The Millennium:
A Space and Astronomy Timeline
Century: 10th | 11th | 12th | 13th | 14th | 15th | 16th | 17th | 18th | 19th | Early 20th | Late 20th | 21st

The Third Millennium (2001 - 3000AD)
    2001: January 1 starts the Third Millennium. What's ahead?

    2002: NASA's Space Infrared Telescope Facility, schedule for launch in 2002, will study star birth hidden deep within clouds of dust and gas and will observe galaxies born shortly after the Big Bang, yet so distant from us that their light is shifted into the infrared spectrum. The telescope will obtain its power from solar panels.

    2003: Completion of the International Space Station in 2005.

    2004: The Cassini interplanetary probe arrives at Saturn in 2004. It will dispatch the European probe Huygens to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. Cassini will send data about the Saturn system back to Earth through 2008.

    2010: The Terrestrial Planet Finder, a NASA mission will look for Earth-like planets outside our Solar System. It will combine the high sensitivity of a telescope with the sharply detailed pictures of an interferometer to reduce the glare of parent stars to see planetary systems as far away as 50 light years.

    2014: Humans could reach the Red Planet as early as 2014. A five-member crew would be preceded by an unmanned Mars ascent vehicle and cargo lander, which would contain a nuclear reactor and hydrogen for making methane and oxygen out of martian carbon dioxide. The crew would stay on Mars for 612 days.

    2025: A third-generation reusable launch vehicle will replace the replacement for the 1900s space shuttle program. Human spaceflight will be like air travel in the 1900s.

    2040: A fourth-generation reusable launch vehicle will be just like a commercial airliner and a commercial launch vehicle.

    2050: Interstellar travel. Propulsion breakthroughs will enable humankind to travel beyond our Solar System, maybe even to other stars.

Timeline Century: 10th | 11th | 12th | 13th | 14th | 15th | 16th | 17th | 18th | 19th | Early 20th | Late 20th | 21st

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