Space Missions to Watch in August 2023: Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and More

August is going to be a busy month in space with multiple government and commercial missions scheduled around the world. 

Two spectators watching a rocket launch.
There are multiple ISS missions in August. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The commercial and government space scene is buzzing as new launch programs take off and existing ones grow. August is going to be a busy month with multiple missions scheduled around the world. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic (SPCE) is expected to launch its first tourism spaceflight from New Mexico; SpaceX has several satellite deliveries scheduled and a Dragon Crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on the calendar. Russia’s government space agency Roscosmos, despite the ongoing war with Ukraine, also has a cargo ISS mission planned. And a Russian cosmonaut is set to fly to the space station aboard a SpaceX spacecraft.

Here are the most exciting space missions to watch in August:

  • August 1: Antares’s Cygnus mission to the ISS An Antares rocket made by Northrop Grumman will launch a cargo mission to the ISS. The mission, called NG-19, will be the 19th cargo delivery to the ISS by Northrop Grumman and the final flight of an Antares rocket with foreign engines.
  • August 3: SpaceX satellite mission A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the television broadcasting satellite for European satellite giant Intelsat. The spacecraft was built by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies. The mission was originally scheduled for the second quarter.
  • August 10: Virgin Galactic’s first tourism spaceflight Virgin Galactic is aiming for early August to launch three paying passengers to the edge of space from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. It will be the company’s second commercial spaceflight and the first carrying tourists. The first Virgin commercial flight, launched in late June, carried three Italian researchers for a science mission. The three civilian passengers are canoeist Jon Goodwin, entrepreneur Keisha Schahaff and her daughter Anastatia Mayers.
  • August 17: SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the ISS SpaceX launches an astronaut mission to the ISS for NASA every six months. Its next mission, called Crew-7, is scheduled to lift off on August 17 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Dragon capsule will send four astronauts—NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, the European Space Agency’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and Russia’s Konstantin Borisov—to the space station for a six-month stay. After Crew-7 astronauts settle in, members of the Crew-6 mission, which reached the ISS in March, will return to Earth on August 25.
  • August TBD: Russia’s Progress mission to the ISS A Russian government Soyuz rocket is expected to launch a cargo delivery ship to the ISS in August. The exact launch date has yet to be determined. The mission will be the 85th delivery flight under Russia’s long-running Progress cargo program.
Space Missions to Watch in August 2023: Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and More