Space Calendar 2016: Launches & Sky Events
Of the millions of dust grains NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sampled at Saturn, a few dozen appear to have come from beyond our solar system.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

LAST UPDATED June 16: 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. 

Blast Off! How to See a Rocket Launch In-Person This Summer
See our tips on when and how to see a rocket launch this summer, courtesy of our own Sarah Lewin.

June 17: Expedition 47-48  Change of Command - Command of the International Space Station will be handed over from Expedition 47 commander Tim Kopra to Expedition 48 commander Jeff Williams (both NASA astronauts) in a ceremony to be broadcast live on NASA TV at 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT). Later, at 10:15 p.m. EDT (0215 June 18 GMT) the two crews will say their farewells as Kopra and his Expedition 47 crewmates Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko prepare to return to Earth on Saturday, June 18. Watch Live

June 17: A European Ariane 5 rocket to launch two communications satellites, EchoStar 18 and BRIsat, into orbit from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff set for between 4:30 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. EDT (2030-2140 GMT).

June 17: A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket and capsule is expected to launch on its fourth test flight  from Blue Origin's testing grounds in West Texas.

June 18: Expedition 47 Crew Undocking - A Soyuz TMA-19M space capsule carrying NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and British astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency will return to Earth today. Undocking coverage begins at1:30 a.m. EDT (0530 GMT), with undocking itself set for 1:52 a.m. EDT (0532 GMT). The Soyuz will execute a deorbit burn at 4:21 a.m. EDT (0821 GMT) with landing set for 5:15 a.m. EDT (0915 GMT)Watch Live

June 20: Full Moon of June - The full moon of June will occur on Monday, June 20, at 7:02 a.m. EDT (1102 GMT). This will be the Full Strawberry Moon, but is also known as the Rose Moon, Green Corn Moon (Cherokee), Windy Moon (Choctaw), Moon of Horses (Celtic) Lotus Moon (China), among many others.

June 20: An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch the Cartosat 2C Earth-mapping satellite into orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India at 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT)

June 21-23: NewSpace 2016 Conference, Seattle, Washington. Private and commercial space industry experts will converge on Seattle for the annual NewSpace conference.

June 24: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the MUOS 5 military satellite (short for Mobile User Objective System) for the U.S. Navy. The mission is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida during a 44-minute window that opens at1030 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).

June 25-26:The moon will occult (or block) the planet Neptune overnight tonight beginning at 7:04 pm ET (23:04 GMT) and ending at 8:48 p.m. ET (0048 GMT) for skywatchers equipped with telescopes who are in the visibility region. Find out more about the Occultation of Neptune from the U.S. Naval Observatory.

June 26: China's newest rocket, the Long March 7, is expected to launch on a test flight that will also carry a re-entry capsule prototype to test technologies for a next-generation manned spacecraft, according to Spaceflight Now, in what will China's first launch from its new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island.

June 30: It's Asteroid Day!Celebrate the discoveries and promise of asteroids, as well as ongoing efforts to protect Earth from asteroid strikes.

June 30:The primary mission for NASA's Dawn spacecraft currently orbiting Ceres ends today.

June 30: A Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket equipped with a Fregat M upper stage to launch the EKS N2 and Tundra 12L satellites

July

July 2: Moon Occults Aldebaran - The moon will appear to block the bright star Aldebaran.Find out more from the U.S. Naval Observatory.

July 4: NASA's June spacecraft will arrive in orbit around the planet Jupiter to begin a two-year mission studying the largest planet in our solar system. See Our Complete Mission Coverage

July 4: Earth at Aphelion - Happy Aphelion Day! Earth is farthest from the sun for the year today at a range of 1.017 astronomical units.

July 6: An Orbital ATK Antares rocket is slated to launch on its return to flight mission to send a Cygnus cargo freighter to the International Space Station from Wallops Island, Virginia on the OA-5 resupply mission for NASA. Liftoff is targeted for 12:49 p.m. EDT (1649 GMT).

July 6: A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying a new crew to the International Space Station will launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan at 9:36 p.m. EDT (0136 July 7 GMT). The Soyuz will launch NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi.

 

July 8:Pluto is at opposition today. Good for you, Pluto!

 

July 16: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch an unmanned Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station to deliver a new load of supplies and cargo for NASA under the CRS-9 mission. Liftoff from SpaceX's pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida is set for 1:32 a.m. EDT (0532 GMT).

 

July 19: Full Moon of July - The full moon of July, also known as the Buck Moon, will occur on Tuesday, July 19, at 6:57 p.m. EDT (2257 GMT).

 

July 26: A European Ariane 5 rocket will launch the Superbird 8 communications satellite for Japan and India's GSAT 18 communications satellite into orbit from the South American spaceport of Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. 

 

July 28: An Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance will launch the classified reconnaissance satellite NROL-61 for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office between 8 a..m. and 12 p.m. EDT (1200-1600 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

 

Also launching in July (from Spaceflight Now): 

  • China is expected to launch a Long March 2D rocket carrying the Quantum Science Satellite, to test secure quantum communications, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. 
  • India is expected to launch a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the Resourcesat 2A Earth observation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

August

August 4: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket will launch the Air Force Space Command 6 mission for the U.S. Air Force to deliver two new satellites into orbit for the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program. The mission lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

August 18: Full Moon of August -The August full moon, also known as the Sturgeon Moon, will occur at 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT) on Thursday, Aug. 18.

