2021 Enviornment Calendar: SpaceX Starship tests, Mars rovers, China’s space dwelling and extra

2021 Enviornment Calendar: SpaceX Starship tests, Mars rovers, China’s space dwelling and extra

We’re already a quarter of the draw thru 2021 and, already, we have considered some indispensable achievements in space and science. Topping the list of cosmic wonders would must be NASA’s Perseverance rover touchdown on Mars in a 10/10 dive for the surface and returning some aesthetic pictures and fabulous sounds from the purple planet. 

With so well-known going on on Mars, you would possibly presumably presumably also just have ignored one of the largest space events going on nearer to home. We’re searching for to again.

To withhold you in the know, CNET launched the SPACE CALENDAR (all caps for dramatic cosmic stop) in 2020, covering the whole expansive rocket launches, attractive meteor showers, tale eclipses and even an assortment of scientific milestones. In 2021, we’re support at it again. It’s doubtless you’ll presumably well get the whole key dates for space missions below, with meteor showers and events and not using a date toward the bottom of the fragment.

Our repeatedly-updating Google calendar can even be synced alongside with your net calendar so you never circulate over an aspect. That broad button below? That is the draw you add it.

It’s doubtless you’ll presumably well moreover expend another calendar with this link, which can point out you are going to be in a position to get our calendar file and add it to a provider of your likelihood, be pleased Outlook.

There are many extra rocket launches each year than those listed below, however they’re so frequently subject to alternate that we have made up our minds to head away them off this expansive list. The completely advice is to repeatedly preserve an undercover agent on CNET’s Science net page and be a part of our space and science newsletter if you happen to be pleased to want to verify you are getting birth updates from the likes of SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Blue Starting up build. We are going to moreover endeavor to shift issues around on the Google calendar as soon as now we have knowledge, so preserve your eyes peeled.

This moreover capabilities as a living, respiratory fable of the year prior to now, too. Whilst you happen to be pleased to want to have interplay up on one of the expansive events that have already occurred, they’re all below in chronological issue.

Are we lacking anything? It’s doubtless you’ll presumably well electronic mail or tweet me with any evident omissions.

[Feb. 2] Starship SN9 take a look at explodes on touchdown

SN9 goes BANG.


Undergo in mind the fabulous explosion of SpaceX’s SN8 prototype in December? SpaceX considers that a success on its device to an fully fledged spacecraft that can to find to orbit and — at final — to Mars. In gradual 2020 or early 2021, Elon Musk’s spaceflight company expects to send the next numbered prototype on its draw. Its three highly efficient Raptor engines are attached and it has been wheeled onto the launchpad, so the prototype is seemingly to flit early in 2021.

The SN9 take a look at in the raze performed liftoff on Feb. 2, 2021 after SpaceX and the FAA traded barbs over birth safety waivers. It became as soon as another spectacular take a look at and, as you are going to be in a position to appear in the image above, it ended with another explosion. SN10 is vertical on the corporate’s Boca Chica facility — so it be seemingly to flit soon. Check support here and we are going to preserve you up prior to now.

[Feb. 9] Hope inserts itself into Mars’ orbit

The Hope probe (Al Amal) will circle Mars on a 55 day orbit, examining its atmosphere. 


The United Arab Emirates’ Hope (Al Amal) probe, which became as soon as launched in July 2020, performed a Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) on Feb. 9, slipping into the clutches of the purple planet’s gravity. The maneuver makes the UAE accurate the fifth nation to attain Mars, following the US, Russia, China and India. 

The orbiter will stare Mars from space and explore its atmosphere with a suite of three devices, including a excessive decision camera. True have interaction a undercover agent on the first portray from Hope to undercover agent what we are in a position to inquire of in future years.

Ought to know extra about the scramble to Mars for the UAE? Learn about it here.

[Feb. 10] Tianwen-1 arrives at Mars

Tianwen-1 on its device to Mars, hoping to make China the third nation to successfully land on the purple planet.

Chinese language Lunar Exploration Program

China’s Tianwen-1 (“Questions to Heaven”) spacecraft is carrying a Martian orbiter, lander and rover as cargo and made its net insertion accurate a day after Hope. The Chinese language mission is no longer going to release it be lander or rover right now to the surface. It be anticipated to release those autos at some point soon in Might well. 

The rover has a lifespan of around 92 days and Li Zhencai, deputy commander of the project, urged CCTV the mission shall be performed around “the stop of August.”

[Feb. 18] NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars

They did it again! On Feb. 18, NASA engineers and scientists infamous the advent of Perseverance on the purple planet. There had been memes aplenty and one particular engineer who captured folks’s hearts and minds.

