2021 House Calendar: SpaceX Starship tests, Mars rovers, China’s location space and more

We’re already a quarter of the design thru 2021 and, already, we now personal considered some unparalleled achievements in location and science. Topping the list of cosmic wonders would would maybe per chance per chance also objective aloof be NASA’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars in a 10/10 dive for the ground and returning some honest pictures and fabulous sounds from the purple planet. 

With so grand taking place on Mars, you would maybe per chance per chance also objective personal overlooked some of the largest location occasions taking place closer to dwelling. We want to aid.

To aid you in the know, CNET launched the SPACE CALENDAR (all caps for dramatic cosmic build) in 2020, overlaying your whole huge rocket launches, mesmerizing meteor showers, chronicle eclipses and even an assortment of scientific milestones. In 2021, we’re back the least bit of it over again. Yow will discover your whole key dates for location missions under, with meteor showers and occasions with out a date towards the underside of the share.

Our repeatedly-updating Google calendar will be synced alongside with your personal calendar so you never miss a reveal. That huge button under? That’s how you add it.

It’s doubtless you’ll per chance maybe also moreover narrate yet another calendar with this hyperlink, that can enable you to download our calendar file and add it to a provider of your various, like Outlook.

There are many more rocket launches every yr than those listed under, however they’re so in general area to alternate that we now personal determined to recede them off this huge list. One of the best recommendation is to repeatedly withhold an look for on CNET’s Science page and take a look at in for our location and science e-newsletter while you’re going to like to be obvious you are getting launch updates from the likes of SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Blue Starting do. We are going to moreover endeavor to shift issues around on the Google calendar as soon as we personal data, so withhold your eyes peeled.

This moreover capabilities as a dwelling, respiratory file of the yr to this point, too. Within the occasion you’re going to like to take up on some of the massive occasions which personal already took place, they’re all under in chronological expose.

Are we lacking something else? It’s doubtless you’ll per chance maybe also electronic mail or tweet me with any evident omissions.

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

SN9 goes BANG.


Take into accout the fabulous explosion of SpaceX’s SN8 prototype in December? SpaceX considers that a success on its design to an fully fledged spacecraft that can get to orbit and — at last — to Mars. In unhurried 2020 or early 2021, Elon Musk’s spaceflight firm expects to ship the next numbered prototype on its design. Its three highly effective Raptor engines are connected and it has been wheeled onto the launchpad, so the prototype is at threat of cruise early in 2021.

The SN9 take a look at lastly finished liftoff on Feb. 2, 2021 after SpaceX and the FAA traded barbs over launch safety waivers. It became as soon as yet another spectacular take a look at and, as you would maybe per chance per chance explore in the image above, it ended with yet another explosion. SN10 is vertical on the firm’s Boca Chica facility — so or no longer it’s at threat of cruise soon. Take a look at back here and we’ll withhold you updated.

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

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


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 lawful the fifth nation to be triumphant in Mars, following the US, Russia, China and India. 

The orbiter will take a look at out Mars from location and explore its ambiance with a suite of three devices, alongside side a high resolution camera. Appropriate rob a ogle on the first photo from Hope to analysis what we can ask in years to attain.

Have to know more about the streak to Mars for the UAE? Be taught about it here.

[Feb. 10] Tianwen-1 arrives at Mars

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

Chinese Lunar Exploration Program

China’s Tianwen-1 (“Questions to Heaven”) spacecraft is carrying a Martian orbiter, lander and rover as cargo and made its personal insertion lawful a day after Hope. The Chinese mission will no longer launch or no longer it’s lander or rover on to the ground. Or no longer it’s expected to launch those autos sometime in May per chance maybe objective. 

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

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

They did all of it over again! On Feb. 18, NASA engineers and scientists well-known the advent of Perseverance on the purple planet. There were memes aplenty and one explicit engineer who captured of us’s hearts and minds.

Or no longer it’s blueprint to be an a couple of yr for Martian robots and particularly, the quest to search out signs of musty lifestyles on the purple planet. Along side Perseverance, China’s Tianwen-1 lander and rover will moreover be inserting Mars dust under the microscope — nevertheless, or no longer it isn’t expected to contact down till later in the yr.

More:  NASA launches next Mars rover: All the pieces or no longer you need to know about Perseverance

[March 3] SN10 flies high, nails landing… then explodes

The SN10 … forward of the explosion.


