The Mars 2020 rover is set to launch aboard an Atlas V rocket in 2020.
This article documents expected notable spaceflight events during the year 2020.
Exploration of the Solar System
Four missions to Mars are planned to be launched in 2020, including three rovers, two orbiters, and a lander.
REPLAY: SpaceX Dragon cargo ship departs ISS (1/7/2020)
NASA plans to launch the Mars 2020 rover, which will include the Mars Helicopter Scout and cache samples for eventual return to Earth. The European Space Agency has partnered with Roscosmos to launch the Rosalind Franklin rover using the Kazachok lander. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) will launch its HX-1 mission, which includes an orbiter and small rover; it would be China’s first mission to another planet using its own delivery vehicle. Finally, the United Arab Emirates will launch the Hope Mars Mission orbiter on a Japanese rocket.
China also intends to launch Chang'e 5, the first sample-return mission to the Moon since Luna 24 in 1976.
Chang'e 5 will use the recently developed Long March 5heavy-lift rocket.
The NASA mission OSIRIS-REx will sample the asteroid 101955 Bennu in July. The JAXA Hayabusa2 mission will return samples of 162173 Ryugu to Earth in December.
Two solar missions are scheduled to be launched, European Solar Orbiter to a heliocentric orbit and Indian Aditya-L1 to the Sun-Earth L1 point.
Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, will decrease its minimal distance to the Sun further to 14.2 million kilometers.
China plans to test a new generation of crewed spacecraft in October, and begin construction of the Chinese large modular space station with the launch of the Tianhe Core Cabin Module, though this may be delayed to 2021.
In the United States, SpaceX's Dragon 2 and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner are expected to make their first crewed flights in early 2020 as part of the Commercial Crew Development program, restoring human spaceflight capability lost after the Space Shuttle's retirement in 2011.
SpaceX hopes to begin orbital testing of its fully reusable two-stage-to-orbit vehicle Starship.
The trend towards cost reduction in access to orbit is expected to continue.
Arianespace's Ariane 6 will make its maiden flight, targeting a per-satellite launch cost similar to a Falcon 9.Mitsubishi Heavy Industries's H3 launch vehicle, scheduled to enter service this year, will cost less than half that of H-IIA, its predecessor. Despite the increasing competition the cost of delivering cargo to the ISS will go up.
Internet satellite constellations
In late 2020, following the launch of the first 300+ satellites, the OneWeb constellation is expected to become operational and start providing low latency broadband service at speeds of up to 595 megabits per second to customers throughout the United States and its territories. By the end of the year the constellation will grow to 600+ satellites.
SpaceX expects to begin operation of its Starlink in 2020, with about 720 satellites launched by the end of the year.
See also: § Upcoming launches