Space news to watch in 2022

Conceptual image of the Starship launch that includes the two-stage reusable system.

Conceptual image of the Starship launch that includes the two-stage reusable system.
picture: SpaceX

Humankind’s access to space has never been greater, with 2022 promising to be one of the most exciting yet. Here are the space stories we’ll be watching in the coming months.

Inaugural flight of NASA’s Space Launch System

One of the most anticipated events of the year happens next spring, or so we hope. NASA will try Inaugural launch of the 332-foot (101-meter) SLS missileEffectively, the beginning of the era of Artemis. It will be an impressive sight, as the rocket will impact 8.8 million pounds of thrust on takeoff — 15% more than NASA’s Saturn V rocket. For this purpose, the Artemis 1 mission, an unmanned Orion spacecraft will travel 280,000 miles (450,000 km) into orbit around the Moon and immediately return to Earth.

Conceptual image showing the launch of the SLS.

Conceptual image showing the launch of the SLS.
picture: NASA

Artemis one launch windows happen in mid-March and mid-April. The successful launch of the SLS will pave the way for Artemis 2 (scheduled for 2023), in which the manned Orion capsule will travel around the moon and back (mainly a repeat of Artemis 1, but with astronauts), and Artemis 3 (course no later than 2025), when NASA astronauts will land on the moon for the first time since 1972.

SpaceX’s Starship’s inaugural orbital flight

SpaceX will also try release A large size rocket, most likely in January or February. The massive, reusable spacecraft will consist of the Super Heavy Booster 4 and the Starship SN20 prototype, which, with a combined height of 394 feet (120 m), will be the tallest rocket ever built. When launched from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, the rocket will enter Earth’s orbit but complete less than a full rotation of the planet. The boosters will take off in the Gulf of Mexico, while the second stage will take off in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.

Stack the upper stage of the starship on the Super Heavy.

Stack the upper stage of the starship on the Super Heavy.
Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk He said There are “a lot of risks associated with this first launch,” and he’s frankly anticipating failure. However, he believes that the Starship rocket will reach orbit in 2022 and that more than a dozen Starship launches could take place over the course of the year. The progress will be significant, as SpaceX is developing the rocket to serve as a lander for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions on the Moon.

Other missiles expected to make their first flights in 2022 include the Ariane Space missile Ariane 6, Blue Origin New GlenUnited Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, and Mitsubishi H3.

The second unmanned test of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner

Artist's concept of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner in Earth orbit.

Artist’s concept of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner in Earth orbit.
picture: NASA/Boeing

Speaking of pressure, all eyes will be on Boeing to see if the embattled company will finally make headway with the CST-100 Starliner. Boeing is developing the capsule as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, but it is now years behind schedule. A major setback occurred in October 2021, when the Boeing Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) had to be tested. purified After 13 of 24 oxidizer valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system Fail To open. The inaugural audition for Starliner in 2019 was Chaos, which makes this last incident even more embarrassing. Boeing is now seeking to launch the Starliner in May 2022, “pending spacecraft readiness and space station availability,” according to to NASA.

Helicopter will try to catch a falling missile booster

Photo of a missile retrieval test conducted in April 2020.

Photo of a missile retrieval test conducted in April 2020.
picture: rocket lab

In 2022, the aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab . will attempt To catch a rocket drop electron booster in the air and then return it to the mainland for reuse (performed by Rocket Lab successful test This idea is in April 2020). A parachute system slows down the booster as it descends, while a special line of engagement on the helicopter will enable it to pick up and secure the booster. An additional fuel tank will be added to the helicopter, allowing for a long flight. Rocket Lab expects to conduct this daring hunt during the first half of 2022.

to the moon!!

No humans will reach the moon in 2022, but the same cannot be said for landers and robots, as the United States, Russia, India and Japan prepare for next year’s lunar missions.

Conceptual image of the Al Shaheen Landing Vehicle.

Conceptual image of the Al Shaheen Landing Vehicle.
picture: NASA

Astrobiotic based in Pittsburgh Planning to send it Lander Lunar Peregrine to the Moon sometime in 2022. The mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, under which the space agency contracts with commercial partners. The probe, equipped with 14 payloads of various types, will be launched atop a United Launch Alliance Centaur rocket.

Intuitive Machines, based in Houston, is currently another partner of CLPS Planning to send the Nova-C lander to the moon, which it expects to do during the first half of the year with the upcoming lift-off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Nova-C will deliver 220 pounds (100 kg) of cargo to the lunar surface.

