Full Name: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

Launched: December 2, 1995

Mission Duration: 21 years as of November 2017

Mission: Joint mission between NASA and ESA to study the internal structure of the Sun, its outer atmosphere, and solar wind.

Notes: SOHO was only designed to operate for 3 years but continues to function to this day. It is responsible for the discovery of over 3000 comets and asteroids. SOHO provides us with near-real-time solar weather data.

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Full Name: BepiColombo

Launch date: October 2018

Mission Duration: 1+ years

Mission: Investigate the planet Mercury, its magnetic field, magnetosphere, interior and surface.

Notes: BepiColombo is a collaboration between ESA and JAXA. It is a two-part spacecraft composed of an orbiter and lander. It is named after the Italian scientist Giuseppe "Bepi" Colombo.

Solar Orbiter

Full Name: Solar Orbiter (SoIO)

Launch date: February 2019

Mission Duration: 7 years

Mission: Perform detailed measurements of the inner heliosphere and nascent solar wind as well as perform close observations of the Sun's poles.


Full Name: Cluster

Launched: June 4, 1996

Mission Duration: 37 seconds

Mission: Research the Earth's magnetosphere

Notes: Cluster was destroyed when the Ariane 5 rocket it was stored in veered off course and disintegrate. Cluster II was launched in 2000 and has been in operation for over 17 years.


Full Name: Rosetta

Launched: March 2, 2004

Mission Duration: 12 years, 6 months, 28 days.

Mission: Study comet 67P and deploy Philae lander to carry out experiments on the surface of the comet.

Notes: The Philae lander bounced off the surface of the comet and landed in the shadow of a cliff causing it to lose power after 2 days. Rosetta's Philae communicator was switched off to save power. On September 30th, 2016 Rosetta crashed into the surface of comet 67P ending its mission.

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Mars Express

Full Name: Mars Express

Launched: June 2, 2003

Mission Duration: 14 years, 5 months, 6 days.

Mission: Study the surface of Mars and deploy the Beagle 2 lander to perform exobiology and geochemistry.

Notes: Beagle 2 crashed into the surface of Mars. Mars Express is the second longest running active spacecraft in history, NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey is #1.

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Full Name: PROBA2

Launched: November 2, 2009

Mission Duration: 2 years

Mission: Test new spacecraft technology.

Venus Express

Full Name: Venus Express (VEX)

Launched: November 9, 2005.

Mission Duration: 9 years, 2 months, 9 days.

Mission: Long-term investigation of the Venusian atmosphere.

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Full Name: JUpiter ICy moons Explorer

Launch date: 2022

Mission Duration: 11 years planned.

Mission: Study Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa.


Full Name: Cassini-Huygens

Launched: October 15, 1997

Mission Duration: 19 Years, 335 days.

Mission: Study the planet Saturn, it's moons, and it's rings. Deploy Huygens probe to land on Titan.

Notes: Cassini ended its mission with a grand finale. It flew through Saturn's rings and crashed into the planet itself.

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