Space travel — and tourism — soared to new heights this year.
To kick off the year, SpaceX launched its first 2021 mission using a Falcon 9 rocket on January 7.
SpaceX sent its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station for the second time in April.
In June, China launched its first crewed mission to its new space station, Tiangong.
Billionaire and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson blasted off in July on a 14-minute joyride — the company’s first crewed flight — just above the boundary of space.
Following suit, billionaire and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos also embarked on a brief visit to space in July during the company’s first crewed flight.
The first-ever, all-civilian space crew launched inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience in September.
NASA’s first mission to the Trojan asteroids — a body of ancient rocks in Jupiter’s orbit — launched in October atop an Atlas V rocket.
Lucy will study eight predetermined landmarks to help astronomers unlock secrets of the Solar System’s origins.
After weeks of delays, SpaceX launched a third crew of four astronauts to the ISS in November.
An up-and-coming California spaceflight company, Astra, launched its first payload for the U.S. Space Force in November.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which could potentially help us defend Earth from an incoming asteroid one day, reached space in November.
In late 2022, it will target the asteroid Dimorphos to see if it can successfully redirect flying space rocks with man-made spacecraft.