It be space to be a huge year for Martian robots and namely, the search to search out signs of frail life on the purple planet. Along with Perseverance, China’s Tianwen-1 lander and rover will moreover be striking Mars dirt below the microscope — then again, it be no longer anticipated to the contact down till later in the year.

Extra:  NASA launches next Mars rover: Every little thing you would possibly know about Perseverance

[March 3] SN10 flies excessive, nails touchdown… then explodes

The SN10 … ahead of the explosion.


Third time looked as if it would be the allure for Musk’s Starship prototype. The rocket performed a shut to-finest birth and a beautiful worrisome touchdown support on the pad in Boca Chica, Texas, however about six minutes after touchdown it performed a secondary birth — this time precipitated by an explosion. Musk detailed the motive of the disasters a pair of days later: one of the internal substances made of copper had been burning all the device thru the spacecraft’s descent. That will not be a terrific signal. 

SpaceX will continue to take a look at Starship prototypes from Boca Chica all year lengthy, gearing up for the prototype’s first orbital flight doubtlessly ahead of 2022.

[March 30] SpaceX SN11 birth ends explosively, too

Fourth time’s a allure? Now not slightly for the SN11 Starship prototype. Pictured: SN10’s birth


Taking off all the device thru a foggy Texas morning, the Starship SN11 prototype met the the same stop as old Starships: Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly. This time, the explosion became as soon as precipitated by “a slightly little” methane leak on board the prototype, per SpaceX head honcho Musk

[March 2021] The Immense Hadron Collider powers up again

The Immense Hadron Collider will recommence operations in 2021.

Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

The Immense Hadron Collider, the ideally suited-vitality particle collider on this planet, has been powered down since Dec. 10, 2018. In March, scientists on the European Organization for Nuclear Learn (CERN) flicked it support on again.

The collider has been instrumental in testing predictions of theories in particle physics, including discovery of the Higgs boson, or the “God particle” (accurate don’t name it that in entrance of any particle physicists).

Its third observational dash or “Speed 3” must kick off in 2022, with a length of commissioning and magnet practising to to find issues up to scratch for examining the atomic world in March. This would possibly increasingly then be shut down in 2025 and upgraded again, for its fourth dash in 2027. I am striking this in a space calendar, because, physics is in each build. Let me have this one. It be cool.

[April 11] Ingenuity takes flight on Mars

Flying on Earth? Tiring, simple, routine, worn hat. Flying on Mars? Frigid, noteworthy, unusual, never been finished ahead of — however NASA’s Ingenuity rotorcraft goes to investigate cross-take a look at. The chopper became as soon as deposited on the surface of Mars by Perseverance in early April and will undercover agent to flit on the purple planet “no sooner than April 11.” If Ingenuity can have interaction to the skies of Mars, this would possibly be the first time we have flown a automobile on another planet. It be regarded as a “tech demonstration,” particular person that would also lead to further flights across the solar machine. 

[April 22] SpaceX Crew-2 launches to the ISS


SpaceX made historical past when it sent the first commercial crew to the International Enviornment Enviornment aboard Crew-1 in November 2020. On April 22, Crew-2 is anticipated to birth NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, plus ESA’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide. The capsule containing the astronauts shall be Crew Dragon Endeavour, which first flew astronauts to the ISS all the device thru SpaceX and NASA’s historical Demo-1 mission

[April] China launches first space dwelling module

The core module of the Chinese language Enviornment Enviornment will birth in April.


China will birth the first module of its planned orbital space dwelling in gradual April, per the country’s human spaceflight agency, CMSA. The module, identified as Tianhe-1 (“harmony of the heavens”), will energy the whole dwelling and is space to home a crew of three taikonauts on six month stints, well-known be pleased the International Enviornment Enviornment, when assembly is total. Practically a dozen missions shall be required to total the space dwelling in the approaching year and a half of.

China aims to birth it on a brand unusual generation rocket identified as the Prolonged March 5B, from Wenchang Satellite tv for pc Open Heart, in gradual April. Timing is serene to be announced, however when every person is aware of, we are going to substitute this put up.

[May?] China’s Tianwen-1 rover lands on Mars

An artist’s impression of the three spacecraft China will send to Mars in the approaching weeks.

Nature Astronomy

Tianwen-1, China’s triple threat mission to Mars, left Earth in July 2020 and is inserted itself into Mars orbit in February 2021. On the opposite hand, the Chinese language space program can also just no longer are trying a touchdown for about a months, with most estimates suggesting gradual April or early Might well for the historical match.

China goes expansive here — an orbiter will continue to circle the purple planet, and two spacecraft, a lander and a rover, shall be suggested to the surface. Mars is every now and then a truly point out-keen planet: It kills around half of of all spacecraft that are trying to land there, so it be a huge and dauntless mission for China’s space agency. This would possibly increasingly be in a position to perform on a gradual heritage of moon exploration then again, with its Chang’e probes reaching fabulous feats of space exploration in the final three years.

