The year 2020 will see new and exciting European space missions, from journeys to the Sun and back to Mars, and from innovative telecommunications satellites to the continuing operation of Copernicus Earth observation satellites. The second ExoMars mission will see a European rover on the ‘Red Planet’ and the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission will be launched around the Sun. This year marks probably the last time an ESA astronaut flies on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft – future European astronaut flights are likely to be on the new US spacecraft, in particular the NASA Orion vehicles, which feature European-built Service Modules, now being prepared for flights to the Moon and beyond. The year also sees the first flight of ESA’s new Vega-C launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, where Ariane 6 operations are also taking shape for its first flight.
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