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Launching Out of 2020 and Into 2021 With Success

6 Jan 2021, 2:02 pm

2020 was a year to remember for our Space Program.

“The United States of America, we can continue to do amazing things even in spite of a global pandemic,” said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Chief of Staff Gabe Sherman.

It was the year of important anniversaries — the 20th Anniversary of humans living and working on the International Space Station, the 30th Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

NASA, along with many of the top leaders and contributors in the space industry, successfully completed historic achievements throughout the entire year.  In May, human space missions to the International Space Station “ignited” again for the first time since 2011 with the Demo-2 test flight.

READ MORE: 2nd Attempt At Historic Launch Successful

“A critical milestone in the development of our ability to launch American astronauts, on American rockets, from American soil, now sustainably,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Months later in November, another journey began with the first commercial crew rotational mission aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts.

READ MORE: Regular Missions to the Space Station Have Begun

In July the Mars Perseverance mission began its journey to the Red Planet bringing with it the first Mars Rover for collecting samples and​ the first aircraft to attempt flight on another planet.

Fall of 2020 brought a victorious groundbreaking science mission, as NASA collected samples from an asteroid for the first-time.

“We think we actually might be coming back with a baby picture of what the solar system was like, of what our chemistry was like billions of years ago,” said Dr. Michelle Thaller from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The year ended with the introduction of 18 astronauts for the Artemis program, which aims to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

So what’s in store for 2021? Continuing to build on all the accomplishments from the previous year!  According to NASA, this will be including more tests for the Commercial Crew Program, exploration and sampling when the Perseverance Rover docks on Mars in February, and planning the first American robotic missions to land on the Moon in 50 years.

MORE: NASA Goals for 2021

About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  Meredith is a weather, space, and STEM journalist and has been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern Cali... Load Morefornia, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in the Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith is the current chair of the American Meteorological Society's Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished journalist, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith was personally invited by NASA's Johnson Space Center to interview astronauts on the International Space Station and was the only meteorologist in the nation to do an exclusive report accompanying the GOES-West satellite from Colorado to Florida, reporting on and covering it's launch in 2018.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane! Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!