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From the Mars Rover landing to SpaceX satellite launches, these are some of 2021's biggest space stories so far

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 20 Feb 2021

<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/602fbd2a7b571500189f63b5-1333/pjimage%20(55).jpg" border="0" alt="perseverance rover mars landing first images nasa" data-mce-source="NASA" data-mce-caption="The first (left) and second (right) images that the Perseverance rover took seconds after landing on Mars, February 18, 2021." data-link="https://twitter.com/NASAPersevere/status/1362507436611956736"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>The year has already got off to a winning start, with many key developments in the new space race.</p><p>The most notable is the impressiveand terrifyinglanding of NASA's Perseverance Rover on Mars. It successfully touched down on the red planet on Thursday afternoon (EST) in a deep crater called Jezero.</p><p>The result was deeply satisfying for those who have been tracking the progress of the rover, which had been travelling to its destination for nearly seven months.</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hello, world. My first look at my forever home. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CountdownToMars'src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CountdownToMars</a> <a href="https://t.co/dkM9jE9I6X">pic.twitter.com/dkM9jE9I6X</a></p> NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1362507436611956736'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>In other recent developments, the UAE space agency released the first photo of Mars taken by its Hope Probe, while <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/china-tianwen-1-probe-enters-orbit-mars-with-rover-2021-2">China's Tianwen-1 mission</a> successfully manoeuvred into orbit around Mars earlier this month.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/space-tourism-station-mars-colony-travel-astronaut-outer-altitude-vacation-2021-2">Meanwhile, Spanish startup Zero 2 Infinity has big plans to send</a> humans into space in giant helium balloons for a cost of $132,000.</p><p>The comparatively cheaper price may lure some prospective travellers away from SpaceX's Mars mission, which aims to send humans to the planet by 2026. Some experts <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-spacex-starship-humans-mars-mission-2026-experts-question-2021-2">have called into question</a> whether this will really happen, however.</p><p>SpaceX has also been busy launching many more satellites. It recently sent 60 into orbit but the Falcon 9 rocket's booster did not successfully complete its landing on February 16.</p><p>Finally, space fans can expect <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-stepping-down-amazon-ceo-space-2021-2">Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin</a> to start commanding more attention. When the Amazon CEO announced he was stepping down from the role later this year, he said he planned to dedicate more time to the company.</p><p>Blue Origin's <a href="https://www.blueorigin.com/our-mission">website</a> states: "We're committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future."</p><p></p><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/602d4c9d31eb0600197c3b8b-400-300/.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/><h3>The UAE Space Agency is also making Mars a priority</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/602930e22edd0f001a8d5bbd-400-300/the-uae-space-agency-is-also-making-mars-a-priority.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/><h3>Zero 2 Infinity ...and beyond</h3><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/602e971831eb0600197c3fb1-400-300/zero-2-infinity-and-beyond.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/><h3>SpaceX's Starlink launches</h3><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5fd10f7d48a2590018262757-400-300/spacexs-starlink-launches.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/><h3>Blue Origin's bold vision</h3><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/602e98f831eb0600197c3fba-400-300/blue-origins-bold-vision.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/><h3>China's Tianwen-1 mission</h3><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/602e9a9a42b84000192f4340-400-300/chinas-tianwen-1-mission.jpg" alt="" /><br/><br/>
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