10 exhilarating spaceflight missions to watch in 2024

Next year is bound to be packed with exciting spaceflight missions, from long-awaited rocket launches to incredible moon missions — including some that’ll dabble in lunar landers and crewed flights —  a new Jupiter probe headed to the beyond and even a demonstration flight of a new International Space Station resupply spacecraft. With that in mind, here are a few particular missions we’re looking forward to in 2024. 

1. Moon Missions

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission on Sept. 6. Currently en route to the lunar surface, the spacecraft is scheduled for a Jan. 19 landing inside the moon’s Shioli Crater. The SLIM mission aims to demonstrate a landing with a precision of less than 330 feet (100 meters) from the target. If successful, the spacecraft’s touchdown will mark the first-ever soft lunar landing for a Japanese spacecraft, and make Japan the fifth country to soft-land on the moon after the Soviet Union, the United States, China and India.