2023 Space Wrapped: Another year for the books

2023 Space Wrapped: Another year for the books

2023 has been an amazing year for the aerospace industry, so lets go over the highs and lows of this year, and what to expect in the year to come!


It has been another insane and record breaking year for SpaceX! In 2023 they reached their all time launch high, of 98. While about two thirds of these launches were starlink ones, SpaceX still had a crazy year. They launched 3 crewed missions to the ISS, 2 for NASA and one for Axiom Space. They also had two test launches of their up and coming Starship Vehicle, the tallest and most powerful rocket ever constructed and launched.

Below, @Maxarick on twitter has us covered, highlighting every SpaceX launch with this chart! Huge shoutout to them for the graph, please make sure to check out their work!

Bar graph categorizing SpaceX launches in 2023 © @Maxarick


Booster 7 and Ship 24 sit on the pad awaiting their debut launch © SpaceX

SpaceX launched Starship-Super Heavy for its maiden flight, back on the 20th of April, where it had planned to make it to Hawaii with the ship and the Gulf of Mexico with the booster but lost the ship four minutes into flight. During its maiden launch, the ship failed to separate from the booster and flew uncontrolled after a fire broke out in the aft end of the booster which triggered the flight termination system. However, the flight termination system took a few minutes to destroy Starship-Super Heavy.

The Super Heavy booster during Starship-Super Heavy's first flight also lost at least eight engines of its thirty-three as well as a failure of its hydraulic thrust vector controls. The Booster also managed to destroy the ground under the launch pad due to a lack of adequate damage mitigation methods from the insane amount of thrust under the booster.


Booster 9 and Ship 25 soar off the pad © SpaceX/NSF

The second launch of the Starship-Super Heavy launch vehicle occurred at t 07:02 am Central Standard Time on the 18th of November 2023. Starship-Super Heavy flew for almost eight minutes under powered flight using its Raptor engines.

The Super Heavy booster lit all thirty-three of its engines with all of them lasting up until hot staging of Ship 25 from Booster 9. The booster however experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly while attempting to perform its boostback burn.

After hot staging, the six Raptor engines, three sea-level engines and three vacuum engines, continued to power the second stage flight for six minutes before Ship 25 also experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly for unknown reasons.

SpaceX declared the second launch of Starship-Super Heavy a success despite the loss of the vehicle.

Firefly Aerospace

Firefly's Alpha rocket sits on the pad © Firefly Aeropace

Beginning 2023 for Firefly was Alpha's third launch, a truly special mission carrying a small satellite named VICTUS NOX. Translating roughly to "Conquer the Night," VICTUS NOX lifted off September 14th at 02:28 UTC from Vandenberg SFB, and successfully deployed into its intended orbit and was rapidly brought online to fulfill its mission.

This launch fell under the US Space Force's Tactically Responsive Space program, and required Firefly to launch within just one day of receiving a "Notice to Launch." Firefly successfully took delivery of and integrated the payload within 60 hours of September 8th, and received the Notice to Launch on September 13th.

Liftoff of Victus Nox © Firefly Aerospace

FLTA003 graced the skies just 27 hours later - the three-hour delay due only to launch window availability - smashing the previous record of just over 21 days by Northrop Grumman's Pegasus in 2021.

This launch was also the first indisputable success for Firefly, whose two previous missions each did not go exactly as planned. FLTA001 "DREAM #1" experienced higher than expected vibrations, resulting in one of four Reaver engines shutting down at T+15 seconds due to a sheared electrical connector. During the transonic region of flight, the lack of thrust and TVC caused Alpha to begin a series of rapid flips and the flight was terminated.

FLTA002 "To The Black" successfully made it to orbit with a group of educational payloads, albeit a slightly low orbit due to underperformance of the Lightning engine on its second burn. This was still declared a mission success, though the satellites reentered in several weeks rather than months. This upper stage underperformance issue was resolved, as proven by VICTUS NOX successfully performing a deorbit burn after payload deploy and an extended coast period.

