The year 2017 was a big one for NASA. From astronaut Peggy Whitson's record-shattering spaceflight to the daring death-dive of Cassini into Saturn and a pledge to return astronauts to the moon, take a look back at the year that was in these NASA videos.
Above is NASA's main 2017 year-in-review video, showcasing major events like the agency's new goal of returning astronauts to the moon set by President Donald Trump and the reinstated National Space Council led by Vice President Mike Pence. After you relive the year in space videos with NASA, check out our other recaps of 2017's greatest moments in spaceflight, astronomy and beyond here:
- The Most Intriguing Alien Planet Discoveries of 2017
- The Biggest Spaceflight Stories of 2017
- The Greatest Space Science Stories of 2017
- The Must-Read Space Books of 2017
- The 100 Most Amazing Space Photos of 2017
- Earth from Space in 2017: DigitalGlobe's Most Impactful Photos
Johnson Space Center
It's no surprise that human spaceflight achievements dominated the year at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, home of the agency's astronaut corps. It's the place, after all, where NASA's Mission Control Center watches over crews to the International Space Station, which saw four separate missions (Expeditions 50, 51, 52 and 53) in 2017. (Expedition 54 just began this month.) NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson of Expeditions 50, 51 and 52, set a new U.S. record for the most total time in space in 2017, ending her latest mission with 665 cumulative days in space. 2017 saw major work on the ISS to prepare it for the arrival of private space vehicles in 2018, the delivery of the NICER neutron star experiment and big events on Earth like the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, which astronauts witnessed from space.
The Johnson Space Center also supported relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey battered its Houston home in September. Astronauts on the space station could only look on as their home was hit by the devastating hurricane, which was followed by hurricanes Irma in Florida and Maria in Puerto Rico.
Goddard Spaceflight Center
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looked back at 2017 in photo form, with a short video retrospective filled with images of the center's biggest moments throughout the year. That included the total solar eclipse of 2017 (dubbed the Great American Solar Eclipse) which was covered in depth by scientists at Goddard's Heliophysics division. The center also celebrated the launch of a major new Earth-watching satellite, called JPSS-1, tracked hurricanes from space and even hosted a visit from the King of Sweden during the year.
Wallops Flight Facility
NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia marked a busy 2017 with its recap video. The space center's Aircraft Office completed 20 missions, totalling 1,566.9 flight hours, and launched 17 sounding rocket missions from its launch sites at Wallops Island, the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska and others. The center launched eight balloon missions in all from staging grounds in Palestine, Texas; McMurdo, Antarctica; Wanaka, New Zealand; and Fort Sumner, New Mexico. On Nov. 11, the center hosted Orbital ATK's Antares rocket launch, which sent a robotic Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station on the OA-8 delivery mission.
"2018 looks to be an even better than 2017, if you can imagine that," Wallops Flight Facility director Bill Wrobel said.
European Space Agency
NASA isn't the only space agency celebrating 2017, the European Space Agency has weighed in with its own annual recap with this video. ESA started the year with a spacewalk by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet who returned to Earth from the International Space Station in June and was followed by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who returned to Earth from his own mission in Dec. 14. In February, ESA unveiled its contribution to NASA's Orion space capsule - a vital service module - with ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Mattias Maurer training alongside Chinese astronauts in August on spacecraft egress procedures. The agency also celebrated a series of satellite launches, including December's successful launch of new Galileo navigation satellites and Copernicus Earth-watching missions earlier in the year.
NASA's look ahead to 2018
With 2017 in the rear-view mirror, NASA is looking ahead the 2018, a year that promises to bring even more giant leaps in space as the look-ahead video above shows. From NASA's next Mars lander mission (called InSight) to the first launches of American astronauts on private launch vehicles built by SpaceX and Boeing, it should be a pretty awesome year. Two other missions, the Parker Solar Probe and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, will launch in 2018 to touch the surface of sun and seek out alien worlds around distant stars, respectively.
We can't wait for 2018, and the amazing space videos to come in the new year!
Senior producer Steve Spaleta contributed to this story. Email Tariq Malik at email@example.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.