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Space calendar 2020: Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more!

LAST UPDATED Dec. 2: These dates are subject to change, and will be updated throughout the year as firmer dates arise. Please DO NOT schedule travel based on a date you see here. Launch dates collected from NASA, ESA, RoscosmosSpaceflight Now and others.

Watch NASA webcasts and other live launch coverage on our "Watch Live" page, and see our night sky webcasts here. Find out what's up in the night sky this month with our visible planets guide and skywatching forecast

Wondering what happened today in space history? Check out our "On This Day in Space" video show here!

December

Dec. 2: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch three Gonets M communications satellites from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, at 8:14 p.m. EST (0114 Dec. 3 GMT).

Dec. 5: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-21) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST (1639 GMT), and it will arrive at the space station Dec. 6 at 11:30 a.m. EST (0430 GMT). Watch it live

Dec. 9: The 8th meeting of the National Space Council will air live on NASA TV, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch it live

Dec. 10: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SXM 7 satellite for SiriusXM. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, during a 2-hour launch window that opens at 11:19 a.m. EST (1619 GMT). Watch it live

Dec. 10: A Chinese Long March 11 rocket will launch the Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM) mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China.

Dec. 11: A Russian Angara-A5 rocket will launch on its second orbital test flight from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, at 12:22 a.m. EST (0522 GMT).

Dec. 12: A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch the StriX-α synthetic aperture radar satellite for the Japanese Earth-imaging company Synspective. The mission, nicknamd "Owl's Night Begins," will lift off from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, at 4:00-5:59 a.m. EST (0900-1059 GMT). Watch it live

Dec. 13-14: The Geminid meteor shower peaks. 

Dec. 14: The only total solar eclipse of 2020 will cross through the southern tip of South America. The moon's shadow will take a similar path to the one it did for the "Great South American Eclipse" of July 2, 2019. 

Dec. 14: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will use a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C50) to launch the CMS 1 communications satellite. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, at approximately 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT).

Dec. 16: Northrop Grumman's Cygnus CRS-14 cargo resupply spacecraft will depart the International Space Station and burn up in Earth's atmosphere. It is scheduled to be released from the station at 10:35 a.m. EST (1535 GMT), and NASA will broadcast live coverage beginning about 15 minutes before its departure. Watch it live

Dec. 16/17: The waxing crescent moon will be in conjunction with Jupiter at 11:30 p.m. EST (0430 GMT on Dec. 17). A few hours later on Dec. 17, it will be in conjunction with Saturn at 12:20 a.m. EST (0520 GMT). Look for the trio near the southwestern horizon just after sunset.

Dec. 17: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch approximately 36 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb constellation of communications satellites. The mission, titled OneWeb 4, will launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

Dec. 19: Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket will launch the ELaNa-20 rideshare mission with 14 cubesats. A Boeing 747 named "Cosmic Girl" will air-launch the rocket over the Pacific Ocean after taking off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. It will lift off during a 4-hour launch window that opens at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT). 

Dec. 20: China will launch a Long March 8 rocket on its inaugural flight. It will lift off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in China's Hainan province, carrying a secret payload designated "XJY 7."

Dec. 21: The solstice arrives at 4:47 a.m. EST (0947 GMT), marking the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Dec. 21: Jupiter and Saturn will make a close approach in the evening sky — so close that they might even appear as a single "star" in the sky! The pair will be in conjunction at 8:24 a.m. EST (1324 GMT). Known as the "Great Conjunction," this will be the closest approach of the two planets since 1623 and offers a rare, once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the two planets within the same telescopic field of view. 

Dec. 21-22: The Ursid meteor shower peaks.

Dec. 23: The waxing, gibbous moon will be in conjunction with Mars at 1:31 p.m. EST (1831 GMT). Look for the pair above the eastern horizon after sunset. 

Dec. 28: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch the second Composante Spatiale Optique (CSO-2) military reconnaissance satellite for the French space agency CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Watch it live

Dec. 29: The full moon of December, also known as the Cold Moon, occurs at 10:28 p.m. EST (0328 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in December (from Spaceflight Now):

  • India's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch on its first orbital test flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
  • A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The NROL-44 mission will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Turksat 5A communications satellite for the Turkish satellite operator Turksat. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a classified spacecraft payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, designated NROL-108, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

January 2021

Jan. 2: Happy perihelion day! Earth is farthest from the sun today. 

Jan. 2-3: The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks.

