5 space missions in 2023

5 space missions in 2023

News: These are some of the biggest spaceflight landmarks that are scheduled to happen in 2023. 

Background:
• 2022 was an incredible year for humanity’s spaceflight aspirations. From NASA’s Artemis 1 mission that charted humanity’s path back to the Moon to the DART mission that successfully redirected an asteroid, the year marked many firsts for human spaceflight. 
• 2023 will also prove to be an important year for human spaceflight with the beginning and conclusion of many path breaking missions. 

Gaganyaan Mission:
• ISRO will begin a series of test flights for India’s maiden human space flight from February 2023. The space agency said it also plans to use the heavy-light Chinook helicopter and the C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft for testing the mission’s crew module. 
• The crew module will have to provide oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, remove humidity and maintain a living temperature as it transports the three astronauts on board. The Indian space agency has shortlisted four candidates to go on the mission and they have already undergone initial training in Russia. 

Chandrayaan – 3:
• Chandrayaan-3 will carry a lunar lander and a lunar rover to Earth’s lone natural satellite. The mission is scheduled to launch aboard a Launch Vehicle 3 (LVM3) rocket, earlier known as the GSLV 3, in June this year. 
• The mission’s propulsion module will carry the lander and rover configuration to an orbit that is about 100 kilometres above the Moon’s surface. The module will also carry a Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit. 
• The mission’s lunar lander will carry instruments like Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) to measure the thermal conductivity and temperature; Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) for measuring the seismicity around the landing site; Langmuir Probe (LP) to estimate the plasma density and its variations. A passive Laser Retroreflector Array from NASA will also hitch a ride aboard the lander. 

JUICE Mission:
• The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission in April 2023. The Juice mission will complete 35 fly-bys near Jupiter and will make detailed observations about the gas giant and its three large ocean-bearing moons–Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. 
• Among the three moons, Ganymede will be the primary scientific target of the Juice mission. Why? As it is the largest moon in the Solar System and is larger than both Pluto and Mercury. It is also the only moon to have its own intrinsic magnetic field. Mercury and Earth are the only other solid bodies that generate a dipole field like Ganymede. 

OSIRIS-Rex Mission:
• The OSIRIS-REx mission was launched in September 2016. In 2021, it took off from the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft is carrying samples of the asteroid and is on track to return them to Earth in September 2023. 
• According to NASA, asteroids like Bennu can act as time capsules for the earliest history of our solar system. NASA refers to Bennu as an “ancient relic of the solar system’s early days.” The asteroid has more than 4.5 billion years of history and its present-day composition was already established within 10 million years of the solar system’s formation. Since it is so old, it may contain molecules similar to those that were involved in the beginning of life on Earth. 

Visiting Asteroid Psyche:
• Following OSIRIS-REx’s return, NASA plans to launch the Psyche mission to study the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche. The asteroid orbits the Sun in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter and is unique because it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of the solar system. 
• Since we can’t see or measure our planet’s core directly, the Psyche mission will offer a window into the collisions and accretion that create terrestrial planets. 
• Instruments aboard the Psyche spacecraft will include a Multispectral Imager, a Gamma Ray and Neutron Spectrometer, a Magnetometer and an X-band Gravity Science Investigation. 

Note – We recommend you to keep a close look at launch of such space missions as and when they occur and update your notes accordingly.

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