Flight plan for Alpha's forth flight, dubbed "Fly the Lightning" © Firefly Aerospace

Unfortunately for Firefly, their fourth mission, FLTA004 "Fly The Lightning," much closer mirrored To The Black than VICTUS NOX. The TANTRUM payload for Lockheed Martin, intended to demonstrate an electronically steerable antenna (ESA) was left in a lower than intended orbit following liftoff on December 22nd at 17:32 UTC, this time due to a total failure of Alpha's second stage to conduct its second burn, followed by an emergency deploy in an elliptical orbit.

At the time of writing, TANTRUM has not tried to raise its orbit using its onboard thruster, and it is unclear whether the technology demonstration mission initially planned will be able to take place given the shortened on-orbit lifetime.

Launch Statistics

Across the board, 2023 was a record breaking year, 222 orbital launches were attempted, with 210 successes, 11 failures and one partial failure, giving a success rate of 94.6%.

Below, is an amazing graph by @SpaceIntel101 on twitter.

Graphic for 2023 launches by @SpaceIntel101 on twitter!

As you can see, the US led the world in launch amount, accounting for nearly 50% of all launches in 2023. China is a close second, with 30% of all launches. The two most launched rocket families were undoubtedly Falcon and Long March. The Falcon family accounted for 96 (44.4%) launches this year, while the Long March family accounted for 35 (16.2%).

Notable Launches

Transporter-6 kicks off 2023 © SpaceX/Everyday Astronaut

Transporter 6 - January 3rd

Beginning the year, SpaceX's dedicated Transporter-6 rideshare mission lifted off aboard veteran Falcon 9 booster B1060.15R on January 3rd at 14:56 UTC from SLC-40 in Florida. Carrying 114 assorted small satellites and orbital transfer vehicles to a sun-synchronous orbit, the mission was capped with the extraordinarily-predictable successful landing of the first stage booster on Landing Zone 1.

Falcon 9 sits on the pad awaiting Crew-6 Launch © SpaceX/Joel Kowsky

Crew 6 - March 2nd

SpaceX launched the Crew-6 mission back on the 2nd of March from Launch Complex 39A carrying Stephen Bowen, Warren Hoburg, Sultan Al Neyadi, and Andrey Fedyaev to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon Endeavour. Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the International Space Station a little over a day later on the 3rd of March. The Crew-6 mission lasted almost one-hundred and eighty-six days when the crew returned to Earth in early September.

Terran 1 takes to the skies © Relativity Space

Terran 1 - March 22nd

Relativity Space made its first launch with the only launch of the Terran 1 rocket from Launch Complex 16 in Florida. The mission carried a 1.5 kg payload simulator on the flight. However, the rocket did fail to reach orbit with the second stage engine failing to ignite.

Ariane 5 launches JUICE to space © ESA/Ariane Space

JUICE - April 14th

The European Space Agency launched its major Jupiter science mission on the 14th of April called JUICE. JUICE launched on the second to last Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center. It is currently believed that JUICE will arrive at Jupiter in 2031 after flying by Earth three times and Venus once.

Long March 2F transported to the launch site © CGTN/CASC

Shenzhou 16 - May 30th

At the end of May, a Long March 2F rocket lifted off carrying the Shenzhou 16 spacecraft and its crew into low Earth orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. After launching at 01:31 am UTC, the spacecraft docked with Tiangong Space Station a little under seven hours after launch.

Ariane 5 launches for the final time © ESA

Ariane 5 Last Launch - July 5th

The final launch of Arianespace's Ariane 5 lifted off from the Guiana Space Center back on the 5th of July. This mission was Ariane 5's one-hundred and seventeenth mission since debuting in 1996. This mission carried two customer satellites to a geosynchronous transfer orbit, which were Heinrich-Hertz-Satellit from the German Aerospace Center and SYRACUSE 4B for the French Direction Générale de l’Armement.

