LAST UPDATED Dec. 8: These dates are subject to change, and will be updated throughout the year as firmer dates arise. Please DO NOT schedule travel based on a date you see here. Launch dates are collected from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, Spaceflight Now and others.
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Dec. 9: Conjunction of the moon and Jupiter. The waxing crescent moon will swing about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the evening sky.
Dec. 11: Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will launch the NS-19 suborbital space tourism mission with six passengers: “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan, Laura Shepard Churchley (the eldest daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly to space), industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess and his son Cameron Bess. The mission is scheduled to lift off from the company’s West Texas launch site at 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT).
Dec. 12: A Russian Proton rocket will launch two new satellites for the Russian Satellite Communications Company. The mission will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:09 a.m. EST (1209 GMT).
Dec. 13-14: The annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the best meteor showers of the year, peaks overnight. The Geminids are active Dec. 4-17 often produce up to 50 visible meteors per hour, but this year the 78% full moon will outshine the fainter meteors.
Dec. 18: The full moon of December, known as the Full Cold Moon, occurs at 11:37 p.m. EST (0437 Dec. 19 GMT).
Dec. 18: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Turksat 5B communications satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a 90-minute launch window that opens at 10:58 p.m. EST (0358 Dec. 19 GMT).
Dec. 19: The Russian Soyuz MS-20 crew capsule will depart the International Space Station and return to Earth with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and video producer Yozo Hirano. The Soyuz spacecraft is scheduled to undock at 6:54 p.m. EST (2354 GMT) and land in Kazakhstan at 10:18 p.m. EST (0318 Dec. 20 GMT).
Dec. 20: Russia’s Angara-A5 rocket will launch on its third orbital test flight, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
Dec. 21: The solstice arrives at 10:59 a.m. EST (1559 GMT), marking the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
Dec. 21: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-24) to the International Space Station. It will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 5:06 a.m. EST (1006 GMT).
Dec. 21: A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch the Inmarsat 6 F1 communications satellites from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, during a two-hour launch window that opens at 9:33 a.m. EST (1433 GMT).
Dec. 21-22: The annual Ursid meteor shower peaks overnight. Typically active around Dec. 17-26, the Ursids produce about five to 10 visible meteors per hour on the morning of the peak.
Dec. 22: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to lift off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana at 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT), on an Ariane 5 ECA rocket.
Dec. 27: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch 34 satellites into orbit for the OneWeb internet constellation. The mission, called OneWeb 12, will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Also scheduled to launch in December (from Spaceflight Now):
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 51 Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
More coming in 2021…
TBD: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will launch the Indian RISAT 1A radar Earth observation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
Q4: India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch on its first orbital test flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. The mission was delayed from April 2021.
Q4: India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) will launch its first commercial mission with four Earth observation satellites for the Seattle-based company BlackSky Global. It will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
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