2019 is shaping up to be a monumental year for space exploration, especially by commercial interests hoping to fill the gap left after the United States stopped flying manned missions in 2001. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on launches involving spacecraft designed to carry humans aboard. Keep in mind these launch dates are likely to be delayed.
Blue Origin has scheduled a suborbital test of it’s New Shepard for tomorrow, January 21st. It is loaded with research platforms. The spacecraft is designed to carry six people, including tourists, and to land vertically.
SpaceX has a busy year ahead. On the 9th, an unmanned Dragon 2 spacecraft is set for launch to head to the International Space Station. The Dragon 2 is designed to carry up to seven people into orbit, and perhaps even around the moon.
In March, Boeing is planning to launch an unmanned test flight of the CST-100 Starliner. The Starliner is designed to carry seven people and stay in orbit for up to seven months. Boeing hopes to be able to reuse the spacecraft up to ten times.
SpaceX says it’s on track to test its Starship vehicle, once known as BFR, sometime in February or March. That’s according to a tweet from company founder Elon Musk.
SpaceX is planning to launch its Dragon 2 with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley into orbit. It will be first manned launch from the United States since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.
July 20th will be a huge day, marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
The second manned flight of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 is set to send astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover to the International Space Station.
Boeing hopes to launch a manned CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station.
If all goes well, Blue Origin may launch it’s first manned flight sometime this year.
And Virgin Galactic is hoping to finally take its first paying customers into space.
You can monitor the upcoming launch schedule at SpaceflightNow.com.