Jan. 28: The Full Wolf Moon arrives at 2:16 p.m. EST (1916 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in January (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on its second uncrewed mission to the International Space Station, following a partial failure in December 2019. The Orbital Flight Test 2 mission will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Transporter 1 rideshare mission with dozens of tiny satellites for commercial and government customers. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

February 2021

Feb. 1: Northrop Grumman will use an Antares rocket to launch the Cygnus NG-15 cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Feb. 15: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 77P cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kasakhstan. Watch it live

Feb. 27: The Full Snow Moon arrives at 3:17 a.m. EST (0817 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in February (from Spaceflight Now):

  • An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV18, will launch the Pléiades Neo 1 Earth observation satellite for Airbus and multiple rideshare payloads. The mission will lift off from the Guiana Spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana.
  • Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA254, to launch the Star One D2 and Eutelsat Quantum communications satellites from the Guiana Spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the STP-3 rideshare mission for the U.S. Space Force. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

March 2021

March 20: Vernal Equinox. Today marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

March 14: Daylight Saving Time begins. Turn your clocks forward one hour at 2 a.m. local time. 

March 28: The Full Worm Moon arrives at 2:48 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT).

March 30: SpaceX will launch the second operational flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Flying on the Crew-2 mission will be NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Also scheduled to launch in March (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. It will lift off from Pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.
  • A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the USSF-8 mission for the Space Force's Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). It will lift off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-22) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

April 2021

April 10: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to the International Space Station with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov and Andrei Borisenko. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

April 21-22: The Lyrid meteor shower peaks.

April 26: The Full Pink Moon arrives at 11:32 p.m. EDT (0332 April 27 GMT).

May 2021

May 4-5: The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks. 

May 26: The Full Flower Moon arrives at 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT). A total lunar eclipse, also known as a "Blood Moon," will be visible from Australia, parts of the western United States, western South America and Southeast Asia.

Also scheduled to launch in March (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-22) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

June 2021

June 10: An annular solar eclipse, also known as a "ring of fire" eclipse, will be visible from parts of Russia, Greenland and and northern Canada. Skywatchers in Northern Asia, Europe and the United States will see a partial eclipse.

June 20: The solstice arrives at 11:16 p.m. EDT (0316 June 21 GMT), marking the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. 

June 24: The Full Strawberry Moon arrives at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1940 GMT).

Also scheduled to launch in June (from Spaceflight Now):

  • Boeing plans to launch the first crewed test flight of its Starliner spacecraft, which will send Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann to the International Space Station on an Atlas V rocket. The mission will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

More coming in 2021...

Q1: A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its first mission from a new launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. It will launch an experimental mission for the U.S. Air Force's Space Test Program called Monolith, which carries a space weather instrument.

Early 2021: A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The mission, titled NROL-82, will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Q2: A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the USSF-44 mission for the U.S. Air Force. The mission will lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is expected to deploy two undisclosed payloads into geosynchronous orbit.

Q2: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the U.S. military's fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite, or SBIRS GEO 5, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Mid-2021: An Arianespace Vega C rocket will launch the LARES 2 satellite for the Italian space agency. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana. 

Mid-2021: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 78P cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Please send any corrections, updates or suggested calendar additions to hweitering@space.com. Follow Space.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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  • Gordon Jenkins
    Dead, Weak, or Incapacitated Dictators don't launch missiles. Has Kim Jong-Un ordered the launch of any rockets out of NK in May 2020? Does he have a Limp Missile Problem? Does NK Plan to prove that Kim Jong-Un is still alive by launching 2 or 3 rockets out of NK? Is there anything to show Proof of Life of Little Rocket Man and that he has Proof of Command and Control of NK Nuclear Assets or has China taken Total Control of All NK Nuclear Assets? Fireworks from NK would be nice to see, as strange at that sounds.
    Reply
  • Christmom3
    Admin said:
    Here's a LhZJPyDGPmMNxwDMmG4D8Se to SpaceX's launch schedule, other rocket missions, astronomical events of the next year, as well as milestones for spacecraft already in travel.

    Space Launch Calendar 2019: Sky Events, Missions & More : Read more
    May you please post a link to the 2020 space launch calendar? Thanks so much
    Reply
  • Wolfshadw
    Christmom3 said:
    May you please post a link to the 2020 space launch calendar? Thanks so much

    The article was updated on 7-31-20 to list upcoming events through the end of 2020.

    -Wolf sends
    Reply