Launching Out of 2020 and Into 2021 With Success
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.
LIFTOFF! 🚀 🌌
Re-watch this historic moment: pic.twitter.com/wzyHyy2pXA
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) May 30, 2020
“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.
The hatches are open and NASA's @SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, @Astro_Soichi, @AstroVicGlover, and @Astro_illini are the newest residents aboard the @Space_Station. Welcome aboard! pic.twitter.com/WYwC7jRVQk
— NASA (@NASA) November 17, 2020
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.
Humans to Mars?! That's a future goal that the @NASAPersevere mission will help pave the way for! We spoke with @NASA's @loriglaze
to learn about it! Interested in the launch & mission? READ MORE: https://t.co/mUG8dBZyRk #Mars pic.twitter.com/tCR4OM1jsn
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) July 29, 2020
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.
Well, I definitely touched down on Bennu!
Preliminary data show the sampling head touched Bennu’s surface for approximately 6 seconds, within 3 feet (1 meter) of the targeted location. #ToBennuAndBack
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) October 21, 2020
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.