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2021, A New Space Odyssey – Chronology

2021, A New Space Odyssey – Chronology
25 Jan. 2021

X Files Space

You will find elow a chronology of space missions in 2021. In space exploration, even more than in other journeys, shedules are subject to change.

*February: Three Mars probes – Mars 2020, Tianwen-1 and Hope, launched in 2020 by America China and the United Arab Emirates respectively, are due to arrive at the red planet for orbital insertion. America ‘s Perseverance rover will then attempt to land on the surface (February 18th). China’s rover will attempt its own landing in April. Hope, designed to explore Mars atmosphere, should have arrived earlier on (February 9th).

*June-July: French astronaut Thomas Pesquet leaves for a second mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS)

*July: 1/ The Juno spacecraft completes a decade of missions and disintegrates in the giant planet's atmosphere. 2/ NASA launches the DART mission.

*September: Russia launches the second module of the International Space Station and expands the Russian sector and docking points in an effort to protect its lucrative monopoly on transporting astronauts to the ISS, which is increasingly challenged.

*October: 1/ Launch of the American Nova-C robotic landing module built by Intuitive Machines, a private company based in Houston, bound for the Moon. It transports material for NASA and other customers. 2/ Launch of the Russian lunar probe Lunar 25. 3/ Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit. It was initially scheduled to be deployed in 2007 at a cost of $500 millions. The bill is now estimated at $10 billions. It will replace the Hubble Space Telescope as the main U.S. space observatory in orbit. The European and Canadian space agencies are part of the project.

*November: NASA launches the first flight of its Space Launch System (SLS).

*December: The Indian Space Agency (ISRO) plans to launch its first manned space flight at the end of the month. A success would make India the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to successfully launch a manned flight.

Other events :

*China is expected to take a major step forward with the launch of the main module of its own station, Tiangong-3, which should be completed by 2025 and eventually replace the ISS, including the launch of the Wengtian space laboratory.

* In the field of heavy launchers, aiming at placing at least 20 metric tons into low orbit, Blue Origin, controlled by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, plans to launch its New Glenn rocket (up to 45 metric tons of payload, double the existing alternatives and a reusable first stage) while the first two flights of the Vulcan Centaur rocket of the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, should carry a lunar lander from Astrobotic and the spacecraft developed by Sierra Nevada Corp. The H3 launcher developed by the Japanese space agency JAXA is scheduled to make its first flight in 2021, while the Ariane 6 launcher, already postponed at the end of the year, has been delayed until 2022. After a year 2020 marked by the first test flight of its Starship, SpaceX's future reusable interplanetary spacecraft, Elon Musk plans to carry out further tests early this year, and a first prototype of the Falcon Heavy booster should also be deployed.

*Boeing hopes to send its first astronauts to the International Space Station in 2021 after failing to dock an unmanned flight in 2019.

*Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, could book its first tourist space flights in 2021.

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