Third time perceived to be the appeal for Musk’s Starship prototype. The rocket performed a shut to-wonderful launch and a rather worrisome landing back on the pad in Boca Chica, Texas, however about six minutes after landing it finished a secondary launch — this time ended in by an explosion. Musk detailed the clarification for the screw ups a few days later: some of the interior substances fabricated from copper were burning throughout the spacecraft’s descent. That’s never a correct signal. 

SpaceX will continue to take a look at Starship prototypes from Boca Chica all yr prolonged, gearing up for the prototype’s first orbital flight potentially forward of 2022.

[March 30] SpaceX SN11 launch ends explosively, too

Fourth time’s a appeal? No longer barely for the SN11 Starship prototype. Pictured: SN10’s launch


Taking off throughout a foggy Texas morning, the Starship SN11 prototype met the same stop as previous Starships: Immediate Unscheduled Disassembly. This time, the explosion became as soon as ended in by “a moderately minute” methane leak on board the prototype, in maintaining with SpaceX head honcho Musk

[March 2021] The Mountainous Hadron Collider powers up all over again

The Mountainous Hadron Collider will recommence operations in 2021.

Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Photos

The Mountainous Hadron Collider, the perfect-energy particle collider on the earth, has been powered down since Dec. 10, 2018. In March, scientists on the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) flicked it back on all over again.

The collider has been instrumental in testing predictions of theories in particle physics, alongside side discovery of the Higgs boson, or the “God particle” (lawful have confidence no longer name it that in entrance of any particle physicists).

Its third observational speed or “Flee 3” would maybe per chance per chance also objective aloof kick off in 2022, with a length of commissioning and magnet working towards to get issues up to scratch for inspecting the atomic world in March. It would maybe per chance per chance then be shut down in 2025 and upgraded all over again, for its fourth speed in 2027. I am inserting this in a location calendar, attributable to, physics is in each do. Let me personal this one. Or no longer it’s frigid.

[April 11] Ingenuity takes flight on Mars

Flying on Earth? Tiring, easy, routine, musty hat. Flying on Mars? Frigid, exhausting, fresh, never been done forward of — however NASA’s Ingenuity rotorcraft goes to take a personal a examine. The chopper became as soon as deposited on the ground of Mars by Perseverance in early April and will ogle to cruise on the purple planet “no earlier than April 11.” If Ingenuity can rob to the skies of Mars, this would possibly per chance per chance also be the first time we now personal flown a car on yet another planet. Or no longer it’s regarded as a “tech demonstration,” one which would maybe per chance per chance also lead to further flights across the photo voltaic machine. 

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


SpaceX made historical previous when it despatched the first business crew to the World House Space aboard Crew-1 in November 2020. On April 22, Crew-2 is anticipated to launch NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, plus ESA’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide. The pill containing the astronauts will be Crew Dragon Endeavour, which first flew astronauts to the ISS throughout SpaceX and NASA’s ancient Demo-1 mission

[April] China launches first location space module

The core module of the Chinese House Space will launch in April.


China will launch the first module of its planned orbital location space in unhurried April, in maintaining with the country’s human spaceflight company, CMSA. The module, identified as Tianhe-1 (“harmony of the heavens”), will strength the total space and is determined to dwelling a crew of three taikonauts on six month stints, grand just like the World House Space, when meeting is total. Practically a dozen missions will be required to total the placement space in the arrival yr and a half.

China targets to launch it on a brand fresh generation rocket identified as the Lengthy March 5B, from Wenchang Satellite Commence Heart, in unhurried April. Timing is aloof to be announced, however when all people is aware of, we’ll change this post.

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

An artist’s influence of the three spacecraft China will ship to Mars in the arrival 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. Then all over again, the Chinese location program is no longer going to strive a landing for a few months, with most estimates suggesting unhurried April or early May per chance maybe only for the ancient tournament.

China goes huge here — an orbiter will continue to circle the purple planet, and two spacecraft, a lander and a rover, will be suggested to the ground. Mars is on the total a extremely indicate-piquant planet: It kills around half of all spacecraft that strive to land there, so or no longer it’s an a couple of and plucky mission for China’s location company. It would maybe per chance per chance be ready to fabricate on a actual heritage of moon exploration nevertheless, with its Chang’e probes attaining fabulous feats of location exploration in the last three years.