Zhuque-2 awaits historic launch © LandSpace

Zhuque-2 Reaches Orbit - July 12th

On the 12th of July 2023, LandSpace's Zhuque-2 successfully flew to low Earth orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. This was the first time LandSpace has made it to orbit and the first time methalox, liquid methane and liquid oxygen, has been used to fuel a successful orbital launch, beating United Launch Alliance's Vulcan, Relativity's Terran 1 and SpaceX's Starship-Superheavy to orbit. The Zhuque-2 carried no payloads on this launch.

ISRO's LVM3 rocket launches Chandrayaan-3 to the Lunar south pole © ISRO

Chandrayaan 3 - July 14th

In mid-July 2023, India launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Center atop of the LVM3 rocket. The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was placed into an orbit of the Earth where it slowly raised its orbit to intercept the Moon. The lander ended up successfully landing on the Moon a little over a month later on the 23rd of August.

Luna 25 launches on the top of a Soyuz rocket © Roscosmos

Luna 25 - August 10th

On the 10th of August, Russia launched Luna 25 atop a Soyuz 2.1b from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's far east. Luna 25 was Russia's first lunar landing mission since 1976. The Luna 25 mission would ultimately end up being unsuccessful after colliding with the Moon after performing an orbit change maneuver for longer than expected.

Crew 7 launches aboard Falcon 9 © SpaceX

Crew 7 - August 26th

In late August, SpaceX launched Crew-7 to the International Space Station for NASA as part of its Commercial Crew Program. The crew of the mission is Konstantin Borisov, Andreas Mogensen, Jasmin Moghbeli, and Satoshi Furukawa. This mission also had a new booster, B1081, for this mission was on its first flight and landed back at Landing Zone-1 after performing a boost backburn to return to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mission planners are currently planning to have Crew-7 stay on the International Space Station for six months, as of writing the mission is halfway through its planned stay.

Soyuz preps for MS-24 launch © Roscosmos/Everyday Astronaut

MS 24 - September 15th

On September the 15th a Soyuz 2.1a lifted off carrying Soyuz MS-24 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft docked at the International Space Station at 18:53 UTC to the Rassvet module with the hatch opening at 21:16 UTC. The crew of Soyuz MS-24 is Loral O'Hara, Oleg Kononenko, and Nikolay Chub.

Falcon Heavy Soars off the pad with NASA's Psyche onboard © SpaceX/Everyday Astronaut

Psyche - October 13th

NASA had its Psyche spacecraft launch atop of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A on the 13th of October. The spacecraft was placed onto an orbit around the Sun that will have it reach asteroid 16 Psyche in five years and ten months from now. The three boosters for this mission were; B1079 making its first and only flight, B1064 making its fourth flight and landing back at Landing Zone 1, and B0165 making its fourth flight too and landing at Landing Zone 2.

Gaganyaan crew capsule embarks on its launch abort test © ISRO

Gaganyaan - October 21st

On the 21st of October, India performed a launch abort test of the escape system for its Gaganyaan crew capsule from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. The test had the capsule perform an abort 11.7 kilometers up at 889 miles per hour where it separated from the booster. Gaganyaan's launch escape system carried the capsule up to 17 kilometers where it was released at a speed of 370 miles per hour. After deploying its drogue chutes and then main parachutes the capsule splashed down roughly 10 kilometers from its launch site, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The test was declared a success shortly after by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Long March 2F with Shenzhou 17 rolls out to the pad © CASC

Shenzhou 17 - October 26th

In late October, a Long March 2F rocket lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 03:14 UTC carrying the Shenzhou 17 spacecraft and its crew of three to the Tiangong space station in low Earth orbit. A little over six hours after its launch the Shenzhou 17 spacecraft docked at the forward port of the Tianhe module and after opening the hatch were greeted by the Shenzhou 16 crew.

Chŏllima-1 soars off the pad © DPRK

Chŏllima 1 - November 20th

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea successfully managed to launch the Chŏllima-1 rocket to low Earth orbit from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in late November. The launch carried the Malligyong-1c spacecraft which is a military reconnaissance satellite.

