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Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more

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LAST UPDATED July 1: These dates are subject to change, and will be updated throughout the year as firmer dates arise. Please DO NOT schedule travel based on a date you see here. Launch dates collected from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, Spaceflight Now and others.

Watch NASA webcasts and other live launch coverage on our “Watch Live” page, and see our night sky webcasts here. Find out what’s up in the night sky this month with our visible planets guide and skywatching forecast. 

Wondering what happened today in space history? Check out our “On This Day in Space” video show here!

July 

July 3: Rocket Lab will launch an Electron rocket on a rideshare mission from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The mission, which Rocket Lab has nicknamed “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen,” will launch the CE-SAT-IB Earth-imaging satellite for Canon Electronics, five SuperDove Earth observation cubesats for Planet, and the Faraday 1 cubesat for In-Space Missions. It will lift off at 5:13-6:03 p.m. EDT (2113-2203 GMT). 

July 4: Happy Aphelion Day! Earth is farthest from the sun today. 

July 4-5: A penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible from the Americas and parts of Africa and Antarctica. The moon will begin passing through Earth’s shadow on July 4 at 11:07 p.m. EST (0307 GMT on July 5), and the eclipse will last for 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

July 5: The full moon of July, known as the Buck Moon, occurs at 12:44 a.m EDT (0444 GMT). That same day, the moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 5:38 p.m. EDT (2138 GMT). The moon will also be in conjunction with Saturn on July 6 at 4:38 a.m. EDT (0838 GMT). The trio will form a small triangle in the night sky before fading into the dawn. 

July 8: The “morning star” Venus is at its greatest brightness for the year, shining at magnitude -4.5 in the morning sky.

July 11: The waning, gibbous moon will make a close approach to the Red Planet in the early morning sky. It will be in conjunction with Mars at 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT). 

July 14: The United Arab Emirates plans to launch its first Mars orbiter, the Hope Mars Mission. It will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on a Japanese H-2A rocket, at 4:51 p.m. EDT (2051 GMT).

July 14: Jupiter reaches opposition, which means the planet will appear at its biggest and brightest. This happens about once a year, when Jupiter’s position is almost directly opposite the sun in the sky. Around the same time, Jupiter will also make its closest approach to Earth. 

July 15: The U.S. Air Force will use a Minotaur 4 rocket to launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Dubbed NROL-129, the mission will lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

July 17: The waning crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, the “morning star,” at 3:27 a.m. EDT (0727 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon before dawn. 

July 20: New moon

July 20: Saturn reaches opposition, which means the planet will appear at its biggest and brightest. This happens about once a year, when Saturn’s position is almost directly opposite the sun in the sky. Around the same time, Saturn will also make its closest approach to Earth. 

July 22: NASA’s Mars 2020 rover launches to the Red Planet! It will lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, during a 2-hour launch window that opens at 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT). Watch it live.

July 23: China plans to launch an orbiter and a small rover to Mars. The mission, called Tianwen 1, will lift off on a Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan, China.

July 23: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 76th Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, at 10:26 a.m. EDT (1426 GMT). Watch it live.

July 30: A Russian Proton rocket will launch the Express 80 and Express 103 communications satellites for the Russian Satellite Communication Company. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Also scheduled to launch in July (from Spaceflight Now):

  • An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch on the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) proof-of-concept mission carrying 42 microsatellites, nanosatellites and cubesats. Arianespace postponed the launch from June 18 due to bad weather at the launch site. The rideshare mission will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Anasis 2, or KMilSatCom 1, communications satellite for the South Korean military, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch the tenth batch of approximately 60 operational satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network, along with two Earth-observing satellites for BlackSky Global, in a mission designated Starlink 10. It will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

August 

Aug. 1: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SXM 7 satellite for SiriusXM. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:27 a.m. EDT (0427 GMT).

Aug. 1: The nearly-full moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 7:32 p.m. EDT (2332 GMT). The following morning (Aug. 2), it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 9:10 a.m. EDT (1310 GMT). Look for the trio in the evening sky. 

Aug. 3: The full moon of August, known as the “Sturgeon Moon,” occurs at 11:59 a.m. EDT (1559 GMT). 

Aug. 9: The waning, gibbous moon will make a close approach to the Red Planet in the early morning sky. It will be in conjunction with Mars at 4 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT). 

Aug. 11-12: The Perseid meteor shower peaks. 

Aug. 14: Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket will launch the ELaNa-20 rideshare mission with 14 cubesats. A Boeing 747 named “Cosmic Girl” will air-launch the rocket over the Pacific Ocean after taking off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

Aug. 15: The waning crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, the “morning star,” at 9:01 a.m. EDT (1301 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon before dawn. 

Aug. 17: An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch on the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) proof-of-concept mission carrying 42 microsatellites, nanosatellites and cubesats. The rideshare mission will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.

Aug. 18: Black Moon: The third new moon in a season with four new moons is known as a “black moon.” (A black moon can also be the second new moon in a single calendar month.)

Aug. 24: An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch the SEOSat-Ingenio Earth observation satellite and the Taranis scientific research satellite from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

Aug. 26: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, titled NROL-44, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Aug. 28/29: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 9:35 p.m. EDT (0235 GMT on Aug. 29). The following day, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 12:32 p.m. EDT (1632 GMT). Look for the trio in the evening sky.

Aug. 30: SpaceX will launch its first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. The mission will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. 

Also scheduled to launch in August (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Force’s fourth third-generation navigation satellite, designated GPS 3 SV04, for the Global Positioning System. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

September

Sept. 1: Asteroid 2011 ES4 will make a close flyby of Earth, passing by at a safe distance of 0.0005 AU, or 46,000 miles (75,000 kilometers). 

