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

Hanneke Weitering
·23-min read
 There's a lot going in space in 2019. Check out our up-to-date space launch schedule and calendar here!
There's a lot going in space in 2019. Check out our up-to-date space launch schedule and calendar here!

LAST UPDATED Jan. 20: 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!

Jan. 22: 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 Space Force Station in Florida, at 9:24 a.m. EST (1424 GMT). Watch it live

Jan. 21: The moon, Mars and Uranus will make a close approach in the evening sky. The trio will be above the southwest horizon after sunset. 

Jan. 23: Mercury at greatest elongation east. The innermost planet will reach its greatest eastern separation from the sun, shining brightly at magnitude -0.7. Catch the elusive planet above the western horizon shortly after sunset.

Jan. 27: NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are scheduled take a spacewalk together outside the International Space Station, to outfit science hardware on Europe's Columbus laboratory module. They are expected to exit the station through the Quest airlock at 7:05 a.m. EST (1205 GMT) and will spend about 6.5 hours working outside the orbiting lab. Watch it live

Jan. 27: Mercury reaches its highest point in the evening sky, shining brightly at magnitude -0.7. See it just above the southwest horizon after sunset. 

Jan. 28: The full moon of January, known as the Full Wolf Moon, arrives at 2:16 p.m. EST (1916 GMT).

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

  • The Brunswick-based startup bluShift Aerospace will attempt to launch the Stardust 1.0 prototype sounding rocket from the Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone, Maine, at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT). A previous launch attempt on Jan. 15 was called off due to bad weather. If successful, the mission will mark the first commercial launch of a rocket powered by bio-derived fuel. Stardust 1.0 is expected to reach an altitude of about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). Watch it live

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch approximately 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network, a mission designated Starlink 17. It will lift off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

February 

Feb. 1: NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are scheduled take their second spacewalk together outside the International Space Station; this time the astronauts will upgrade high-definition video and camera gear outside the orbiting lab. They are expected to exit the station through the Quest airlock at 7:05 a.m. EST (1205 GMT) and will spend about 6.5 hours spacewalking. Watch it live

Feb. 9: The United Arab Emirates' first mission to Mars, the Hope orbiter, will arrive at the Red Planet. 

Feb. 10: China's Tianwen-1 Mars mission, which consists of an orbiter and a lander, will arrive in orbit around the Red Planet. (The rover won't land until May 2021).

Feb. 11: The new moon arrives at 2:06 p.m. EST (1906 GMT).

Feb. 14: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch the Progress 77 cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. It will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, at 11:45 p.m. EST (0445 Feb. 15 GMT). Watch it live

Feb. 17: Russia's Progress 77 cargo resupply spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station. Docking is scheduled for 1:19 a.m. EST (0619 GMT). Watch it live

Feb. 18: NASA's newest Mars rover Perseverance will arrive at the Red Planet. The rover is expected to touch down inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater at approximately 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT). Watch it live

Feb. 18: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. Just one day before reaching first quarter phase, the waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Mars in the evening sky.

Feb. 20: 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, at 12:36 p.m. EST (1736 GMT). Watch it live

Feb. 22: Northrop Grumman's Cygnus NG-15 cargo resupply spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT). Watch it live

Feb. 25: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch 36 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. It will lift off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Siberia. Watch it live

Feb. 26: 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. Watch it live

Feb. 27: The full moon of February, known as the Full Snow Moon, arrives at 3:17 a.m. EST (0817 GMT).

Feb. 28: Mercury reaches its highest point in morning sky, shining brightly at magnitude 0.1. Catch the innermost planet above the eastern horizon shortly before sunrise.

Also scheduled for February (from Spaceflight Now):

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch approximately 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network in a mission designated Starlink 18

  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch approximately 60 satellites for SpaceX's Starlink broadband network in a mission designated Starlink 19.

  • 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. 

  • India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C51) will launch the Amazônia 1 Earth observation satellite for Brazil. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. 

