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.
NASA’s Perseverance rover will continue looking for life on Mars and will test our first-ever Mars helicopter (Ingenuity).
China’s first Mars mission will put a rover on Mars in its first Mars mission.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its Hope orbiter to Mars.
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.
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.
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 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.