Zhuque-2 launches for the third time © LandSpace

Zhuque 2 puts satellites into LEO - December 8th

Back on the 8th of December, Greenwich Mean Time, or the 9th of December, China Standard Time, LandSpace launched its Zhuque-2 rocket for the third time. This launch took place from Launch Area 96 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, which is in Inner Mongolia in the north of the People's Republic of China, carrying three payloads to a 460km sun-synchronous orbit. This launch was the first time the rocket delivered a payload to orbit, and the first time a rocket burning liquid methane successfully placed payloads into orbit of the Earth.

Cheng Zheng 2C lifts off, marking the end of 2023 rocket launches © Wang Jiangbo/Xinhua

Cheng Zheng 2C - December 30th

Finishing off 2023 was a Chinese launch of a Cheng Zheng 2C (equipped with a YZ-1S upper stage) on December 30th at 00:13 UTC. Aboard is believed to be a single prototype satellite for the "SatNet" government-owned Low Earth Orbit megaconstellation. As with nearly all Chinese launches, details are skint, but the satellite is believed to be manufactured by CAST and joins at least seven such prototype satellites in orbit.

Notable News Stories

Cosmic Girl deploys LauncherOne © Virgin Orbit/Greg Robinson

The end of Virgin Orbit

2023 contained both triumphs and failures of dozens of different vehicles, a handful of them will sadly not be making it into the New Year whatsoever.

Starting with Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne, an ill-fated final launch dubbed "Start Me Up" took off from the UK's Spaceport Cornwall aboard its mothership, the then-Virgin Orbit-owned and modified Boeing 747 (dubbed Cosmic Girl) on January 9th, separating and beginning its burn at approximately 23:11 UTC. Unfortunately, during second stage burn, telemetry being shown live on Virgin Orbit's official webcast began coming back garbled and nonsensical.

Well into that burn, while traveling approximately 17,000km/hr, a fuel filter was dislodged from a fuel feedline and was trapped in a location where it resulted in rapidly-increasing combustion chamber temperatures, and ultimately, an end to the mission. The bewildered commentators seemed to slowly become aware of what this meant for their company - which reportedly spent nearly a billion dollars on the development of the launcher, making it hard enough to close the business case for them even assuming no failures - and just months after this failure, Virgin Orbit declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Virgin Orbit's assets were sold off to the highest bidder at bankruptcy auction, with Stratolaunch purchasing Cosmic Girl (which was refit to suit Stratolaunch's needs and renamed the Spirit of Mojave), Rocket Lab purchasing their Long Beach, CA factory (for engine development and manufacturing) and Firefly purchasing all remaining LauncherOne hardware and IP. This unusual move is understood by Cosmic Nxws to be Firefly's way of staving off any potential future lawsuits by Virgin Galactic, from whom Firefly founder Tom Markusic allegedly stole design schematics and IP when he left to form his own company, or any other parties.

ABL's RS1 rocket sits on the pad © ABL

ABL hits the pad, not their marks

Less of a "goodbye" and more of a "until we meet again," ABL Space Systems, a highly secretive launcher startup with close ties to Lockheed Martin, flew their RS1 vehicle for the first time on January 10th at 23:37 UTC from Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska. The launch hardly went to plan, with an avionics bay fire resulting in a pad fallback approximately 20 seconds after liftoff, leveling the GS0 containerized launch system used by RS1 and damaging neighboring infrastructure not owned by ABL. Aboard were two demonstration cubesats for OmniTeq, which, needless to say, did not make it to their intended destination.

After this stunning failure (video of which is quite literally held by CEO Harry O'Hanley under digital lock and key and unlikely to ever be released), ABL went back to the drawing board and decided to halt further flights of this iteration of RS1, dubbed Block 1. Work on RS1 Block 2, already underway but planned to take flight after the third flight at earliest, was accelerated, and ABL intends to trial the significantly upgraded B2 vehicle on RS1's second flight early in 2024.

Terran 1 sits on the pad, awaiting its first (and final) launch © Relativity Space/Trevor Mahlmann

Terran 1 debuts and retires

Relativity Space's Terran 1 was a highly atypical vehicle for two reasons: firstly, it was part of the initial crop of methane-fueled launchers (second only to LandSpace's ZhuQue-2), but possibly more noteworthy was it being roughly 85% additively manufactured by mass. Using advanced 3D printing methods, Relativity aimed to dramatically reduce complexity and part count with Terran 1, resulting in quicker manufacturing and higher reliability.

