Standing in 2021, I must say there have been tremendous advancement in terms of space technology! To mention some –

Airbus have been testing a prototype of the Starliner spacecraft, which will transport astronauts from earth to space. This will hopefully replace the space shuttle fleet that ended last year.

Virgin Galactic’s new VSS Unity craft is about to take its first pilots into space before releasing them on a sub-orbital flight – it is hoped they will be able to break the speed of sound and descent back to earth.

But what I find more interesting is the development of an engine which will drive these craft, called the Rocket Engine Development Facility (REDF).
REDF will be developed by NASA Langley Research Center and such an engine has never been developed before. This is because it’s a technology that requires a degree of advancement in terms of computer design and calculation power.

Imagine the engine being programmed with the exact amount of thrust it needs when it’s ascending, descending or changing its speed – this would be revolutionary! NASA say that the REDF project will revolutionise rocket design. It may lead to an increase in fuel efficiency and allow for greater control over variable thrust needed for manoeuvring.

It will also allow for next generation of space craft to be more streamlined, which would reduce costs.With its ability to cut fuel use by up to 30%, the REDF could save $7million per launch of a rocket.
Some other breakthroughs are –
Some latest breakthroughs in space technology are:
1) SpaceX successful launches of the Falcon Heavy rocket
2) The launch date for the SpaceX missions to Mars announced
3) NASA experiments with 3D printing rocket engines
4) Developing a new battery that could power a Mars lander to the surface of Mars for a year
5) NASA pioneers using laser propulsion to propel a spacecraft for 1,200 days
6) Developing an unprecedented two-dimensional lithium ion battery
7) Newly discovered first moon rocks, brought to Earth by Apollo missions
8) A first demonstration of 3D printing rocket engine components on the International Space Station.
9) Russian space agency reveals “space suit” that can withstand 100 G acceleration and has an anti-G suit.

Another major breakthrough is the testing of a “mini” fusion reactor. A mini-fusion reactor is a scaled-down version that can, one day, be used in space travel. By providing heat for systems and processes on ships or stations, the reactor could become an essential tool for exploring the solar system. The anticipation of this new exploration is raising concerns about off-Earth mining and its potential effects on humans and their environment.

The privately owned aerospace company SpaceX was able to successfully launch Falcon Heavy on February 6, 2018.