Lots of space missions are slated to launch in 2021

Jan 6, 2021, 2:00 PM

James Webb Telescope. (NASA/AP Photo)...

James Webb Telescope. (NASA/AP Photo)

(NASA/AP Photo)

With 2020 now gone and for many a good thing, we turn to the future of space exploration with new and exciting missions in 2021.

Here is a brief summary of some of the more exciting missions!

Space X leads the way in low earth orbital missions to the ISS. In 2021, plans call for three Crew Dragon missions to the space station. One mission calls for the first private mission on the Crew Dragon from Axiom Space on the tested Resilience capsule in October.

Space X continues with additional launches with the Starlink satellites and hopes to have a cluster of these small internet-providing satellites launched every month this year.

The long-duration lunar and Mars spacecraft Starship will continue its development and testing too! This makes Space X the most successful start-up yet in launching new and exciting spacecraft.

The east coast of the United US, will see Rocket Lab launch the exciting Electron rocket with many commercial payloads from the NASA Wallops Island launch facility in Virginia. Launches could begin as early as March.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is in the running too, with his New Glenn rocket, which designer Blue Origin hopes to launch at the Kennedy Space Center as early as October.

Here is what some of these rocket platforms look like: Rocket Lab Electron; the New Glenn.

Boeing gets into the act with the hopeful launch of its Starliner capsule, which is headed to the ISS to bring crew and supplies as early as March 29.

Here is the Boeing Starliner.

There will be a number of moon missions in 2021, but the Russian Luna 25 stands out. The previous return to the moon, Luna 24 came back with samples of lunar rocks back in 1976.

Mars will be at the center of spacecraft exploration in 2021, with the arrival of three important missions. NASA’s Perseverance mission – and its tiny dronelike helicopter known as Ingenuity – arrives in February.

China has the Tianwen-1 mission to Mars, which hopes to make a soft landing in April. It’s made up of an orbiter, lander and rover.

Finally, the United Arab Emirates has its Hope mission headed to place it in orbit around Mars on Feb. 9.

In our short update on some of the many spacecraft missions of 2021, we come to one of the most amazing, in my opinion.

For the longest time, we have hoped for the next-generation space telescope to expand our view beyond that of the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA has plans to launch the long awaited James Webb Telescope on or about Oct. 31. It will be launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the remote Kourou Space Center facility in French Guiana.

If all goes well, the spacecraft will be placed in a special orbital location known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange position, far from Earth. This is different from the low Earth orbit position of the current Hubble Space Telescope.

Here is a detailed link to study up on the Webb Telescope.

2021 has some great space missions, so stay tuned!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Dr. Sky Blog

(Pixabay Photo)...

Steve Kates

In February, skywatchers will see beautiful full snow moon, maybe even a comet

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is streaking along our skies. If you want to see it, grab a pair of binoculars or a telescope.

1 year ago

This split image shows the difference between an active sun during solar maximum (on the left, capt...

Steve Kates

Hot news: Solar Cycle 25 is ramping up the sky show in 2023

The sun is now in the process of showing us its real power during the long-awaited Solar Cycle 25.

1 year ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Steve Kates

Sirius: The brightest star in the night sky comes into view

Our January night sky offers up some really amazing sights and some include viewing that brightest star in the sky in remote locations.

1 year ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Steve Kates

New comet to streak across skies before end of January

Get set for a new comet coming our way! Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF can be viewed with binoculars in the early morning sky later this month.

1 year ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Steve Kates

Why we kiss under the mistletoe, tracking Santa and other holiday rituals

As we celebrate the holidays and Christmas, we look for some time to relax with loved ones and enjoy many of the traditions that have come from the distant past!

1 year ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Steve Kates

Sky events to look forward to in 2023 include a rare eclipse and meteor showers

We've got a new year to look forward to great events in our skies after a terrific 2022.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Lots of space missions are slated to launch in 2021