Unfortunately for them, Terran 1's first flight, named "Good Luck, Have Fun," did not prove out that last point when it finally lifted off on March 23rd at 03:25 UTC (the 22nd at 23:25 local time); despite making it to space and through first-stage flight nearly flawlessly, the second stage failed to ignite due to LOX turbopump cavitation and slow valve response times.

This is understood by Cosmic Nxws to have been an easily resolvable issue should Relativity had decided to go ahead with a second flight of Terran 1, however, upon consultation with customers and running the numbers, Relativity instead decided to retire Terran 1 after just a single flight in favor of a significantly more ambitious vehicle, Terran R. This is certainly a gutsy move, and it remains to be seen whether Relativity can deliver a partially-reusable medium-heavy lifter as promised.

Long March 2F embarks on its journey, onboard is the Shenzhou 17 crew © CASC

Crew rotation aboard the Chinese Space Station

The Shenzhou 16 mission arrived at the Tiangong Space Station on the 30th of May to take over from the Shenzhou 15 crew for science and operational activities aboard the space station. After spending four days with the Shenzhou 16 crew, the Shenzhou 15 crew left the space station and returned to Earth on the 3rd of June.

During the Shenzhou 15 crew's one-hundred and eight-six day stay on the space station, they performed four spacewalks to carry out maintenance on all three modules. The crew also oversaw the arrival of the Tianzhou 6 cargo spacecraft and transferred cargo to and from the spacecraft after docking.

The end of October saw another crew rotation aboard China's Tiangong Space Station with the arrival of the Shenzhou 17 crew on the 26th. Five days after the arrival of Shenzhou 17, the Shenzhou 16 crew left the space station and returned to Earth on the 31st.

During the one-hundred-and-fifty-four-day stay of the Shenzhou 16 crew, they performed dozens of space experiments, delivered a lecture from the space station, and transferred cargo to and from the Tianzhou cargo spacecraft. Two members of the crew, Jing Haipeng and Zhu Yangzhu, also performed a spacewalk to install panoramic cameras on the Tianhe core module and Mengtian experiment module, the spacewalk lasted for almost eight hours.

The crew of Shenzhou 15 was; Commander Fei Junlong, Operator Deng Qingming, and System Operator Zhang Lu. The crew spend one-hundred and eight-six days in space.

The crew of Shenzhou 16 was; Commander Jing Haipeng, Flight Engineer Zhe Yangzhu, and Payload Specialist Gui Haichao. The crew spent one-hundred and fifty-four days in space.

The crew of Shenzhou 17 is; Commander Tang Hongbo, Operator Tang Shengjie, and System Operator Jiang Xinlin. The crew is currently expected to be aboard the Tiangong space station until May 2024 after the Shenzhou 18 mission arrives.

Samples of Bennu sit in its return capsule, shortly after landing back on Earth © NASA

Rocks from Bennu to Earth!

OSIRIS-REx returned samples from Bennu to Earth back in late September almost three years since collection from the asteroid. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft dropped off the sample return capsule to Earth while on a flyby of the planet. The sample return capsule touched down in the Utah Test and Training Range with its samples.

This was the first asteroid sample return mission for NASA and the United States of America. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is now continuing its extended mission and will head to asteroid Apophis with the spacecraft now being called OSIRIS-APEX. OSIRIS-APEX will arrive at Apophis in 2029 after its earth flyby and will study the asteroid up close and will attempt to dislodge parts of the asteroid using its thrusters.

Long March 5B on its way to the pad © CASC

China surpasses 500 launches of its Long March rocket series

Back on the 10th of December, a Long March 2D lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. While a regular launch at first glance, this was the 500th launch of a Long March rocket in its fifty-three-year flight history.

The payload for the launch was a Yaogan reconnaissance satellite heading to low Earth orbit.