March

March 4: 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. Watch it live

March 6: Mercury at greatest elongation west. The innermost planet will reach its greatest western separation from the sun, shining brightly at magnitude 0.1. Catch the elusive planet above the eastern horizon shortly before sunrise.

March 9: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

March 10: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky.

March 13: The new moon arrives at 5:21 a.m. EST (1021 GMT).

March 19: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 2 degrees to the south of Mars in the evening sky.

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 moon of March, known as the Full Worm Moon, arrives at 2:48 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT).

March 28: Venus reaches its greatest brightness in its 2021 evening apparition, shining brightly at magnitude -3.9. Catch the planet just above the western horizon at sunset. 

March 29: 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 Space Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

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. Watch it live

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 for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office in a mission called NROL-111. It will lift off from Pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. Watch it live

  • 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. Watch it live

  • 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 Space Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

  • 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.

  • 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. Watch it live

April 

April 6: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

April 7: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky.

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. Watch it live

April 11: The new moon arrives at 10:31 p.m. EDT (0231 April 12 GMT).

April 17: Lunar occultation of Mars. The waxing crescent moon will briefly pass in front of the planet Mars for skywatchers in parts of Asia. Elsewhere in the world, the moon will make a close approach to Mars. Look for the pair above the western horizon after sunset. 

April 21-22: The Lyrid meteor shower, which is active April 16-30, peaks overnight.

April 26: The full moon of April, known as the Full Pink Moon, arrives at 11:32 p.m. EDT (0332 April 27 GMT). Because the moon will also be near perigee, or its closest point to Earth, this will also be a so-called "supermoon."

May 

May 3: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The last-quarter moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

May 4: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky. 

May 4: Star Wars Day. (May the Fourth be with you.)

May 4-5: The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which is active from mid-April to the end of May, peaks overnight. 

May 11: The new moon arrives at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).

May 15: Mercury reaches its highest point in the evening sky, shining brightly at magnitude 0.3. See it just above the western horizon right after sunset. 

May 16: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 2 degrees to the south of Mars in the evening sky.

May 17: Mercury at greatest elongation east. The innermost planet will reach its greatest eastern separation from the sun, shining brightly at magnitude 0.3. Catch the elusive planet above the western horizon shortly after sunset.

May 26: The full moon of May, known as the Full Flower Moon, arrives at 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT). It will also be the closest "supermoon" of the year. That night, 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.

May 30: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waning gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

Also scheduled for 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 Space Force Station in Florida. Watch it live

  • China's Tianwen-1 Mars rover will touch down on the Red Planet.

June 

June 1: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. Just one day before reaching last-quarter phase, the waning gibbous moon will swing about 5 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky.

June 10: The new moon arrives at 6:53 a.m. EDT (1053 GMT).

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 13: Conjunction of the moon and Mars. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 3 degrees to the south of Mars in the evening sky.

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 moon of June, known as the Full Strawberry Moon, arrives at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1940 GMT).

June 27: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The waning gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

June 28: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waning gibbous moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky.

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 Space Force Station in Florida. 

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

July 

July 5: Happy aphelion day! Earth is farthest from the sun today. 

July 9: Mercury reaches its highest point in the morning sky, shining brightly at magnitude 0.3. See it just above the southeast horizon just before sunrise. 

July 9: The new moon arrives at 9:16 p.m. EDT (0116 July 10 GMT)

July 12: Conjunction of the moon and Venus. The waxing crescent moon will pass about 3 degrees to the north of Venus

July 23: The full moon of July, known as the Full Buck Moon, arrives at 10:37 p.m. EDT (1437 GMT). 

July 24: Conjunction of the moon and Saturn. The full moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Saturn in the dawn sky. 

July 25: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waning crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the dawn sky. 

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

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. 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: 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. 

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. 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 7:54 p.m. EDT (2354 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 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the first two WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

October

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. 20: The full moon of October, known at 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.

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. 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. 

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. 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...

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

Q2: 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 Space 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 Space Force Station in Florida.

Mid-2021: 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. 

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.