More:  China’s plucky Tianwen-1 mission to Mars: All the pieces or no longer you need to know

[May 26] Full Lunar Eclipse of the Flower Moon   

The fantastically named “mammoth blood wolf moon” of Jan. 20 and 21 became as soon as a stunner combining a full lunar eclipse (blood) with January timing (wolf) and an extremely mammoth look attributable to being closer to the Earth (mammoth).

Richard Bell/Kalamazoo Broad Society

When the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, you get a lunar eclipse. When the total moon is shadowed, that’s a full lunar eclipse. And when there’s a full moon in May per chance maybe objective, or no longer it’s identified as a “Flower Moon.” That’s how you get a full lunar eclipse of the flower moon… and that’s the reason the first huge celestial tournament of 2021. We personal a at hand e book for viewing eclipses here. We are going to present a bigger change as it will catch up with to May per chance maybe objective.

[June 10] Ring of Fire eclipse 

Hundreds and hundreds of of us across eastern Asia and the western US had a immense watch of the annular eclipse in 2020.

James Martin/CNET

The Johnny Cash eclipse, as or no longer it’s affectionately identified by nobody other than myself, will happen over substances of the Northern Hemisphere on June 10. A hoop of fire eclipse happens when the moon handiest in part blocks sunlight, leaving a wonderful ring of fire in the sky. The most demonstrate eclipse (an “annular” eclipse, in scientific parlance) took place in 2020 and it became as soon as spectacular. One of the best areas to peep will be across Russia, Canada and Greenland, however there will be a couple of livestreams and areas to peep this one, we settle. We are going to bring you your whole minute print as it will catch up with.

[July?] Boeing Starliner OFT-2 launch

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

NASA/Invoice Ingalls

The CST-100 Starliner, a cone-fashioned spacecraft designed to elevate astronauts to the World House Space as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, has had its honest piece of u.s.a.and downs. The first Orbital Flight Take a look at in December 2019 (wow, it became as soon as that design back?) experienced an “anomaly” with the spacecraft’s clock which meant it did no longer attain the ISS as it had intended and, in its do, safely landed back in the desolate tract two days later.

Boeing will now enjoy a 2d uncrewed orbital flight take a look at to get the Starliner ready to elevate crew. If all of it goes successfully, it would maybe per chance per chance also pave the design for astronauts to be launched internal the pill later in the yr. Fingers crossed.

[Oct. 2] BepiColombo flys previous Mercury

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


BepiColombo, a joint mission between the ESA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), had a barely large 2020. It became as soon as called into movement as it performed a flyby of Venus to take a look at for signs of lifestyles in the upper ambiance. In 2021, it performs its first flyby of its intended vacation location — the planet Mercury. It would maybe per chance per chance be the first in a series of six flybys and culminate in the launch 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 arrival decade.


Surely some of the plucky missions on NASA’s slate is identified as Lucy, that can strive to check with with eight asteroids over the next decade. It would maybe per chance per chance be the first mission to gape the Trojans, a bunch of asteroids that hunch and lead Jupiter in orbit around the solar.

The mission is named after the fossilized remains of an ancestral human found in Ethiopia in 1974, which rewrote the historical previous books on human evolution. NASA’s Lucy would maybe per chance per chance stop up rewriting the historical previous of the photo voltaic machine. The Trojans likely harbor clues to the starting do of our photo voltaic machine and performance as time capsules, allowing scientists to have confidence the ambiance of the photo voltaic machine’s earliest eons.

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

NASA engineer Ernie Wright prepares the first six flight-ready main replicate segments of the James Webb House Telescope at NASA’s Marshall House Flight Heart.

NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham

A in particular spooky launch date for NASA’s prolonged-delayed next- generation location telescope. The planned successor to NASA’s workhorse Hubble, James Webb is a important toughen to our capabilities in studying the early universe. Granted issues lumber well, it would maybe per chance per chance also objective aloof be ready to analysis some of the earliest galaxies that ever fashioned.

However it has been a fight for the telescope to get into location. Or no longer it’s now organising to its 25th birthday and it hasn’t even bought off the ground — with the pandemic atmosphere it back even further. Granted this launch date holds, this would possibly per chance per chance also be a huge (and spooky) day for NASA. One more fingers crossed mission.

