Monday, December 27, 2021

2021 in space from NASA, ESA, and Reuters

As I wrote twice, "Here's to 2021 being another great year in space!" and "If all goes as NASA plans, it will be." NASA shows that it was in We Did Some Amazing Things This Year @ NASA – December 21, 2021.

2021 was the busiest year yet for NASA in low-Earth orbit, we also made progress preparing for a flight test around the Moon, and had a very active year exploring space, studying Earth, testing technologies for next generation aircraft, and much more. Here’s a look back at those and other things we did this year at NASA.
Congratulations to NASA, including on the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which occurred after the U.S. space agency uploaded this video. I plan on writing an entry about it next year, but I'm moving on to NASA's partner in this and other missions, the European Space Agency (ESA), which uploaded their own summary of their year in space, ESA highlights 2021.

We’re almost ready to say goodbye to 2021, a year in which ESA once more succeeded in continuing operations in a challenging global situation, and creating some important milestones in the field of European spaceflight. As always, ESA has been at the forefront of science, with several science missions en route to their destinations or being prepared for flight, such as BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, JUICE and ExoMars, and not least rounding off the year with the impending launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Europe’s Copernicus programme continues to be the largest Earth observation system in the world, and ESA is even preparing more Earth observation missions. In 2021, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet carried out his Alpha mission to the Space Station, and Matthias Maurer began his Cosmic Kiss mission, continuing into 2022. As we said farewell to Prof. Jan W├Ârner, a new Director General took the helm of ESA and we welcomed Dr Josef Aschbacher with his ambition to accelerate the use of space in Europe. Meanwhile, the latest Vega rocket flight has paved the way for the transition to Vega-C, and the new Ariane 6 launchpad was inaugurated.
In addition, the ESA is also involved in the Orion capsule and Artemis mission to return to the Moon and hopefully go on to Mars, another cooperative venture with NASA. May next year's mission help pave the way.

Organizations and people beyond the western space agencies also made news in space this year. Reuters captured some of that in 2021’s space exploration highlights.

NASA's Mars landing, billionaires in space, first Arab woman astronaut and more – here are some of the highlights in space exploration this year.
In addition to the billionaire space race, China, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates all made space news this year. Here's to 2022 being another great year in space for all participants!

Stay tuned as the retrospectives continue through New Year's Eve.

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