In July 2019, India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission Fail To deliver the Vikram lander safely to the lunar surface. Indian Space Research Organization will Try again During the third quarter of 2022 in what we hope will be a successful sequel – the Chandrayaan-3 mission. If India succeeds in this, it will become the fourth country to succeed in landing a probe on the moon (the other countries are the United States, Russia and China).

In July 2022, it will be Russia send The Luna 25 lander, also known as the Luna-Glob-Lander, is heading to the moon’s south polar region. The purpose of the mission is to analyze “the formation of the polar regolith, and study the components of plasma and dust in the lunar exosphere,” according to NASA.

the Smart lander to explore the moon SLIM will be Japan’s first mission to the moon. The purpose of SLIM is to accurately test lunar landing capabilities, such as avoiding craters and selecting optimal lunar landing sites. The probe, developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is expected to launch sometime in 2022 and land near Marius Hills Hole – the entrance to the lunar lava tube.

Another rover for the red planet

European Space Agency Rosalind Franklin Rover, with Russian Kazachok Landing VehicleIt is scheduled to be released on September 29th. Once on Mars, Rosalind Franklin will collect samples from the surface and crush them into a fine powder. The on-board laboratory will then perform detailed chemical, spectroscopic and physical analyzes. The rover’s navigational capabilities should allow it to travel approximately 328 feet (100 meters) each Mars or Sol day.

Conceptual image of Rosalind Franklin's rover.

Conceptual image of Rosalind Franklin’s rover.
picture: who – which

In the meantime, we can expect new insights from NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rover (and possibly more flights of the Ingenuity helicopter), as well as China’s Zhurong rover. NASA’s InSight mission will continue to operate in 2022, but that’s likely to be it lastyearThe stationary probe struggles to collect solar energy.

Space probes that explore space

In August, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will attempt to deliver NASA breath probe to space. He. Shes destination is 16 Psyche – a metallic asteroid that contains abundant amounts of iron and nickel. The asteroid provides a unique window into the history of the violent collisions and the accumulation that created the terrestrial planets, ” according to to NASA. The mission could shed new light on the composition and age of Psyche’s surface and the conditions under which it formed. The probe’s data will also be used to create a detailed map of the asteroid’s surface. The Psyche probe is expected to reach the asteroid in January 2026.

Conceptual image of NASA's Psyche spacecraft.

Conceptual image of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft.
clarification: NASA

The same Falcon Heavy launch would offer two small killers to NASA, but they are headed elsewhere. The twin spacecraft, known as Project Janus, will discover two binary asteroids, (175706) 1996 FG3 and (35107) 1991 VH. Daniel Shiris, principal investigator on the project and an astronomer at the University of Colorado, Says Binary asteroids “are one category of things for which we don’t have high-resolution scientific data,” as all current observations come from ground-based telescopes, “which don’t give you as much detail as the approach.” Janus, in addition to advancing our understanding of the early solar system, could also guide measures of planetary defense. It will take four years for the probes to reach their destination.

Conceptual images of the Janus dual spacecraft.

Conceptual images of the Janus dual spacecraft.
picture: Lockheed Martin

Probes that have already been launched into space will continue to do their work. NASA’s Juno spacecraft will end Fly near the moon Europa for Jupiter On September 29, after which time the orbital period around the gas giant will decrease from 43 to 38 days. The Parker Solar Probe, also operated by NASA, will make four flights from the Sun in 2022, as it gets increasingly close to our host star.

In addition, the $10 billion Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch on Christmas Day 2021, will travel to its very own place in space – Lagrange Point 2 (a region in space where gravity from the Sun and Earth balances the orbital motion of an object). ) . Once in L2, after webb’s tools have been successfully deployed, we’ll finally be able to see Webb’s first view of the universe.

astronomical events

There will be no total solar eclipses in 2022, but there will be two partial solar eclipses. The first will occur on April 30, when the partial eclipse will occur Visible From the southern parts of South America, the second will happen on October 25 and be Visible For sky watchers in Europe and parts of North Africa (weather permitting, of course).

A partial lunar eclipse will occur on May 15/16 Visible In parts of North America and all of South America, while a partial lunar eclipse will occur on November 7/8 He appears Primarily over the Pacific Ocean, with western parts of North America and eastern Asia as well.

So buckle up and get some help – looks like we’ve got another great year in space ahead.

more: 2021 was the strangest year in space ever.

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