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

NASA’s mission to fracture into an asteroid will notify “armageddon outta here” sometime between November 2021 and February 2022, as it heads towards location rock 68503 Didymos. The rock moreover has a smaller twin, identified as Dimorphos, which orbits it as its personal moon. The “Double Asteroid Redirection Take a look at” will fracture into this smaller asteroid (which is ready as huge as Egypt’s Broad Pyramid), after which yet another mission, led by the European House Agency for launch in 2024, will gape the influence crater and the design it modified Dimorphos’ orbit and properties.

If it in actuality works, NASA thinks the spacecraft would maybe per chance per chance also shift the orbit of Dimorphos by around half a millimeter per 2d. It doesn’t seem like loads, however over time, that would maybe per chance per chance also dramatically alter its orbital length. 

[Dec. 4] Darkness descends on Antarctica

The ideal complete eclipse of 2021 will happen over Antarctica.

Jonathan Ordonez/Getty

Within the occasion you are some of the scattered wildlife that spends time in Antarctica (or maybe some lucky researchers), then you definately can take the most convenient complete photo voltaic eclipse of 2021, when the moon blocks light from the solar over the frigid continent.

The next complete photo voltaic eclipse after that is no longer going to be till 2023 and this would possibly per chance maybe also objective handiest be considered in substances of Southeast Asia and Australia. The US will abilities a full photo voltaic eclipse in 2024.

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

The major crewed Starliner mission would maybe per chance per chance also happen as early as June.


Supplied every thing works out exactly as hoped in March, the first crewed take a look at flight of the Starliner would maybe per chance per chance also head to the World House Space in June. Identical to SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in 2020, this would possibly per chance per chance be the last take a look at for Boeing’s spacecraft forward of it turns into operational. A huge fulfillment, would maybe per chance per chance also objective aloof it get there.

Artemis I is coming (maybe)

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


NASA’s belief to attain humans to the moon in 2024 contains a series of missions under the Artemis banner. The very first Artemis mission, Artemis I, is scheduled to launch in 2021. The missions will narrate a substantial, fresh rocket identified as the House Commence Plan, or SLS, that can elevate an uncrewed spacecraft identified as Orion to lunar orbit.

NASA has talked about this one for November, however there’s every likelihood this would possibly per chance maybe also objective trip later than that and potentially to 2022. If the mission succeeds, shall we explore Artemis II — with a human crew — launch in 2023.  

Will Chandrayaan-3 launch in 2021?

India launched Chandrayaan-2 to the moon in 2019, however a software glitch ended in a “exhausting landing.”


In 2019, the Indian location company, ISRO, tried to get historical previous by becoming the fourth nation to soft-land on the ground of the moon. Unfortunately, issues went awry. A software glitch ended in the spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2, to careen into the moon’s floor. The mission became as soon as designed to land on the lunar south pole, which would were a ancient first. Practically as soon as Chandrayaan-2’s unhappy ending came to light, India announced it would try all over again,with Chandrayaan-3.

The mission became as soon as slated to launch in 2020, however pandemic. Will it launch in 2021? That’s what ISRO is shooting for.

Steve Brown grabbed this comely time-lapse of star trails throughout the Perseid meteor shower.

Steve Brown

All the design thru the yr, CNET would maybe per chance personal bespoke protection of when and the categorical design to take every meteor shower listed under. Within the occasion you bookmark this page, you would maybe per chance per chance lawful return here at your leisure — or, rob into consideration to take a look at CNET for the most up-to-date on the categorical design to location meteors!

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

    Peak night: Jan. 2 

Have to peep the Quadrantids meteor shower? Be taught about that here.

  • Lyrids April 16 – April 30. 

    Peak night: April 21

Have to peep the Lyrids meteor shower? Be taught about that here.

  • Eta Aquariids April 19 – May per chance maybe objective 28.

    Peak night: May per chance maybe objective 5

  • Perseids July 17 – Aug. 26.

    Peak night:  Aug. 13

  • Draconids Oct. 6 – Oct. 10.

    Peak night: Oct. 7

  • Orionids Oct. 2 – Nov. 7.

    Peak night: Oct. 20

  • Leonids Nov. 6 – Nov. 30.

    Peak night: Nov. 16

  • Geminids Dec. 4 – Dec. 17.

    Peak night: Dec. 13

  • Ursids Dec. 17 – Dec. 26.

    Peak night: Dec. 21

Be taught more: How one can examine the yr’s simplest meteor showers: All the pieces or no longer you need to know

This page is repeatedly updated. 

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