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2021 – The Year in Space: Here’s what to watch for in this year’s space events.

Firefly Aerospace test-fires Alpha rocket

2021 is going to be more than a merry celebration following the annus horribilis year 2020 – it’s going to be a space party like never seen before. Here are the space events we have to look forward to in 2021.

Perseverance Rover

NASA’s Perseverance rover will continue looking for life on Mars and will test our first-ever Mars helicopter (Ingenuity).

Tianwen-1

China’s first Mars mission will put a rover on Mars in its first Mars mission.

Hope Orbiter

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its Hope orbiter to Mars.

Boeing Starliner

Lots to look forward to with Boeing’s Starliner. It will become the second commercial crew spacecraft to bring astronauts into orbit. Boeing will send three astronauts to the International Space Station sometime after mid-2021.

Yaoki

Japan’s first moon rover will fly to the moon along with the Peregrine lander. The ashes of Arthur C. Clarke will be carried and deposited on the moon.

Blue Origin’s New Glenn

Named after John Glenn, Blue Origin will send up its first orbital rocker, one that will be added to NASA’s fleet of commercial launch vehicles.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be taken to space.

NASA’s Lucy

The Lucy mission will be the first NASA spacecraft to visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.

NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket

If all goes as planned, we should see Artemis I fly around the moon in the first launch of SLS.

Russia’s Luna-25

Russia’s moon missions should launch in 2021 with Luna-25 touching down on the moon’s south pole.

End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-D)

This dual spacecraft mission will use a magnetic capture mechanism in our first attempt to deal with space junk in orbit around Earth.

SpaceX Axiom Space mission

SpaceX will send private astronatus from Houston’s Axiom Space to the International Space Station where they’ll watch the action with wide eyes and probably get in the way.

Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander

IM will fly the robotic Nova-C lander aboard a SpaceX Falcon rocket to the surface of the moon. It will carry five NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) and will send data back to Earth for two weeks.

Firefly Aerospace launches

Joining SpaceX, Blue Origin, and others, Texas-based Firefly Aerospace will launch its first Alpha rocket.