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

LAST UPDATED Aug. 1: 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 "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!

August

Aug. 2: Saturn at opposition. The ringed planet will be directly opposite the sun in Earth's sky around the same time that it makes its closest approach to Earth all year. This means it will appear at its biggest and brightest of the year. Saturn will reach its highest point in the night sky around midnight. 

Aug. 3: Starliner OFT-2: 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 (OFT-2) mission will lift off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, at 1:20 p.m. EDT (1720 GMT). Starliner will dock with the space station on Wednesday (Aug. 4) at approximately 1:37 p.m. EDT (1737 GMT). Watch it live

Aug. 8: The new moon arrives at 9:50 a.m. EDT (1350 GMT).

Aug. 10: A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch the Cygnus NG-16 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia, at 5:55 p.m. EDT (2155 GMT). Watch it live

Aug. 10: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch another batch of Starlink internet satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Aug. 11: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 4 degrees to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. 

Aug. 11-12: The annual Perseid meteor shower, which is active from mid-July to the end of August, peaks overnight. 

Aug. 15: An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV19, will launch the Pléiades Neo 4 Earth observation satellite for Airbus. The mission will lift off from the Guiana Spaceport near Kourou, French Guiana, at 9:50 p.m. EDT (0150 Aug. 16 GMT). Watch it live

Aug. 19: Jupiter at opposition. The gas giant will be directly opposite the sun in Earth's sky around the same time that it makes its closest approach to Earth of the year. The planet will shine at its biggest and brightest tonight and will be visible all night long. 

Aug. 20: Arianespace will use a Soyuz rocket to launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 9, will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Watch it live

Aug. 20: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing gibbous moon will swing about 3 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 

Aug. 22: The full moon of August, known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, occurs at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT). This will also be a so-called "Blue Moon" because it is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. 

Aug. 22: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The Blue Sturgeon moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the night sky. 

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

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-23) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch it live

September

Sept. 3: Mercury reaches its highest point in the evening sky. Shining at magnitude 0.1, the innermost planet will be barely visible above the western horizon at sunset.

Sept. 6: The new moon arrives at 8:52 p.m. EDT (0052 Sept. 7 GMT).

Sept. 9: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 4 degrees to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. 

Sept. 13: Mercury at greatest elongation east. The innermost planet will reach its greatest eastern separation from the sun, shining brightly at magnitude 0.1. Catch the elusive planet above the western horizon shortly after sunset.

Sept. 14: Neptune at opposition. The gas giant will appear at its biggest and brightest of the year, shining at magnitude 7.8. (You'll need a telescope to see it.)

Sept. 15: SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft to launch the first all-civilian orbital mission, known as Inspiration4. It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch it live

Sept. 16: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the NASA/USGS Landsat 9 satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

Sept. 16: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing gibbous moon will swing about 3 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 

Sept. 18: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waxing gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky. 

Sept. 20: The full moon of September, known as the Full Harvest Moon, occurs at 7:55 p.m. EDT (2355 GMT).

Sept. 22: The equinox arrives at 3:21 p.m. EDT (1921 GMT), marking the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sept. 24: The waning gibbous moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 1.3 degrees of each other. Shining at magnitude 5.7, Uranus may be bright enough to spot with the naked eye under dark skies. 

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

  • 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.
  • China will launch the Tianzhou 3 cargo resupply ship to the Chinese space station. It will lift off on a Long March 7 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan, China. 
  • 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.
  • Arianespace will use a Soyuz rocket to launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 10, will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Watch it live

October

Oct. 5: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Soyuz MS-19 crew capsule to the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and two space tourists: Russian film director Klim Shipenko and a (not-yet-named) Russian actress, who plan to film a movie while spending one week in space. (The two filmmakers are scheduled to return to Earth on the Soyuz MS-18 crew capsule.) Watch it live

Oct. 6: The new moon arrives at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT)

Oct. 8: The Draconid meteor shower, which is active Oct. 6-10, will peak overnight.

Oct. 9: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 3 degrees to the north of Venus. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. 

Oct. 14: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waxing gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the evening sky. 

Oct. 15: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waxing gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky. 

Oct. 16: NASA will launch its Lucy mission to study the Trojan asteroids. It will lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Watch it live

Oct. 20: A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch NASA's Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission to the moon from Wallops Island, Virginia. 

Oct. 20: The full moon of October, known as the Full Hunter's Moon, occurs at 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT). 

Oct. 21: The waning gibbous moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 1.3 degrees of each other. Shining at magnitude 5.7, Uranus may be bright enough to spot with the naked eye under dark skies.

Oct. 21-22: The annual Orionid meteor shower, which is active all month long, peaks overnight.

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. 28: 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. Watch it live

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 and Thomas Marshburn, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. (The fourth crewmember has not yet been announced). It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch it live

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

  • China will launch three astronauts to the Chinese space station on the Shenzhou 13 mission, which will launch on a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.
  • 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. Watch it live
  • The Soyuz MS-18 crew capsule will return to Earth from the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, as well as two space tourists: Russian film director Klim Shipenko and a (not-yet-named) Russian actress, who will have arrived on the Soyuz MS-19 mission in September and plan to film a movie in space. Watch it live
  • Arianespace will use a Soyuz rocket to launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 11, will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Watch it live

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 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. 11-12: 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. 17: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch it live

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. EDT (0602 GMT). The partial eclipse, when the moon will darken more noticeably, begins at 2:18 a.m. EDT (0718 GMT). Maximum eclipse occurs at 4:02 a.m. EDT (0902 GMT). The entire event will last about six hours. 

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 1:58 a.m. EST (0658 GMT). Watch it live

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

  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to lift off in late November from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Watch it live
  • 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. 
  • Arianespace will use a Soyuz rocket to launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 12, will lift off from the Guiana Space Center near Kourou, French Guiana. Watch it live

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. 4: 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. Watch it live

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: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the GOES-T weather satellite for NASA and NOAA. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, at 4:40 p.m. EST (2140 GMT). Watch it live

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. Watch it live

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. 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: 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. 21-22: 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.

More coming in 2021...

TBD: 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 Space Force Station in Florida.

TBD: India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (designated GSLV-F10) will launch India's first GEO Imaging Satellite, or GISAT 1. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.

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 first two WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Watch it live

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

Q4: 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.

Late 2021: Boeing plans to launch the first crewed test flight of its Starliner spacecraft, which will send NASA astronauts Mike Fincke, Nicole Mann, and Barry "Butch" Wilmore to the International Space Station on an Atlas V rocket. The mission will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. 

TBD: 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.

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.

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. 

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  • 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