European Space Agency (ESA) Highlights 2021 [Video]

ESA Highlights 2021

ESA’s 2021 operations included key science missions, leadership transitions, and enhanced launch capabilities, reinforcing its role in global space exploration.

In 2021, ESA continued to push the frontiers of European spaceflight, managing successful science missions and expanding the Copernicus Earth observation system. The year also saw key astronaut missions to the ISS and transitions in leadership and launch capabilities, setting the stage for future advancements in space exploration.

We’ve said goodbye to 2021, a year in which ESA once more succeeded in continuing operations in a challenging global situation, and creating some important milestones in the field of European spaceflight.

As always, ESA has been at the forefront of science, with several science missions en route to their destinations or being prepared for flight, such as BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, JUICE, and ExoMars, and not least rounding off the year with the impending launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Europe’s Copernicus program continues to be the largest Earth observation system in the world, and ESA is even preparing more Earth observation missions. In 2021, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet carried out his Alpha mission to the Space Station, and Matthias Maurer began his Cosmic Kiss mission, continuing into 2022.

As we said farewell to Prof. Jan Wörner, a new Director General took the helm of ESA and we welcomed Dr. Josef Aschbacher with his ambition to accelerate the use of space in Europe. Meanwhile, the latest Vega rocket flight paved the way for the transition to Vega-C, and the new Ariane 6 launchpad was inaugurated.

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