Technology

SpaceX, Nasa, Blue Origin and other rocket launches to look out for in 2021

Last year was a prolific year for rocket launches, tests and other space missions.

The emergence of private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing and Virgin into the space industry in recent years resulted in a huge increase in spaceflight events in 2020.

Together with the continued efforts of national and international space agencies like Nasa, ESA, Jaxa and Roscosmos, there were more than 150 orbital and sub-orbital launches from around the world.

They included three missions to Mars, missions to the moon, test-flights of the Mars-bound Starship craft, and the return of crewed flight missions to the International Space Station (ISS) from US soil.

This year is set to be equally busy – listed below is every major launch and landing in 2021.

January

17 January, Mojave Air and Space Port, California (6pm GMT): Second demonstration flight of Virgin Orbit’s LaucherOne rocket.

17 January, Kennedy Space Center, Florida (6.23pm GMT): SpaceX to launch 60 more internet satellites as part of Starlink 16 mission.

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21 January, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida (2.24pm GMT): SpaceX will launch Falcon 9 rocket carrying Transporter 1 rideshare carrying satellites from commercial and government customers.

February

14 February, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan (4.45pm GMT): Uncrewed Russian Progress 76 cargo craft will launch to the ISS to deliver food, fuel and supplies.

18 February, Jezero Crater, Mars (8.43pm GMT): Perseverance Rover will land on a former crater just north of the Martian equator in its quest to search for habitable conditions on Mars. 

20 February, Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia (5.36pm): Northrop Grumman will launch as part of a resupply mission to the ISS. 

25 February, Vostochny Cosmodrome, Siberia: Russian Soyez rocket to launch 36 OneWeb internet satellites.

26 February, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida: STP-3 rideshare mission for US Space Force will see launch of Atlas V rocket.

No fixed date in February: SpaceX will launch another 60 internet satellites as part of its ongoing Starlink missions.

March

4 March, Guiana Spaceport, French Guiana: Arianespace will launch the Star One D2 and Eutelsat Quantum communications satellites aboard an Ariane 5 ECA rocket.

29 March: Second orbital flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, prior to a flight test with astronauts.

30 March, Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex, Florida: Second operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station will carry Nasa, Jaxa and ESA astronauts.

No fixed date in March: SpaceX plans a Dragon cargo resupply mission aboard a Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

April

10 April, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Soyuz rocket will launch Soyuz MS-18 carrying Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

May

No fixed date in May: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch Dragon cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

June

No fixed date in June: First crewed flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with Nasa astronauts Mike Fincke, Nicole Mann and Barry Wilmore.

July – December

No earlier than 16 October, Kennedy Space Center, Florida: Lucy Mission to launch on 12-year journey to eight different Trojan asteroids associated with the planet Jupiter.

This page will be continuously updated, with more launch details added as they are confirmed.

Source:

www.independent.co.uk

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