10 major space missions in 2022

10 major space missions in 2022

2022 will be a prosperous year for big space travel. Ten of them are particularly to be followed with great care.

For anyone interested in the news of space conquest 2022 promises to be exciting: several rockets (Ariane 6, Vega-C, Vulcan Centaur, New Glenn) are about to build their first aircraft. The Chinese space station is to be completed. Boeing’s capsule, Starliner, must reach International Space Station (ISS).

But above all, 2022 should be an opportunity to start or continue some more long-distance missions: the James Webb Space Telescope will provide its first scientific data; ExoMars 2022 mission is set to depart for Tuesday; Psychological study of a metal asteroid; After all, NASA should give the astronauts the starting signal to return to the moon!

A word of warning: since space is a complex matter, initially scheduled dates may change for some reason. In other words, the table below is given as a code and it is likely to evolve. If this happens, we will do everything we can to stay up to date.

February 2022: The Artemis 1 mission orbits the moon

Artemis 1 is the first mission of the Artemis project, which aims to bring astronauts back to the moon. This first mission will be an uninhabited mission: involving the creation of a ring around the satellite by means of the Orion capsule. It will also be the occasion to launch the first aircraft of NASA’s new space launch system (SLS).

A view of the first phase of the SLS rocket. // Source: NASA

2nd Quarter 2022: Launch of the European light rocket Vega-Chi

The new version of the European light launcher Vega is set to build its first aircraft in 2022. The engine, designed to be used as a booster for the Ariane 6, completes the range of European rockets with the Soyuz (medium launcher) and the Ariane 5 then the 6 (heavy launcher). Vega-C, as its name implies, will be operated from the Cayenne Space Center.

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Vega-c
Artist’s impression of Vega-C. // Source: ESA – Jackie Howard, 2017

1st Quarter 2022: CST-100 Starliner test for ISS

The transport capsule, built by Boeing, is set to undergo a second unmanned test flight in Q1 2022, after a failed first attempt at the end of 2019. The CST-100 Starliner capsule will then undergo another test in 2022, but it’s time with the training team. Then the actual tasks take place.

Boeing Starliner
Source: Joel Kowski

June / July 2022: First data recovery from the James Webb Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope left Earth on December 25, 2021, but will not reach its target until the end of January 2022. Then, the monitor enters a long phase of calibration and alignment. It takes 6 months to complete these preparatory activities. Its first scientific data were collected and published in the middle of the year.

James Webb
Construction of the James Web Lab, here in 2010. // Source: Presented by David Higgins / Emmet

September 2022: Departure for the Exomars 2022 expedition

The European Space Agency, along with its Russian counterpart Roscosmos, is set to launch the second phase of the ExoMars mission. It is a robotic mission to Mars. The purpose is to land Rosalind Franklin, a rover on the surface of the Red Planet. The first part of the work took place in 2016.

Tuesday
The target for the ExoMars mission in 2022 is Tuesday. // Source: ISRO / ISSDC / John Purvis

3rd Quarter 2022: Launch of the European heavy rocket Ariane 6

The new generation of European heavy launchers will also make their first flight in 2022 from the European space station Grove in Guyana. Everything on site is ready for the big day: engines, launch pads and contracts. Rocket benefits, among other things, from the upper level with the ability to maneuver in orbit, thanks to its ruling capability.

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Ariane6
Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. // Source: Ariane Group

2022: Chinese space station Tiankong completed

China needs to complete construction of a space station called Diangong. The system has already made good progress in 2021: it can now accommodate groups and longer. A central block, Tianhe, is already in place. Two complementary laboratories, Wentian and Mengtian, are set to merge in Tianhe in the coming months.

Tiangong
Missile provided by China for the benefit of the Chinese space station Tiankong. // Source: China News Network

2022: Psych Mission launches a metal asteroid

NASA plans to launch Psychic mission, which includes a space probe to orbit near a metal asteroid – described by the space agency as the “Metal World”. It is a body of a mixture of iron and nickel. This will be an opportunity for SpaceX to mobilize its heavy rocket Falcon Heavy, which is rarely used.

USAF STP-2 Balkan Heavy
Close-up view of the departure of the Balkan Heavy Rocket. // Source: SpaceX

2022: Launch of the New Glenn Heavy Rocket

2022 should be the year of the launch of the new rocket New Glenn’s aircraft by the American company Blue Origin. Released in 2016, it has enormous dimensions, allowing it to carry heavier loads in orbit. This is not its only specialty: it must be fitted with a reusable first stage.

Blue look New Glenn
Artist’s impression of New Glen. // Source: Blue look

2022: Launch of the Vulcan Center rocket

The United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, is betting on a new engine, looking to replace two existing launchers, the Atlas V and the Delta IV: Vulcan Center. The craft claims that it responds not only to business orders, but also to certain requirements of NASA and the security of the United States.

10 major space missions in 2022
Modeling of the future Vulcan Centaur rocket from ULA. // Source: ULA / Capture Youtube

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

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