 GMT). Look for the couple above the eastern horizon before dawn.

November 15: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a file Dragon cargo replenishment mission (CRS-21) to the International Space Station. It will depart from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

November 15: New moon

November 16-17: The Leonid meteor shower peaks.

November 19th: The crescent crescent moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 3:57 EST (0857 GMT). Shortly thereafter, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 9:51 am EST (1451 GMT). Look for the trio in the evening sky.

November 25: The crescent and gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 2:46 pm. EST (1946 GMT). Look for the couple above the eastern horizon after dark.

November 30: A penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible from the Americas, Australia and Asia. The moon will begin to pass through the Earth’s shadow at 2:32 AM EST (0732 GMT) and the eclipse will last 4 hours and 20 minutes.

November 30: The November full moon, known as the “Beaver Moon”, occurs at 4:30 am EST (0930 GMT).

November 30: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Turksat 5A communications satellite for the Turkish satellite operator Turksat. It will depart from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

The launch is also scheduled for November (from Space flight now):

  • An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch the SEOSat-Ingenio Earth observation satellite e Taranis satellite for scientific research from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Watch it live

December

December 11th: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 77P cargo refueling spacecraft towards the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kasakhstan. Watch it live

13-14 December: Geminid meteor shower peaks.

December 14: The only total solar eclipse of 2020 will cross the southern tip of South America. The shadow of the moon will take a similar path to what it did for the “Great South American Eclipse” of July 2, 2019.

December 16: One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Conveyor 1 rideshare mission with dozens of tiny satellites for commercial and government customers. It will depart from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

16/17 December: The crescent moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 11:30 pm. EST (0430 GMT on December 17th). A few hours later, on December 17th, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 12:20 am EST (0520 GMT). Look for the trio near the southwestern horizon just after sunset.

December 21: The solstice arrives at 4:47 am EST (0947 GMT), marking the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

December 21: Jupiter and Saturn will approach closely in the evening sky. The pair will be in conjunction at 8:24 am EST (1324 GMT).

21-22 December: The Ursid meteor shower is at its peak.

December 23: The crescent and gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 13:31. EST (1831 GMT). Look for the couple above the eastern horizon after dark.

December 29: The December full moon, also known as the cold moon, occurs at 10:28 pm. EST (0328 GMT).

The launch is also scheduled for December (from Space flight now):

  • A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 77th Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will depart from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the United States National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, entitled NROL-82, will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

More coming in 2020 …

  • Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket will launch the ELaNa-20 rideshare mission with 14 cubesats. A Boeing 747 named “Cosmic Girl” will launch the rocket over the Pacific Ocean after taking off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
  • China will launch the Chang’e 5 mission to return samples from the moon. It will be the first return mission of a lunar champion attempted since 1976.
  • A Chinese Rocket 5B long March will leave for a test flight with an unmanned prototype for the new Chinese crew capsule, designed for future human missions to the moon. This will be the first flight of a Long March 5B rocket. It will take off from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in Hainan, China.
  • India Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2) will launch the county’s first GEO Imaging Satellite, or GISAT 1. The take-off is scheduled from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The launch was postponed from March 6 due to technical problems with the rocket.
  • India Small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) will launch its first orbital test flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • India Small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) will launch its first commercial mission with four Earth observation satellites for BlackSky Global. It will depart from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • India Polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) will start the file RISAT 2BR2 Earth observation satellite radar for the Indian Space Research Organization. It will depart from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • One SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the USSF-44 mission for the US Air Force. The mission will take off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is expected to deploy two undisclosed payloads in geosynchronous orbit.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. will launch the USSF-8 mission for the Space Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness (GSSAP) program. It will depart from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • One SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch SXM 7 satellite for SiriusXM. It will depart from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch approximately 36 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb communications satellite constellation. The mission, entitled OneWeb 4, will be launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

Look ahead until 2021

January 4: Starliner Orbital flight test 2. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. will launch the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on its second unmanned mission to the International Space Station, following a partial failure in December 2019. It will take off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

February 1: Northrop Grumman will use a file Antares rocket to launch the Cygnus NG-15 supply spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will take off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

March 19: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 78P cargo refueling spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kasakhstan.

March 30: SpaceX will launch the second operational flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly on the Crew-2 mission.

April 10: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the manned Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft on the International Space Station with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Andrei Borisenko. It will depart from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

June: Boeing plans to launch the first manned test flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, which will send Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann to the International Space Station on an Atlas V rocket. mission will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Please send any suggested corrections, updates, or calendar additions to hweitering@space.com. Follow Space.com for the latest space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and Facebook.


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