Skip to main content

Space calendar 2021: Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more!

LAST UPDATED Oct. 22: 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 are collected from NASA, ESA, RoscosmosSpaceflight Now and others.

Watch NASA webcasts and other live launch coverage on our webcast page. 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!

October

Oct. 24: Mercury at greatest elongation west. The innermost planet will reach its greatest western separation from the sun, shining brightly at magnitude -0.6. Catch the elusive planet above the eastern horizon shortly before sunrise. The following day (Oct. 25) Mercury will reach its highest point in the morning sky.

Oct. 24: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will use an H-2A rocket to launch a replacement satellite for the country's Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, a regional GPS system. Dubbed QZS 1R, the satellite will lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center during a one-hour launch window that opens at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 Oct. 25 GMT).

Oct. 27: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 79 cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 Oct. 28 GMT).

Oct. 28: Astra will use its Rocket 3 to launch a test payload for the U.S. Space Force  and the Space Test Program. It will lift off from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, during a 3.5-hour launch window that opens at 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT).

Oct. 31: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Crew-3 mission, the third operational astronaut flight to the International Space Station. On board will be NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT), and the Crew Dragon will dock with the space station on Nov. 1.

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

  • Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch the SES 17 and Syracuse 4A communications satellites from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana, during a 2.5-hour launch window that opens at 9:01 p.m. EDT (0101 GMT). The mission was delayed from Oct. 22 to allow for additional ground checks.
  • A Chinese Kuaizhou 1A rocket will launch a Gaofen satellite to join the Jilin 1 Earth observation constellation. It will lift off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.  
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket may launch 51 satellites for the company's Starlink broadband internet constellation. It will lift off from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Space Force Station in California.

November

Nov. 2-3: The annual South Taurid meteor shower peaks overnight. Active from mid-September to mid-November, the Southern Taurids rarely produce more than five visible meteors per hour, but the nearly-new moon should make them easier to spot against a dark sky. 

Nov. 4: The new moon arrives at 5:15 p.m. EDT (2115 GMT).

Nov. 4: Uranus is at opposition, meaning it will appear at its biggest and brightest of the year. Shining at magnitude 5.7, the planet will be visible all night long in the constellation Aries. Uranus may be visible to the naked eye from dark locations but is best seen through a telescope or binoculars. 

Nov. 7: Daylight Saving Time ends. Turn your clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. local time. 

Nov. 8: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 1 degree to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. Skywatchers in parts of Eastern Asia will see the moon occult Venus, meaning it will briefly pass in front of the planet, blocking it from sight.

Nov. 10: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 

Nov. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The first-quarter moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky.

Nov. 11: Rocket Lab will use an Electron rocket to launch two Earth observation satellites for the Seattle-based company BlackSky Global. The mission, nicknamed "Love At First Insight," will lift off from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. 

Nov. 11-12: The annual North Taurid meteor shower peaks overnight. The shower, which is active from late October to mid-December, is not expected to produce more than a handful of visible "shooting stars" per hour.

Nov. 16-17: One of the most anticipated meteor showers of the year, the Leonid meteor shower peaks overnight. The Leonids are expected to produce about 15 meteors per hour on the night of the peak, but the shower is active all month long. 

Nov. 18: SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 rocket to launch the second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG-2) radar surveillance satellite for the Italian space agency. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Florida, at 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT).

Nov. 19: The full moon of November, known as the Full Beaver Moon, occurs at 3:58 a.m. EST (0858 GMT). 

Nov. 19: A partial lunar eclipse will be visible from North and South America, Australia, and parts of Europe and Asia. The moon will enter Earth's faint outer shadow, known as the penumbra, at 1:02 a.m. EST (0602 GMT). The partial eclipse, when the moon will darken more noticeably, begins at 2:18 a.m. EST (0718 GMT). Maximum eclipse occurs at 4:02 a.m. EST (0902 GMT). The entire event will last about six hours. 

Nov. 22: 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 Space Force Station in Florida.

Nov. 24: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, at 1:20 a.m. EST (0620 GMT).

Nov. 24: Russia will use a Soyuz rocket to launch a new module to the International Space Station. The Uzlovoy Module, also known as Prichal, will dock with Russia's Nauka science module and will serve as a docking port for Russian vehicles. The mission will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

Nov. 27: Rocket Lab will use an Electron rocket to launch two Earth observation satellites for the Seattle-based company BlackSky Global. The mission will lift off from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

Nov. 30: An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch two satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation constellation. It will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana, at 7:35 p.m. EST (0035 Dec. 1 GMT).

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

  • An Arianespace Vega rocket will launch three CERES satellites for the French military. (CERES stands for "Capacité de Renseignement d’origine Electromagnétique Spatiale," which translates to "Intelligence Capacity of Space Electromagnetic Origin.") The mission will lift off from the Guiana Spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana.

December

Dec. 4: The only total solar eclipse of the year (and the last total solar eclipse until 2023) will be visible from Antarctica. Skywatchers in South Africa, Namibia, the southern tip of South America and some islands in the South Atlantic will be able to see at least a partial solar eclipse, with the moon blocking a portion of the sun from view. 

Dec. 4: The new moon arrives at 2:44 a.m. EST (0744 GMT).

Dec. 6: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 2 degrees to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset.

Dec. 7: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 

Dec. 8: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Soyuz MS-20 crew capsule to the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and video producer Yozo Hirano. 

Dec. 9: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky.

Dec. 9: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, during a 90-minute launch window that opens at 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT).

