Human Spaceflights Coming Up in 2H2023

20th Jul 2023
Human Spaceflights Coming Up in 2H2023

The second half of 2023 promises a thrilling lineup of crewed space launches that will capture the imagination of space enthusiasts worldwide. With a mix of established players and private companies pushing the boundaries of human spaceflight, these missions mark significant milestones in our quest to explore beyond Earth.

Crewed space launches are not only awe-inspiring feats of engineering and human achievement. They also play a vital role in advancing our understanding of space and our capabilities as a space-faring civilization. Astronauts aboard these missions serve as ambassadors of humanity, pushing the boundaries of our knowledge and representing our collective spirit of exploration. They contribute significantly to scientific research, yielding valuable data that expands our understanding of how living organisms and systems behave in microgravity environments. This research has implications for healthcare, technology development, and even potential long-duration space travel, such as missions to Mars.

Crewed Space Launches

list of human spaceflights in 2023 -infographics

We’ve gathered a sneak peek of the most exhilarating missions to whet your appetite this year, but keep in mind that the sky’s the limit, and surprises might be lurking around the corner as companies reach for the stars. So, buckle up, the countdown to an unforgettable journey beyond Earth begins now!

July, 21 – Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test

Boeing Starliner
Credit: Boeing Starliner

We’ll kick off our list of crewed launches with the highly anticipated inaugural flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Lift-off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, will see NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Mike Fincke, accompanied by an unidentified third crew member, embark on the Crew Test Flight to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission signifies a major step for Boeing’s contribution to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The CST-100 Starliner mission was scheduled to launch in April, but it’s facing yet another delay, with NASA officials saying there is a new crop of technical issues with the spacecraft. Officials did not provide a new launch date during a media briefing, though Boeing’s VP of commercial crew, Mark Nappi, said leadership would spend the next week or so figuring out a plan to ensure the capsule is safe for flight.

August, 10 – Galactic 02

Virgin Galactic has just announced the crew of its seventh spaceflight and second commercial spaceflight, “Galactic 02,” which will fly three private passengers to space, achieving several historical milestones and furthering the Company’s mission of broadening access to space.

VSS Unity will carry 80-year-old Jon Goodwin, Olympian and early Virgin Galactic ticket holder, as well as Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers, a Caribbean mother-daughter duo who won their seats in a draw that raised funds for non-profit Space for Humanity.

August, 15 – SpaceX Crew-7 Mission

Following the success of previous Crew Dragon missions, SpaceX will launch its 12th crewed flight with astronauts aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will venture onboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft for a six-month expedition on the ISS. The Falcon 9’s first stage booster will execute a dramatic landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

September 2023 – SpaceX Polaris Dawn

A significant milestone in commercial spaceflight, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Polaris Dawn mission with an all-private crew. Led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, the crew will include pilot Scott “Kidd” Poteet, as well as SpaceX employees Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon. The flight will be using the Crew Dragon capsule, and is the first of three planned missions in a program named the Polaris program. This private human spaceflight aims to continue expanding opportunities for civilians to explore space. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will return to Earth with a splashdown at sea.

September 2023 – Russian Soyuz MS-24

Another planned crewed spaceflight is to launch in September 2023. Russia’s Soyuz rocket will carry the crewed Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft to the ISS. The mission will include Russian commander Oleg Kononenko, Russian flight engineer Nikolai Chub, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara.

October 2023 – Chinese Shenzhou 17

Shenzhou 17 spacecraft
Credit: The China Manned Space Program Website

China’s space program will reach new heights with the launch of the Shenzhou 17 spacecraft to the Tiangong space station. Carried by a Long March 2F rocket, this mission will see three Chinese astronauts rendezvous and dock with the Chinese space station in low Earth orbit. Representing China’s 12th crewed space mission and the sixth to its space station, Shenzhou 17 further demonstrates China’s commitment to exploring the final frontier.

November 2023 – SpaceX Axiom Mission 3

On November, SpaceX, in collaboration with Axiom Space, will undertake its 13th crewed flight to the ISS. Managed by a former NASA astronaut, this commercial mission will also feature three passengers, including a representative of the Turkish Space Agency. This two-week expedition highlights the growing participation of non-governmental entities in human space travel, further shaping the future of space tourism.

P.S. NASA’s internal timeline indicates that the Axiom-3 crew mission to the ISS has been delayed and is now scheduled for the first quarter of 2024. We’re still waiting for official confirmation.

The second half of 2023 promises an exhilarating lineup of crewed space launches. These missions represent the pinnacle of human achievement and our relentless pursuit of exploration. As we eagerly anticipate these awe-inspiring missions, let’s remember that the cosmos is full of surprises, and the wonders of space exploration often exceed our wildest dreams. So, keep your eyes on the launch pads and stay tuned for the breathtaking discoveries and achievements that lie ahead.

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