Extra:  China’s dauntless Tianwen-1 mission to Mars: Every little thing you would possibly know

[May 26] Entire Lunar Eclipse of the Flower Moon   

The beautifully named “huge blood wolf moon” of Jan. 20 and 21 became as soon as a stunner combining an whole lunar eclipse (blood) with January timing (wolf) and an especially huge appearance resulting from being nearer to the Earth (huge).

Richard Bell/Kalamazoo Mountainous Society

When the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, you uncover a lunar eclipse. When your total moon is shadowed, that is an whole lunar eclipse. And when there could be a full moon in Might well, it be identified as a “Flower Moon.” That is the draw you to find an whole lunar eclipse of the flower moon… and that is the explanation the first expansive celestial match of 2021. Now we have a helpful recordsdata for viewing eclipses here. We are going to present an even bigger substitute because it gets nearer to Might well.

[June 10] Ring of Fire eclipse 

Hundreds and thousands of folks across jap Asia and the western US had a huge opinion of the annular eclipse in 2020.

James Martin/CNET

The Johnny Cash eclipse, because it be affectionately identified by no person except myself, will happen over substances of the Northern Hemisphere on June 10. A ring of fire eclipse happens when the moon completely partially blocks sunlight hours, leaving a blinding ring of fire in the sky. Essentially the most latest eclipse (an “annular” eclipse, in scientific parlance) occurred in 2020 and it became as soon as spectacular. The completely locations to peep shall be across Russia, Canada and Greenland, however there shall be plenty of livestreams and locations to peep this one, we opt. We are going to lift you the whole crucial positive aspects because it gets nearer.

[July?] Boeing Starliner OFT-2 birth

The CST-100 Starliner lands support on US soil, airbags full.

NASA/Invoice Ingalls

The CST-100 Starliner, a cone-fashioned spacecraft designed to lift astronauts to the International Enviornment Enviornment as fragment of NASA’s Industrial Crew Program, has had its dazzling a part of united states of americaand downs. The first Orbital Flight Take a look at in December 2019 (wow, it became as soon as that lengthy prior to now?) skilled an “anomaly” with the spacecraft’s clock which intended it did no longer attain the ISS because it had supposed and, as an substitute, safely landed support in the desert two days later.

Boeing will now model a second uncrewed orbital flight take a look at to to find the Starliner in a position to lift crew. If all of it goes successfully, it goes to also pave the draw for astronauts to be launched internal the capsule later in the year. Fingers crossed.

[Oct. 2] BepiColombo flys past Mercury

BepiColombo will release an orbiter to zip around Mercury in 2025.


BepiColombo, a joint mission between the ESA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), had a reasonably expansive 2020. It became as soon as called into action because it performed a flyby of Venus to take a look at for signs of life in the greater atmosphere. In 2021, it performs its first flyby of its supposed destination — the planet Mercury. This would possibly be the first in a sequence of six flybys and culminate in the release of an orbiting craft that can video display Mercury from 2025. 

[Oct. 16] NASA’s Lucy launches on asteroid hunt

NASA’s Lucy will explore six asteroids over the approaching decade.


One of basically the most ambitious missions on NASA’s slate is identified as Lucy, which can are trying to focus on over with eight asteroids over the next decade. This would possibly be the first mission to stare the Trojans, a neighborhood of asteroids that path and lead Jupiter in orbit around the sun.

The mission is named after the fossilized stays of an ancestral human found in Ethiopia in 1974, which rewrote the historical past books on human evolution. NASA’s Lucy would possibly presumably stop up rewriting the historical past of the solar machine. The Trojans seemingly harbor clues to the muse of our solar machine and performance as time capsules, permitting scientists to price the ambiance of the solar machine’s earliest eons.

[Oct. 31] NASA’s James Webb Telescope launches

NASA engineer Ernie Wright prepares the first six flight-ready significant mediate segments of the James Webb Enviornment Telescope at NASA’s Marshall Enviornment Flight Heart.

NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham

A in particular spooky birth date for NASA’s lengthy-delayed next- generation space telescope. The planned successor to NASA’s workhorse Hubble, James Webb is a indispensable give a choose to to our capabilities in learning the early universe. Granted issues dart successfully, it’ll be in a position to undercover agent one of the earliest galaxies that ever fashioned.

However it has been a fight for the telescope to to find into space. It be now springing up to its 25th birthday and it hasn’t even obtained off the floor — with the pandemic setting it support even further. Granted this birth date holds, this would possibly presumably also be a expansive (and spooky) day for NASA. But another fingers crossed mission.

