Space probes

Current space probes are found here and briefly described. Earth satellites will not be listed.

Other sites with current missions:

Armchair astronoutics – Solar System Missions
Planetary Society – What’s up in the Solar System
Wikipedia – List of active Solar System probes


Parker Solar Probe

This probe will orbit around the sun.

Launch: August 12, 2018 | Operator: NASA / APL | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-37 | Rocket: Delta IV Heavy / Star-48BV | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Parker Solar Probe



Launched 2018 and will arrive at Mercury in 2025.

Launch: October 20, 2018 | Operator: ESA / JAXA | Launch site: Guiana Space Center | Rocket: Ariane 5 ECA | Mission web site: | Wikipedia: BepiColombo



This Japanese probe is studying the Venus atmosphere. First attempt to enter orbit around Venus failed in 2010. Second attempt succeseded and Akatsuki went into an elliptical orbit aroutnd Venus on December 7 2015. Aktasuki has finished its primary mission and is now working on an extended phase. Even though one camera on the probe has failed there are other cameras still operating.

A new look at Venus with Akatsuki, The Planetary Society, January 16, 2018
JAXA papercraft model and of course origami instructions

Launch: May 20, 2010 | Operator: JAXA | Launch site: Tanegashima YL-1 | Rocket: H-IIA202 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Akatsuki

Earth and around:

Earth satellites are not listed with a few exceptions. Space can be explored without leaving Earth orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. These missions are only listed, not described.

In orbit:
Hubble Space Telescope | Launched: 1990 | Web: Hubble Site | Paper Model | 3D model | Wikipedia: Hubble Space Telescope
Chandra X-ray Observatory | Launched 1999 | Wikipedia: Chandra X-ray Observatory
WISE | Launched: 2009 | Wikipedia: WISE
Solar Dynamics Observatory | Launched: 2010 | Wikipedia: SDO
TESS | Launched: 2018 | Mission website | Paper model | 3D model | Wikipedia: TESS

Spitzer Space Telescope | Launched: 2003 | Wikipedia: Spitzer Space Telescope
STEREO | Launched: 2006 | Wikipedia: STEREO

L1 (Lagrangian point):
WIND | Launched: 1994 | Wikipedia: WIND
SOHO | Launched: 1995 | Wikipedia: SOHO
ACE | Launched: 1997 | Wikipedia: Advanced Composition Explorer
DSCOVR | Launched: 2015 | Wikipedia: Deep Space Climate Observatory

L2 (Lagrangian point):
Gaia | Launched 2013 | Wikipedia: Gaia

Moon missions:


The NASA THEMIS satellites were launched February 17, 2007 on a Delta II rocket. The mission was to study the energy released from Earth’s magnetosphere in orbit around the Earth. Two of five satellites were moved into orbit around the Moon. They were renamed ARTEMIS P1 and P2. They have been in Lunar orbit since 2011.

Launch: February 17, 2007 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-17B | Rocket: Delta II | Mission website: | Wikipedia: THEMIS

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

The LRO was sent to the Moon to make a high-resolution map of the surface. It has made a 3-D map of the Moon at 100 meter resolution. It’s also looking for water-ice and potential landing sites for for future manned missions. LRO carries a microship with 1.6 million names of the public. LRO was launched together with LCROSS, a robotic spacecraft with the objective to find water ice at the lunar polar region. It found water in the southern lunar crater Cabeus.

Images from LRO can be found here:
LRO website at NASA:
LRO website at Goddard Space Flight Center:

Launch: June 18, 2009 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 401 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Chang’e 3

Reached lunar orbit December 6, 2013. Landed December 14. Rover Yutu was deployed the same day. On January 11, 2014 the rover suffered a ”mechanical abnormality. It ceased to transmit data in March 2015. Lunar based Ultraviolet Telescope still operational.

Fun with a new data set: Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover camera data, The Planetary Society, January 28, 2016
China’s telescope on the Moon is still working, and could do for 30 years, GB Times, June 5, 2017

Launch: December 1, 2013 | Operator: CNSA | Launch site: Xichang LC-2 | Rocket: Long March 3B Y-23 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Chang’e 3


Communication relay satellite to Earth-Moon L2 point to relay commands and data between comming Chang’e 4 mission.

Queqia relay satellite launched ahead of Chang’e 4 lunar mission, NASA, May 20, 2018
Queqiao, Gunter’s Space Page, May 20, 2018

Launch: May 20, 2018 | Operator: CNSA | Launch site: Xichang LC-3 | Rocket: Long March 4C

Chang’e 4

Lander and rover sent to the far side of the moon. Scheduled to land in early January 2019.

Launch: December 7, 2018 | Operator: CSNA | Launch site: Xichang Satellite Launch Center | Rocket: Long March 3B


Mars missions:

2001 Mars Odyssey

The 2001 Mars Odyssey arrived at Mars in October 24, 2001. Its mission was to detect water, buried ice and study the radiation environment. It also included to make a global map of chemical elements and minerals that make up the Martian suface. The primary mission was completed in August 2004. Its extended operations continue today. It’s also used as a relay satellite for the Mars rovers and the Phoenix lander. It may be operational until 2025.

