LAST UPDATED Oct. 15: 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.
Find out what's up in the night sky this month with our visible planets guide and skywatching forecast. Spot the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope and other satellites in the sky above with this satellite tracker.
Oct. 17: The U.S. military will launch its fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite aboard an Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance. It will launch from pad SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415GMT).
Oct. 18: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The Red Planet will make a close approach to the waning gibbous moon this evening. Look for the pair above the southeast horizon in the evening sky.
Oct. 19/20: Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch the BepiColombo mission for the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. BepiColombo will begin a seven-year journey to Mercury. The mission will lift off from Kourou, French Guiana at 9:45 p.m. EDT on Oct. 19 (0145 GMT on Oct. 20). [Watch Live]
Oct. 20: International Observe the Moon Night. Look up tonight to see the waning gibbous moon in all its lunar glory. Even better, attend one of more than 400 moongazing events around the world! (Here are Space.com's tips for observing the moon.)
Oct. 21-22: The Orionid meteor shower peaks.
Oct. 23: Uranus at opposition. Now is a great time to look for Uranus in the night sky (yes, it is visible to the naked eye)! The distant planet will be at its biggest and brightest, as it will be directly opposite the sun in the sky. Uranus will also make its closest approach to Earth around the same time.
Oct. 24: Full moon. The Hunter's Moon will become officially full at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT).
Oct. 26: An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will send NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit from Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands at 4:00-5:30 a.m. EDT (0800-0930 GMT).
Oct. 29: A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite 2 (GOSAT 2) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the KhalifaSat Earth-imaging satellite for the United Arab Emirates. It will lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 12:08-12:20 a.m. EDT (0408-0420 GMT).
Oct. 30: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the 71st Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:53 p.m. EDT (0053 GMT on Oct. 31).
Also slated to launch in October (from Spaceflight Now):
- A Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the China-France Oceanography Satellite (CFOSAT) from Jiuquan, China.
Nov. 4: Daylight Saving Time in the United States. Americans get to enjoy an extra hour of sleep tonight.
Nov. 6/7: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the European Space Agency's MetOp C polar-orbiting weather satellite from the Guiana Space Center in Sinnamary, French Guiana at 8:47 p.m. EST on Nov. 6 (0047 GMT on Nov. 7).
Nov. 6: Mercury will reach its greatest elongation east of the sun and will be visible to skywatchers in the Southern Hemisphere just after sunset.
Nov. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The crescent moon will make a close approach to Saturn in the night sky. Look for them after sunset in the southwest sky.
Nov. 15: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The Red Planet and the moon will be less than one degree apart in the night sky. Look for them above the southeast horizon after dusk.
Nov. 15: A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Wallops Island, Virginia at 4:49 a.m. EST (0949 GMT) for a cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station.
Nov. 17-18: The Leonid meteor shower peaks.
Nov. 19: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch Spaceflight's SSO-A rideshare mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Nov. 22: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth-observation satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Nov. 23: Full moon. The Beaver Moon, also known as the Frost Moon, will become full at 12:39 a.m. EST (0539 GMT).
Also slated to launch in November (from Spaceflight Now):
- India will launch the GSAT 29 communications satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Es'hail 2 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida for Qatar's national satellite communications company Es'hailSat.
- A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Glonass M navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
- A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its third mission, titled "It's Business Time," from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. (The mission was delayed from June due a technical problem with the rocket.)
- A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite from Wenchang, China.
- India will launch the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS) and some small secondary payloads from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 Iridium satellites (66-75) from Vandenberg Air Foce Base in California.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and Maxar Technologies. The mission will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Dec. 3: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite (NROL-71) for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Dec. 13: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev are scheduled to undock their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft from the International Space Station and land in Kazakhstan.
Dec. 13-14: The Geminid meteor shower peaks.
Dec. 14: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch Italy's first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG 1) radar surveillance satellite and the European Space Agency's Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) from the Guiana Space Center in South America.
Dec. 15: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Force's first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System (GPS 3-01) from Cape Canaveral at 9:08 a.m. EST (1408 GMT).
Dec. 16: Comet 46P/Wirtanen will make its closest approach to the sun, and it will be visible to the naked eye just after dusk. [See Two Bright-Green Comets in 2018's Night Sky: How, Where and When to Look]
Dec. 19: NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will launch to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:52 p.m. EST (0452 GMT on Dec. 20).
Dec. 21: Winter solstice. Beginning at 5:09 p.m. EST (2209 GMT), it will officially be winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. It will also be the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere.
Dec. 22: Full moon. The Cold Moon, also known as the Long Nights moon, will become full at 12:49 p.m. EST (1749 GMT).
Dec. 26: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Kanopus-V 5 and 6 Earth observation satellites from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Also slated to launch in December (from Spaceflight Now):
- An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch the Italian space agency's PRISMA satellite from Kourou, French Guiana.
- A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its fourth flight from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. It will loft into orbit 10 cubesats for NASA and other U.S. research institutions.
Also coming in 2018...
- A Chinese Long March 3B rocket will launch the Chang'e 4 mission to attempt the first robotic landing on the far side of the moon.
Coming up in 2019...
- On Jan. 1, 2019, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by Pluto in 2015, will reach its next target: Ultima Thule.
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station.
- A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing's first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted Orbital Test Flight to the International Space Station. The capsule will dock with the space station, then return to Earth. (This test flight was delayed from August 2018 to mid-2019.)
- A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A.
- A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program-2 mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
- India will launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon.
- 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.
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