Space and science blog by Dr Jozef Kozár

I am in space …

Yes, you are right! I am in space. All of us, because we all are part of the universe. But, I have also something else – my name has flown to space, to asteroids and planets, on board of some robotic missions. Take a look on some of them below.


Mission: MAVEN

Target: Mars

Current position: Orbiting Mars

Operator: NASA

Launch: November 18, 2013, 18:28 UTC

Orbital insertion: September 22, 2014, 02:24 UTC

Mission: Mars atmospheric research

COSPAR ID: 2013-063A

Orbital parameters:
Reference system: Areocentric (Mars)
Periareion: 150 km (93 mi)
Apoareion: 6,200 km (3,900 mi)
Inclination: 75 degrees
Period: 4.5 hours
Epoch: Planned



Mission: InSight

Target: Mars

Current position: Arriving at Mars. Landing in 2 days (last update 23 November 2018)

Operator: NASA

Launch: May 5, 2018

Landing: 26 November 2018, 20:53 CET

Landing location: Elysium Planitia 4.5°N 135.0°E, Mars

Mission: Study the interior and subsurface of Mars

COSPAR ID: not assigned yet

Other description of the mission:
Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations,
Geodesy and Heat Transport
Geophysical Monitoring Station

Mission includes also two small cubesats called MarCO. “The Mars Cube One” (MarCO) spacecraft, a set of two 6U CubeSats, will piggyback with the InSight mission to help relay communications during the probe’s entry, descent and landing phase. MarCO is a technology capability demonstration of communications relay system.



Mission: OSIRIS-REx

Target: asteroid 101955 Bennu

Current position: in space, asteroid 101955 Bennu (location live here)

Operator: NASA

Launch: September 8, 2016, 23:05 UTC

Asteroid orbit insertion: expected on 03 December 2018

Landing location after sample return mission: Utah Test and Training Range, Earth

Planned landing after return: 24 September 2023, 15:00 UTC

COSPAR ID: 2016-055A

The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) is a NASA asteroid study and sample-return mission. Its mission is to study asteroid 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid, and return a sample to Earth on 24 September 2023 for detailed analysis. The material returned is expected to enable scientists to learn more about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, its initial stages of planet formation, and the source of organic compounds that led to the formation of life on Earth.

After traveling for approximately two years, the spacecraft is to rendezvous with asteroid 101955 Bennu in August 2018 and begin 505 days of surface mapping at a distance of approximately 5 km (3.1 mi). Following collection of material (from 60 grams to two kilograms) in July 2020, the sample will be returned to Earth in a 46-kilogram (101 lb) capsule. The return trip to Earth will be shorter, and will land in September 2023.

Mission: Hayabusa 2

Target: asteroid 162173 Ryugu

Current position: in space on trajectory to asteroid 162173 Ryugu, track the position live here

Operator: JAXA

Launch: December 3, 2014, 04:22 UTC

Arrival to asteroid: July 2018

Landing back on Earth: expected in December 2020

COSPAR ID: 2014-076A

(162173) Ryugu orbiter:
Orbital insertion June 2018 (planned)
Orbital departure December 2019 (planned)

The target of the mission is to study the asteroid 162173 Ryugu (formerly designated 1999 JU3). Hayabusa2 is expected to arrive at the target in July 2018, survey the asteroid for a year and a half, depart in December 2019, and return to Earth in December 2020.

The spacecraft features ion engines, upgraded guidance and navigation technology, antennas and attitude control systems. Operations at the asteroid will be similar to those of the previous Hayabusa mission, but with an explosive device to dig the asteroid surface for fresh sample material.

Mission: LightSail

Current position: prepared to launch

Operator: The Planetary Society

Launch: April 30, 2018 (planned)


LightSail 2 is a project to demonstrate controlled solar sailing using a CubeSat developed by The Planetary Society, a global non-profit organization devoted to space exploration. The spacecraft core measures 10 × 10 × 30 cm, and its kite-shaped solar sail deploys into a total area of 32 square meters (340 sq ft).

LightSail2 is currently scheduled to be launched as a secondary payload on the Space Test Program (STP-2) on a Falcon Heavy rocket in early 2018.

Mission: Parker Solar Probe

Current position: prepared to launch

Operator: NASA, Applied Physics Laboratory

Launch: August 19, 2018 (planned)


Parker Solar Probe (previously Solar Probe, Solar Probe Plus, or Solar Probe+) is a planned NASA robotic spacecraft to probe the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 8.5 solar radii (5.9 million kilometers or 3.67 million miles) to the ‘surface’ (photosphere) of the Sun.