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What are the top 10 milestones in space technology and exploration this year?

1. Ingenuity’s historic flight on Mars: In April 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made the first-ever powered and controlled flight on another planet, demonstrating the feasibility of aerial exploration on Mars.

2. Perseverance Rover’s arrival on Mars: In February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, marking a major milestone in the ongoing search for signs of ancient life and paving the way for future human exploration.

3. China’s first Mars mission: China’s Tianwen-1 mission, which arrived at Mars in February 2021, became the country’s first successful attempt at reaching the red planet. It included an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, marking significant progress in China’s space ambitions.

4. SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission: In April 2021, SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission carried astronauts from NASA, ESA, and JAXA to the International Space Station (ISS), continuing the successful partnership between NASA and commercial space companies for crewed missions.

5. Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight: In July 2021, Jeff Bezos, along with three other passengers, took off on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, marking the company’s first crewed launch and a significant step towards commercial space tourism.

6. Russian space module Nauka docking at the ISS: In July 2021, Russia’s Nauka module docked with the International Space Station. It added additional research facilities, living space, and boosted the station’s propulsion capability.

7. China’s space station: China continued its space exploration efforts with the launch of its first module, Tianhe, in April 2021, as part of its planned space station named Tiangong. This marked a significant step in China’s space station construction and future crewed missions.

8. NASA’s Mars Helicopter Ingenuity extended mission: Following its initial successful flight on Mars, the Ingenuity helicopter was granted an extended mission in August 2021 to continue demonstrating aerial exploration capabilities on the red planet.

9. UAE’s Mars Mission success: The United Arab Emirates’ Mars mission, the Hope probe, entered Mars’ orbit in February 2021. It aims to study the Martian atmosphere, weather, and climate, marking the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

10. Artemis I mission progress: NASA’s Artemis program, aiming to return humans to the Moon, made progress in 2021 with the successful completion of the Artemis I mission’s core stage Green Run test, bringing the agency closer to launching an uncrewed test flight.

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