So far the entire Long March series of rockets have a claimed reliability of roughly ninety-seven percent.

ISRO's LVM3 rocket launches Chandrayaan-3 on a journey to the Lunar south pole! © ISRO

Chandrayaan-3 lands on the Moon!

On the 23rd of August, Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down on the Lunar surface! The landing site was at 69.367621 degrees south and 32.348126 degrees east, near the Lunar South Pole.

The landing of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft made India the fourth country to successfully touchdown with a soft landing on the Moon.

Chandrayaan-3 was a follow-up Lunar landing mission to Chandrayaan-2 which failed to land on the Moon on the 6th of September 2019 after a software glitch. The lander also had several science experiments which were; Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) to measure the thermal conductivity and temperature, Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) for measuring the seismicity around the landing site, and a passive Laser Retroreflector Array from NASA is accommodated for lunar laser ranging studies.

The lander also had a small 26-kilogram rover that was deployed after landing on the Lunar surface. The rover also had two payloads; Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) for deriving the elemental composition in the vicinity of the landing site.

The Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover were sadly lost during the lunar night due to the extreme cold eliminating the possibility of a mission extension to perform more science.

2024: Pushing the Envelope

While 2023 was an insane year, with new launchers taking to the skies, the most powerful rocket flying not once, but twice, and a new launch record, 2024 is poised to top this historic year. Here is what to expect in 2024:

United Launch Alliance is currently preparing to launch its Vulcan rocket on its maiden flight currently scheduled for the 8th of January 2024. This mission will send the Astrobotic Peregrine lunar lander on flight towards the Moon, and eventual landing. It will also certify Vulcan-Centaur to launch military payloads for the United States government.

A render of Vulcan-Centaur lifting off from SLC-41. ©ULA
A render of Vulcan-Centaur lifting off from SLC-41. ©ULA

SpaceX is preparing to launch Starship-Super Heavy for its third integrated flight test, currently believed to be targeting mid-to-late January. It is believed that the third flight will use Ship 28 and Super Heavy Booster 10. There is also a strong likelihood that at least one more test flight will occur in 2024.

Ship 28 performing a static fire test. ©SpaceX
Ship 28 performing a static fire test. ©SpaceX

China is currently targeting May of 2024 for its Chang'e 6 lunar sample return mission. The lander will collect samples from the far side of the Moon before attempting a return to Earth. The mission is expected to launch from the Wenchang Space Launch Site and utilize a Long March 5 rocket.

Space Pioneer, a Chinese aerospace company, is currently believed to be targeting June of 2024 for the maiden flight of its Tianlong-3 rocket from the Wenchang Space Launch Site. Tianlong-3 is comparable to SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket being able to carry up to 17,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit. The company is also looking to fly Tianlong-3 in September and November depending on the outcome of the first flight.

The European Space Agency and Arianespace are currently targeting no earlier than the 15th of June for the maiden launch of the Ariane 6 rocket. Backup dates are reportedly available through to the 31st of July.

A render of Ariane 6 during flight. ©ESA/Arianespace/CNES
A render of Ariane 6 during flight. ©ESA/Arianespace/CNES

Pallas-1, developed by Chinese aerospace company Galactic Energy, is currently slated to fly in the second half of 2024 for its maiden flight. The launch site for the mission is currently unknown along with any potential payload. Pallas-1 is Galactic-Energy's in-development medium-lift partially reusable launch vehicle.

NASA is currently targeting no earlier than November for the launch of the Artemis 2 mission around the Moon. The mission will utilize the agency's Space Launch System rocket to send the Orion spacecraft around the Moon carrying astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch, and Jeremy Hansen. This will be the first crewed mission to the Moon's proximity since 1972.

NASA Artemis 2 astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen ©NASA Johnson
NASA Artemis 2 astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen ©NASA Johnson

JAXA is targeting fiscal year 2024 to launch its MMX, Martian Moons eXploration, mission to Mars' moons atop of a H3 rocket. At Mars, the spacecraft will investigate Phobos and Deimos in orbit with a potential landing.