[November] NASA launches DART mission to atomize into an asteroid

NASA’s mission to atomize into an asteroid will allege “armageddon outta here” at some point soon between November 2021 and February 2022, because it heads toward space rock 68503 Didymos. The rock moreover has a smaller twin, identified as Dimorphos, which orbits it as its deepest moon. The “Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at” will atomize into this smaller asteroid (which is about as expansive as Egypt’s Immense Pyramid), after which another mission, led by the European Enviornment Agency for birth in 2024, will stare the influence crater and the device it modified Dimorphos’ orbit and properties.

If it works, NASA thinks the spacecraft can also shift the orbit of Dimorphos by around half of a millimeter per second. It doesn’t appear be pleased so much, however over time, that would also dramatically alter its orbital length. 

[Dec. 4] Darkness descends on Antarctica

The completely total eclipse of 2021 will happen over Antarctica.

Jonathan Ordonez/Getty

Whilst you happen to are one of the scattered wildlife that spends time in Antarctica (or maybe some lucky researchers), then you are going to be in a position to have interplay the completely total solar eclipse of 2021, when the moon blocks gentle from the sun over the frigid continent.

The next total solar eclipse after that would also no longer be till 2023 and this would possibly presumably well completely be visible in substances of Southeast Asia and Australia. The US will abilities an whole solar eclipse in 2024.

[January 2022?] Boeing Crewed Flight Take a look at

The principle crewed Starliner mission can also happen as early as June.


Equipped the entirety works out exactly as hoped in March, the first crewed take a look at flight of the Starliner can also head to the International Enviornment Enviornment in June. Comparable to SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in 2020, this would possibly be the final take a look at for Boeing’s spacecraft ahead of it turns into operational. A expansive success, must it to find there.

Artemis I is coming (maybe)

“Earth blue, rocket purple and lunar silver” is how NASA describes the colors routine in the emblem for the Artemis program. The logo pulls from the historical past of the Apollo program.


NASA’s belief to attain humans to the moon in 2024 positive aspects a sequence of missions below the Artemis banner. The very first Artemis mission, Artemis I, is scheduled to birth in 2021. The missions will expend a mountainous, unusual rocket identified as the Enviornment Open Plan, or SLS, which can lift an uncrewed spacecraft identified as Orion to lunar orbit.

NASA has discussed this one for November, however there would possibly be every likelihood this would possibly presumably well lope later than that and doubtlessly to 2022. If the mission succeeds, shall we glance Artemis II — with a human crew — birth in 2023.  

Will Chandrayaan-3 birth in 2021?

India launched Chandrayaan-2 to the moon in 2019, however a machine glitch precipitated a “noteworthy touchdown.”


In 2019, the Indian space agency, ISRO, tried to make historical past by becoming the fourth nation to delicate-land on the surface of the moon. Unfortunately, issues went awry. A machine glitch precipitated the spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2, to careen into the moon’s surface. The mission became as soon as designed to land on the lunar south pole, which can presumably had been a historical first. Practically as soon as Chandrayaan-2’s dejected ending came to gentle, India announced it will are trying again,with Chandrayaan-3.

The mission became as soon as slated to birth in 2020, however pandemic. Will it birth in 2021? That is what ISRO is taking pictures for.

Steve Brown grabbed this elegant time-lapse of celebrity trails all the device thru the Perseid meteor bathe.

Steve Brown

All year lengthy, CNET will have bespoke protection of when and simple solutions to have interplay every meteor bathe listed below. Whilst you happen to bookmark this net page, you are going to be in a position to accurate return here at your leisure — or, you need to unquestionably take a look at CNET for the latest on simple solutions to space meteors!

  • Quadrantids Dec. 27, 2020 – Jan. 10, 2021.

    Peak night time: Jan. 2 

Ought to peep the Quadrantids meteor bathe? Learn about that here.

  • Lyrids April 16 – April 30. 

    Peak night time: April 21

Ought to peep the Lyrids meteor bathe? Learn about that here.

  • Eta Aquariids April 19 – Might well 28.

    Peak night time: Might well 5

  • Perseids July 17 – Aug. 26.

    Peak night time:  Aug. 13

  • Draconids Oct. 6 – Oct. 10.

    Peak night time: Oct. 7

  • Orionids Oct. 2 – Nov. 7.

    Peak night time: Oct. 20

  • Leonids Nov. 6 – Nov. 30.

    Peak night time: Nov. 16

  • Geminids Dec. 4 – Dec. 17.

    Peak night time: Dec. 13

  • Ursids Dec. 17 – Dec. 26.

    Peak night time: Dec. 21

Learn extra: The device to undercover agent the year’s completely meteor showers: Every little thing you would possibly know

This net page is repeatedly up prior to now. 

Learn Extra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *