Nasa is preparing several probe launches for 2021 – the main focus of the moon program
The development of the 111-meter-high SLS launch vehicle has so far cost almost EUR 20 billion and the development of the Orion ship about EUR 10 billion. The unmanned first flight, scheduled for the end of this year, will demonstrate where the money has been spent. Picture of Nasa
The landing of Perseverance, the first flight of an SLS rocket, a landing probe to the Moon and the JWST space telescope are the main goals of the year for Nasa. The space agency presents its plans on video.
The most anticipated event of the early part of the year is the landing of the Perseverance ATV on Mars on February 18th. The landing system is largely a replica of what the Curiosity walker has already successfully used, which improves its chances of success.
In July, a DART sonar will be launched, testing technologies to change the asteroid’s orbit. A collision with a 170-meter Didymorphos asteroid orbiting a larger asteroid provides important information about the functionality of the method.
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to enter space in October-November. This is the largest space telescope project since Hubble, launched in 1990.
The long-awaited first flight of the Nasa SLS launcher, Artemis I, will take off with these prospects in November. On an unmanned flight, the Orion vessel with its maintenance modules will be sent to the lunar orbit. The ship’s return capsule lands about a month after the flight.
Towards the end of the month, both Astrobotic’s Peregrine 1 lander and Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander will aim for the end of the year. They are to test the technologies.
Nasa has also announced that it will make the final choice for the selection of a manned bullet launcher. 1-2 companies receive funding. Although the matter has not yet been granted, the landing planned for 2024 is likely to be postponed.
As the president changes, so does Nassa’s CEO and priorities. For Donald Trump’s administration, investing in hearings and tightening the schedule was paramount, but Joe Biden has tentatively stated that he will focus specifically on programs that follow the state of the environment.
However, it is unlikely that the near-completion of the probes would be withdrawn for political reasons. Of course, technical problems can lead to delays, which is quite common.
See also Nasa’s video
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