THEMIS makes 60,000 orbits of the Red Planet, Arizona State University
Mission Objectives, NASA / JPL

Launch: April 7, 2001 | Operator: NASA / JPL | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-17A | Rocket: Delta II 7925-9.5 | Mission website: | Paper model | Wikipedia: 2001 Mars Odyssey

Mars Express

Mars Express is the European Space Agency’s first mission to another planet. The lander, Beagle 2, was lost at landing. The orbiter mission has been extended until 2020. Mars Express has been tested as a communication relay for NASA’s Mars rovers.

Launch: June 2, 2003 | Operator: ESA | Launch site: Baikonour 31/6 | Rocket: Soyuz-FG/Fregat | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Mars Express

MER Opportunity

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, MER-B, is one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2003. It landed January 25, 2004. Opportunity and its twin rover Spirit was planned to last 90 Mars days (sols). Spirit ceased communication in 2010. Opportunity went into hibernation June 12, 2018, due to Mars dust storms. Last contact was June 10.

Launch: July 7, 2003 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-17B | Rocket: Delta II 7925H-9.5 | Mission webiste: | 3D model | Wikipedia: Opportunity rover

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

MRO is a multipurpose probe that has been in Mars orbit since 2006. It has a high resolution camera onboard and equipment to study climate, weather, atmosphere and geology. It can transfer more data back to Earth then all previous missions together. So far it has beamed home over 300 terabits of data. It’s operating as a relay satellite and has propellant into the 2030s. Earlier this year (2018) it had issues with charging its batteries but now NASA think it can operate for nearly ten more years.

Launch: Augusti 12, 2005 | Operator: NASA / JPL | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 401 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft launched November 26, 2011, and landed its rover, Curiosity on Mars August 6, 2012. To land the heavy rover in Mars thin atmosphere both parachute and a ”sky crane” was used. The sky crane is a rocket powered descent stage with the rover hanging in tethers underneath. The rover was set to explore Mars for one Martian year (687 Earth days). In December 2012 the mission was extended and the rover is still operational. It has now been on Mars over 2,000 Martian days and travelled over 18 km.

Launch: November 26, 2011 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Canaveral LC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 541 (AV-028) | Misison website: | Paper model | 3D model | Wikipedia: Curiosity

Mars Orbiter Mission

The Mars Orbiter Mission is India’s first interplanetary mission. The orbiter has scientific objectives but the primary objective is to study interplanetary mission technology. ISRO states it remains in good health.

Launch: November 5, 2013 | Operator: ISRO | Launch site: Satish Dhawan FLP | Rocket: PSLV-XL C25 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Mars Orbiter Mission


In Mars orbit to study the Martian atmosphere. It can also be used as a relay satellite if MRO fails.

Launch: November 18, 2013 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Caneveral SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 401 (AV-038) | Mission website: | Wikipedia: MAVEN

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

The ExoMars TGO will study the Martian atmosphere from Mars orbit and operate as relay for ExoMars rover. It also brought the Schiaparelli EDM lander, a landing demonstrator module. It was lost at landing.

Launch: March 14, 2016 | Operator: ESA / Roscosmos | Launch site: Baikonur 200/39 | Rocket: Proton-M/Briz-M | Mission website: | Wikipedia: ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter


Robotic lander, landed Mars 26 November 2018.

Launch: May 5, 2018 | Operator: NASA / JPL | Launch site: Vanderberg SLC-3E | Rocket: Atlas V 401 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: InSight

CubeSats MarCO A and MarCO B – in transit.

Wikipedia: Mars Cube One

Asteroids and Comets


Reached asteroid 162173 Rygu on June 27, 2018. It will stay until December 2019 and then return to Earth.

Hayabusa 2 carries three rovers and one scout. Lander MINERVA-II-1 carries ROVER-1A and 1B and lander MINERVA-II-2 carries ROVER-2. MASCOT is a small scout.

The rovers 1A and 1B landed on Rygu on 21 September 2018.

Hayabusa2: Japan’s 2nd asteroid sample mission,, July 9, 2018

Launch: December 3, 2014 | Operator: JAXA | Launch site: LA-Y, Tanegashima Space Center | Rocket: H-IIA 202 | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Hayabusa2


Reached asteroid 101955 Bennu on December 3.

Launch: September 8, 2016 | Operator: NASA | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 411 (AV-067) | Mission website: | Wikipedia: OSIRIS-Rex



Entered Jupiter orbit 2016. Juno is powered by solar arrays unlike other probes sent to the outer planets. After completed mission Juno was planned to crash into Jupiter after July 2018 but in on June 6 NASA announced that the mission is extended through at least July 2012.

With Juno in good health, NASA approve mission extension, NASA, June 7, 2018

Launch: August 5, 2011 | Operator: NASA / JPL | Launch site: Cape Canaveral SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 551 (AV-029) | Mission website: | Wikipedia: Juno

Kuiper Belt

New Horizons

Flew by Pluto 2015. New flyby target is Kuiper belt object (486958) 2014 MU.

Pluto and Charon shine in most detailed Topographical maps ever,, July 12, 2018

Launch: January 19, 2006 | Operator: NASA | Lauchn site: Cape Canaveral: SLC-41 | Rocket: Atlas V 551 (AV-010) | Mission website: | Wikipedia: New Horizons