August 24: A European Ariane 5 rocket will launch two new communications satellites for service provider Intelsat (Intelsat 33e and 36) from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

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

  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the JCSAT 16 communications satellite for Japan's SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. in a mission to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
  • International Launch Services is expected to launch a Proton rocket carrying the new EchoStar 21 communications satellite into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. 
  • Japan will launch an H-2A rocket carrying the Himawari 9 weather satellite into orbit from Tanegashima Space Center for the Japan Meteorological Agency. 

September

Sept. 8: NASA's OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission will launch on mission the asteroid Bennu (formerly 1999 RQ36), where it will collect samples in 2018 to return to Earth by 2023. OSIRIS-REx (the name's short for Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer) will launch on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida during a two-hour launch window that opens at 7:05 p.m. EDT (2305 GMT).

 

September 12: SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from its West Coast pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to deliver 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit.

 

September 16: Harvest Moon Full Moon- The full moon of September will mark the Harvest Moon and occurs on Friday, Sept. 16, at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT). Find out all about the Harvest Moon in our video here. Adults can find out how to mix your own Harvest Moon cocktail.

 

September 23: A Russian Soyuz spacecraft will launch three new crewmembers to the International Space Station to join the orbiting lab's Expedition 48 crew. A Soyuz rocket will launch the trio from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

 

September 28: A Delta IV rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance will launch the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite into orbit for the U.S. military. The mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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

  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to orbit the Amos 6 communications satellites for Israel's Spacecom.
  • SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 rocket to deliver the EchoStar 23 communications satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
  • European Vega rocket is due to launch five satellites, the PeruSat 1 reconnaissance satellite for Peru and four SkySat Earth-observations satellites for Google and Terra Bella, into orbit from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.
  • China is set to launch a Long March 2F rocket carrying the Tiangong 2 space lab module into orbit. Chinese astronauts will visit the lab using Shenzhou spacecraft in the months ahead. 
  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base to orbit the Taiwan National Space Organization's Formosat 5 satellite and 87 tiny satellites riding aboard a Sherpa satellite deployer built by Spaceflight Industries.
  • China will launch a Long March 2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft from Jiuquan, China to ferry an astronaut crew to the country's new Tiangong 2 space laboratory. 

October

October 1: Japan will launch an H-2B rocket carrying the sixth H-2 Transfer Vehicle to the International Space Station to make an unmanned cargo delivery for the station's crew. The launch will blast off from the Tanegashima Space Center. 

October 3: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite 3 (SBIRS GEO 3) into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida to provide missile early-detection services for the U.S. military. 

October 16: Full moon of October - The Hunter's Moon, as October's full moon is known, will occur at 12:23 a.m. EDT (0423 GMT) today.

October 17: An Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket will launch NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) into orbit. The air-launched rocket will carry eight CYGNSS satellites and be launched at high-altitude from Orbital ATK's L-1011 carrier plane after it takes off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

October 20: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the unmanned Progress 65 cargo ship to the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

October 31: It's Halloween! Get your spooky space face on!

October 31: A Eurorocket Rockot booster will launch the Sentinel 5 Precursor Earth watching satellite into orbit for the European Space Agency from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

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

  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to deliver the SES 11 communications satellite into orbit from SES.
  • Orbital ATK will launch a Minotaur C rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Station in California to deliver size SkySat Earth-observation satellites into orbit for Google and Skybox Imaging. 

November

November 4: An Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance will launch the GOES-R weather satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for NASA and NOAA at 5:40 p.m. EDT (2140 GMT).

 

November 14: Full Moon of November -The full moon of November is known as the Beaver Moon and will occur at 8:52 a.m. EST (1352 GMT) today.

 

November 15: A Russian Soyuz spacecraft will launch atop a Soyuz rocket to ferry three new Expedition 49 crewmembers to the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

 

November 17: An Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket will launch four new satellites, Galileo 15, 16, 17 and 18, into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana to support the Galileo navigation satellite constellation.

 

November 21:A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch an unmanned Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on the CRS-10 cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

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

SpaceX is aiming to launch the first demonstration flight of its new mega rocket, the Falcon Heavy   from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX's Huge Falcon Heavy Rocket: How It Works

December

December 1: The classified NROL-79 satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office will launch into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

 

December 8: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the EchoStar 19 communications satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

 

December 13:Last Full Moon of the Year - The December full moon, the aptly named Cold Moon for the Northern Hemisphere, occurs at 7:05 p.m. EST (0005 Dec. 14 GMT).

 

December 30: An Orbital ATK Antares rocket will launch an unmanned Cygnus spacecraft on the OA-7 cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA from NASA's Wallops Flight Research Center on Wallops Island, Virginia.

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

  • SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 more satellites into orbit for the Iridium Next constellation from Vandenberg Air Force Station in California.  
  • Vega rocket to launch the Gokturk 1 reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Kourou, French Guiana for the Turkish military. 

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