big falcon rocket bfr spaceship bfs booster bfb launch clouds earth spacex 30934146988_dd61f74911_oAn illustration of SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR..SpaceX

  • The 2019 calendar is full of major events in spaceflight, planetary science, and astronomy.
  • SpaceX and Boeing hope to launch NASA astronauts inside commercial spaceships for the first time next year.
  • Elon Musk may also test-launch his rocket company’s “Starship” spacecraft.
  • Plus, humanity will make its farthest-ever visit to a planet-like object, and China intends to return its first lunar soil samples to Earth.
  • Meteor showers, a total lunar and solar eclipse, and other night-sky events will also grace our planet.

When it comes to events in space, 2019 is going to be an extraordinary year.

That’s not to say 2018 will be an easy act to follow. After all, SpaceX debuted the world’s most powerful operational rocket (called Falcon Heavy), sent a car beyond Mars, and helped launch more orbital rockets than in any year since 1990.

With a few exceptions, NASA also had a momentous 12 months: The US space agency announced its first-ever commercial astronaut crews, began a new hunt for Earth-like planets, sent a probe to “touch” the sun, and landed its InSight robot on Mars.

China, meanwhile, crashed an old space station into the ocean and launched a small fleet of moon satellites.

But 2019 will be a doozy — a sentiment that NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine highlighted after NASA’s recent Mars landing.

“Right now at NASA, there is more underway than in I-don’t-know-how-many years past,” Bridenstine said during a live broadcast. “It’s a drought, and then all of the sudden there’s all of these activities.”

Here are some of the biggest events you can expect from aerospace companies, government space agencies, and the night sky next year.