Dec. 13-14: The annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the best meteor showers of the year, peaks overnight. The Geminids are active Dec. 4-17 often produce up to 50 visible meteors per hours, but this year the 78% full moon will outshine the fainter meteors. 

Dec. 18: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to lift off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana at 7:10 a.m. EST (1210 GMT), on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. 

Dec. 18: The full moon of December, known as the Full Cold Moon, occurs at 11:37 p.m. EST (0437 Dec. 19 GMT).

Dec. 21: The solstice arrives at 10:59 a.m. EST (1559 GMT), marking the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Dec. 21: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-24) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Dec. 21-22: The annual Ursid meteor shower peaks overnight. Typically active around Dec. 17-26, the Ursids produce about five to 10 visible meteors per hour on the morning of the peak.

Dec. 27: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 12, will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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

  • Russia's Angara-A5 rocket will launch on its third orbital test flight, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. 
  • A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch the Inmarsat 6 F1 communications satellites from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. 

More coming in 2021...

TBD: India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will launch the Indian RISAT 1A radar Earth observation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

Q4: India's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch on its first orbital test flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The mission was delayed from April 2021.

Q4: India's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch its first commercial mission with four Earth observation satellites for the Seattle-based company BlackSky Global. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

Q4: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Turksat 5B communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

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.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos. 

  • 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
  • EdnRno
    first time at your site - Great!
    You might check your Jan 2 comment "perihelion" - pretty sure it's "closest" to the sun. My mnemonic was always "pretty close"/ counterintuitive for during our "winter" . Thanks.

    "Jan. 2: Happy perihelion day! Earth is farthest from the sun today. "
    Reply
  • rel
    Need clarification of time zones....
    In the calendar on Jan 6 states "10:10 a.m. EST (1410 GMT)."
    10:10am EST is NOT 1410GMT! This needs to be corrected

    Likewise Jan 11th 9:25 a.m. EST (1325 GMT) also needs to be corrected.
    Reply
  • badhack
    Is this 2021 calendar available as a google calendar (or even a cal file)? NYTimes has one but this one is so much more complete. That would be super cool!
    Reply
  • yohandz007
    badhack said:
    Is this 2021 calendar available as a google calendar (or even a cal file)? NYTimes has one but this one is so much more complete. That would be super cool!
    https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=N2J0bXBwZ205czFvN25nb2Y4bzh1OW9zZmNAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQSince there is no calendar, I made one for my self on Google Calendar. You can use it too. I have not completed it yet, but I will in a few days.
    Reply
  • badhack
    yohandz007 said:
    https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=N2J0bXBwZ205czFvN25nb2Y4bzh1OW9zZmNAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQSince there is no calendar, I made one for my self on Google Calendar. You can use it too. I have not completed it yet, but I will in a few days.

    Awesome thank you very much yohandz007. btw your calendar is not public but I sent a request.
    Reply
  • Marin Tomuta
    Equinox is the mid-day of spring ppl! Equinox is in the middle at the equator, therefore it is the middle of spring. Isn't it?
    Am I the only on who thinks the equinox is mid-Spring/mid-Autumn and not the first day of? I mean its kind of a bit of a difference. Its the 1st day of the Sun shining at 90° at the equator and soon to be in northern hemisphere.
    Otherwise how would the summer solstice, being the longest day of the year not be the middle of summer? Summer begins when daylight starts to wane? No. It begins 1.5 moons before the solstice/equinox. 1st day of spring was 03Feb. I confirmed it by noticing plants flowering!
    Reply
  • Marin Tomuta
    Marin Tomuta said:
    Equinox is the mid-day of spring ppl! Equinox is in the middle at the equator, therefore it is the middle of spring. Isn't it?
    Am I the only on who thinks the equinox is mid-Spring/mid-Autumn and not the first day of? I mean its kind of a bit of a difference. Its the 1st day of the Sun shining at 90° at the equator and soon to be in northern hemisphere.
    Otherwise how would the summer solstice, being the longest day of the year not be the middle of summer? Summer begins when daylight starts to wane? No. It begins 1.5 moons before the solstice/equinox. 1st day of spring was 03Feb. I confirmed it by noticing plants flowering!
    I am at 33.8°N 118°W. Thats why flowers bloomed so early.
    On Northern Vernal Equinox Day, if one is at the North Pole, it is the 1st day of Spring; but if one is at the equator its the middle of Summer. Wherever the dynamic equator is, there its the midSummer. So when its the Northern Summer Solstice, its midSummer at the tropic of Cancer all the way up to the North Pole. I'm thinking the July/August heatwave is just that as the climate/solar wind folds onto itself as the dynamic equator moves South, as Earth reaches Aphelion.

    So, it all depends where one is located on Earth in relation to the Sun that determines actual 1st days of seasons.
    Hardly anyone lives at the North Pole. Not even Santa, I think. Most diverse biota are located within the tropics.
    Plz, no development within the Tropics! Plz, keep it natural. Thank you. 🙏
    Reply
  • darrenwebster
    yohandz007 said:
    https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=N2J0bXBwZ205czFvN25nb2Y4bzh1OW9zZmNAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQSince there is no calendar, I made one for my self on Google Calendar. You can use it too. I have not completed it yet, but I will in a few days.


    yohandz007 said:
    https://calendar.google.com/calendar/u/0?cid=N2J0bXBwZ205czFvN25nb2Y4bzh1OW9zZmNAZ3JvdXAuY2FsZW5kYXIuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbQSince there is no calendar, I made one for my self on Google Calendar. You can use it too. I have not completed it yet, but I will in a few days.

    Hey, I hope you’re well. Is the calendar still available? I tried adding the calendar using the url and it says it doesn’t exist.
    Reply