Impulse Space and Relativity Space have announced plans to launch the first commercial mission to Mars in 2026. This is reported by SpaceNews.

The idea of launching a mission is not new for them. The company announced such intentions last year, but then the mission was being prepared for launch at the end of 2024. Those plans have now been put on hold for two years, and the reasons for the delay have not been disclosed.

In this project, Impulse Space is responsible for the development of the lander, while Relativity will provide the launch on its Terran R rocket, which is under development. Its redesigned version will debut in 2026.

Although the launch of the first mission to Mars has been delayed by two years, the companies have ambitious plans. They are interested in carrying out a series of such commercial landing missions. This will allow to conduct new and cheaper scientific research, in particular to launch payloads.

“By making transport to Mars more affordable, you open up that iteration loop that can lead to advancements that just could not have been envisioned previously,” said Josh Brost, senior vice president of revenue operations at Relativity.

We will remind that earlier in samples of rocks from Mars, signs were found that once there could have been life on the planet, similar to Earth. The rock collected by the Curiosity rover contains large amounts of organic carbon that match or exceed the amount found in samples from Earth. Curiosity collected the samples by drilling into the rock in Gale Crater. The samples were obtained from rocks 3.5 billion years old.