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Space Missions

Our Emissaries Across the Solar System

Since 1957, humanity has launched thousands of spacecraft. These robotic emissaries follow in the footsteps of their predecessors—testaments to our long-lived desire to understand our place in the Cosmos. 

There are currently spacecraft exploring Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn, as well as a comet and an asteroid. The Voyager spacecraft are hurtling out of our solar system, while New Horizons speeds toward a 2015 encounter with Pluto. Closer to home, we have probes in lunar orbit, a handful of solar physics missions, space telescopes, and a small army of Earth-observing satellites. In Earth orbit, the International Space Station continues to soar around the planet with a continually staffed crew of astronauts and cosmonauts. 

Our space missions pages are your portal to news and facts about our ongoing exploration of the solar system. 

Recent Mission Status Updates

New Horizons "phones home" after Pluto flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/14 09:39 CDT | 7 comments

After a wait of more than 22 hours with no communication, New Horizons "phoned home" precisely on schedule after its flyby of Pluto. The signal was received at 00:52:37 UT | 20:52:37 ET | 17:52:37 PT. As planned, New Horizons returned no images with the Phone Home downlink. But every bit of telemetry indicated that the flyby executed successfully.

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Three mission updates: Trouble for Dawn at Ceres; A new plan for Juno; OSIRIS-REx coming together

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/07/09 04:25 CDT | 6 comments

With all the focus on Pluto it's hard to keep up with all the other space missions currently exploring other planets. Here are brief updates on three of them.

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Space Mission Timelines

Missions to Venus and Mercury

A list of key dates and basic facts on all the missions that have explored Venus and Mercury.

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Missions to Mars

The missions, both successful and failed, that have flown by, orbited, or landed on the Red Planet and its moons

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Missions beyond Mars

The spacecraft that have traveled to asteroids, outer planets, comets, and beyond

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Missions to the Moon

A timeline of missions to the Moon

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Cassini’s Tour of the Saturn System

13 years, 250 orbits, and 127 gravity-assist flybys – explore the Saturn system with NASA's Cassini mission.

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Pictures of Spacecraft

Space mission artwork, snapshots of construction, launches, and photos of spacecraft in space

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Missions to study the Sun

Spacecraft that study our dynamic Sun and help us understand how it affects our planet.

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