Sept. 2: The full moon of September, known as the “Harvest Moon,” occurs at 1:22 a.m. EDT (0522 GMT). 

Sept. 6: The waning, gibbous moon will make a close approach to the Red Planet in the early morning sky. It will be in conjunction with Mars at 12:46 a.m. EDT (0446 GMT). 

Sept. 7: Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-14 cargo spacecraft will launch to the International Space Station on an Antares rocket. It will lift off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Sept. 11: Neptune is at opposition. If you have the right equipment and a sky dark enough to see it, now is the best time all year to look! 

Sept. 14: The waning crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, the “morning star,” at 12:44 a.m. EDT (0444 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon before dawn. 

Sept. 17: New moon

Sept. 22: Happy Equinox! At 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT), autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere while the Southern Hemisphere will have its first day of spring. 

Sept. 25: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 2:48 a.m. EDT (0648 GMT). It will be in conjunction with Saturn at 4:38 p.m. EDT (2038 GMT). Look for the trio in the evening sky.

Also scheduled to launch in September (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch a classified spacecraft payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, NROL-101, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the Falcon Eye 2 Earth-imaging satellite for the United Arab Emirates. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

October

Oct. 1: The full moon of October, known as the “Hunter’s Moon,” occurs at 5:05 p.m. EDT (2105 GMT). 

Oct. 2: The waning, gibbous moon will make a close approach to the Red Planet in the early morning sky. It will be in conjunction with Mars at 11:25 a.m. EDT (0325 GMT). 

Oct. 4-10: World Space Week

Oct. 7-8: The Draconid meteor shower peaks.

Oct. 13: Mars is at opposition, which means it’s bigger and brighter than any other time of year. Look for the glowing Red Planet above the eastern horizon after sunset. 

Oct. 14: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the Expedition 65 crew: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Watch it live.

Oct. 16: New moon

Oct. 21-22: The Orionid meteor shower peaks.

Oct. 22: Just a day before reaching first quarter phase, the moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 1:12 p.m. EDT (1712 GMT). That same day, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 11:42 p.m. EDT (0324 GMT on Oct. 23). Look for the trio in the evening sky. 

Oct. 29: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 12:16 p.m. EDT (0325 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon after sunset. 

Oct. 30: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-21) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Watch it live.

Oct. 31: Uranus is at opposition. This is the best time of year to view the planet, as it is at its biggest and brightest. If the sky is dark enough, you may be able to spot it with your bare eyes.

Oct. 31: This month has two full moons, which means we’ll have a Blue Moon” on Halloween. The moon reaches full phase at 10:49 a.m. EDT (1449 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in October (from Spaceflight Now):

  • An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the second Composante Spatiale Optique (CSO-2) military reconnaissance satellite for the French space agency CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

November

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

Nov. 12: The waning crescent moon will be in conjunction with Venus, the “morning star,” at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon before dawn. 

Nov. 15: New moon

Nov. 16-17: The Leonid meteor shower peaks. 

Nov. 19: The waxing crescent moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 3:57 a.m. EST (0857 GMT). Shortly afterward, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 9:51 a.m. EST (1451 GMT). Look for the trio in the evening sky. 

Nov. 25: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 2:46 p.m. EST (1946 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon after sunset. 

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

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

Also scheduled to launch in November (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A 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 that was previously collected by the Jason series of satellites. It will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

December

Dec. 13-14: The Geminid meteor shower peaks. 

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

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

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

Dec. 21: Jupiter and Saturn will make a close approach in the evening sky. The pair will be in conjunction at 8:24 a.m. EST (1324 GMT). 

Dec. 21-22: The Ursid meteor shower peaks.

Dec. 23: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 1:31 p.m. EST (1831 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon after sunset. 

Dec. 29: The full moon of December, also known as the Cold Moon, occurs at 10:28 p.m. EST (0328 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in December (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 77th Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • An Arianespace Vega C rocket will launch on its inaugural flight, carrying the Italian space agency’s LARES 2 satellite into orbit. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana.

More coming in 2020…

  • China will launch the Chang’e 5 mission to return samples from the moon. It will be the first lunar sample return mission attempted since 1976.
  • A Chinese Long March 5B rocket will launch on a test flight with an unpiloted prototype for China’s new human-rated crew capsule, which is designed for future human missions to the moon. This will be the first flight of a Long March 5B rocket. It will lift off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan, China.
  • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2) will launch the county’s first GEO Imaging Satellite, or GISAT 1. It is scheduled to lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The launch was postponed from March 6 due to technical problems with the rocket.
  • India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch on its first orbital test flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. 
  • India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch on its first commercial mission with four Earth observation satellites for BlackSky Global. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will launch the RISAT 2BR2 radar Earth observation satellite for the Indian Space Research Organization. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on its second uncrewed mission to the International Space Station, following a partial failure in December. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its first mission from a new launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. It will launch an experimental mission for the U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program called Monolith, which carries a space weather instrument.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SAOCOM 1B Earth observation satellite for Argentina. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the AFSPC-44 mission for the U.S. Air Force. The mission will lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is expected to deploy two undisclosed payloads into geosynchronous orbit. 
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Turksat 5A communications satellite for the Turkish satellite operator Turksat. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A Russian Angara-A5 rocket will launch on its second orbital test flight from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. 
  • A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch approximately 36 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb constellation of communications satellites. The mission, titled OneWeb 4, will launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the AFSPC-8 mission for the Space Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, titled NROL-82, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, NROL-111, will lift off from Wallops Island, Virginia.

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

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