2022 in spaceflight
Rendering of the Tiangong space station, its construction complete with the addition of the Wentian and Mengtian modules.
NASA
Artist
Starliner approaches the ISS.
DART spacecraft successfully impacted Dimorphos.
Highlights from spaceflight in 2022[a]
Orbital launches
First6 January
Last29 November
Total167
Successes161
Failures5
Partial failures1
Catalogued158
National firsts
Satellite
Space traveller
Suborbital launch
Rockets
Maiden flights
Retirements
Crewed flights
Orbital7
Orbital travellers24
Suborbital3
Suborbital travellers18
Total travellers42
EVAs13

This article documents notable and expected spaceflight events during the year 2022.

Overview

Exploration of the Solar System

NASA continued the mission of the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter, conducting a flyby of Europa on 29 September 2022.[1]

In Mars exploration, the European Space Agency (ESA) had partnered with Roscosmos to launch the Rosalind Franklin rover using the Kazachok lander as part of ExoMars 2022.[2] In March 2022, the launch was cancelled in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent suspension of ESA–Roscosmos cooperation on ExoMars.[3]

On 3 October 2022, the Indian Space Research Organisation released a statement that all attempts to revive their Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, had failed and officially declared it dead citing the loss of fuel and battery power to the probe's instruments.[4]

Lunar exploration

NASA's CAPSTONE lunar orbiter launched on June 28 and arrived in lunar orbit on 14 November 2022.

Artemis 1, the first flight of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and the first lunar mission for Orion, was launched on November 16, 2022.[5] Artemis 1 transported as secondary payloads many small lunar research spacecraft. Japan launched the OMOTENASHI lunar lander as a secondary payload of the Artemis 1 mission; contact with OMOTENASHI was lost and the mission failed before the landing sequence to lunar surface had begun.

The United States planned to also launch a number of commercial lunar landers and rovers. As part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, the launch of Astrobotic Technology's Peregrine lander and Intuitive Machines' Nova-C lander was scheduled. However, all the launches of US commercial lunar landers and rovers planned for 2022 were delayed to 2023.

On 4 August 2022, South Korea's first lunar orbiter Danuri was launched into space by a Falcon 9 rocket. The orbiter will take several months to enter its final lunar orbit (lunar orbit insertion is planned for 17 December 2022).

Human spaceflight

China finished the construction of the Tiangong space station with the addition of the Wentian and Mengtian lab modules.[6] Wentian was successfully launched and docked to the space station on 24 July 2022,[7] while Mengtian was launched on 31 October 2022 and was docked to the space station later that day.[8][9][10]

On 19 May 2022, Boeing launched the almost six-day (landing 25 May 2022) second uncrewed test flight of its Starliner space capsule. The test flight was successful and led the way for Starliner's first crewed test flight in 2023.[11][12]

Space tourism

Blue Origin's New Shepard launched six passengers each on a suborbital trajectory in three flights, NS-20 on 31 March, NS-21 on 4 June and NS-22 on 4 August. The failure of the uncrewed flight NS-23 in September paused launches of the system.[13]

On 8 April 2022, SpaceX's Crew Dragon space capsule was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket for the first American space tourist mission to the International Space Station. The crew on board the Axiom Space-operated mission included one professional astronaut (space vehicle commander) and three tourists. The mission, known as Axiom Mission 1, lasted a little over 17 days and was the first wholly commercially operated crewed mission to the ISS.

Rocket innovation

Arianespace's Ariane 6 was expected to make its long-delayed maiden flight,[14] targeting a per-satellite launch cost similar to a Falcon 9,[15] but was delayed to 2023.[16]

After suborbital tests in 2020 and 2021, SpaceX plans to conduct the first orbital test flight of the fully reusable Starship launch vehicle.[17]

The maiden flight of Vulcan Centaur was planned for 2022.[14] The launch vehicle is designed by United Launch Alliance to gradually replace Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy at lower costs.[18] However, the maiden flight was delayed to 2023.[19]

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries's H3 launch vehicle, scheduled to enter service in 2022, will cost less than half that of its predecessor H-IIA.[20]

On 21 January 2022, the Atlas V 511 launched for the first time. This was the only planned flight of the Atlas V in the 511 configuration. The launch was successful.

On 29 March 2022, the Long March 6A rocket performed its maiden launch, successfully reaching orbit.

On 29 April 2022, the Angara 1.2 rocket had its maiden launch, successfully reaching orbit.

On 2 May 2022, Rocket Lab attempted first mid-air helicopter capture of the first stage of their Electron rocket. Attempt was successful at initially grabbing the rocket, but the vehicle was dropped in order to ensure the safety of the helicopter and its pilot.[21]

On 13 July 2022, Vega-C had its debut flight during which it delivered the LARES 2 and six other satellites from French Guiana to orbit.[22]

On 27 July 2022, CAS Space's ZK-1A rocket performed its maiden launch, successfully sending six satellites into orbit.

On 7 August 2022, SSLV had its debut flight. However, due to the final VTM stage failure, the stage as well as the two satellite payloads were injected into an unstable elliptical orbit measuring 356 km x 76 km and subsequently destroyed upon reentry.[23] According to the ISRO, the mission software failed to identify and correct a sensor fault in the VTM stage.[24]

On 16 November 2022, Artemis 1 saw the debut flight of NASA's Space Launch System, which is designed to return humans to the Moon in the Artemis program.[25][26]

Space debris and satellites management

According to a space monitoring company, in January a Chinese satellite, SJ-21, grabbed an unused satellite and "threw" it into an orbit with a lower risk for the space debris to collide.[27][28] In March, the IAU announced the Centre for the Protection of the Dark and Quiet Sky from Satellite Constellation Interference to coordinate or aggregate measures to mitigate the detrimental effects of satellite constellations on astronomy.[29][30][31] On March 4, for the first time, human space debris – most likely a spent rocket body, Long March 3C third stage from the 2014 Chang'e 5 T1 mission – unintentionally hit the lunar surface, creating an unexpected double crater.[32][33]

Consequences of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

See also: International sanctions during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, a large number of countries imposed further international sanctions against individuals, businesses and officials from Russia, Crimea and Belarus.[34][35] Russia responded with sanctions against a number of countries. This led to tensions between the Russian space agency and its partners.

Orbital and suborbital launches

Main articles: List of spaceflight launches in January–June 2022 and List of spaceflight launches in July–December 2022

List of orbital launches
Month Num. of successes Num. of failures Num. of partial failures
January 8 0 0
February 12 1 0
March 12 0 0
April 14 0 0
May 11 1 0
June 15 1 0
July 16 0 0
August 17 1 0
September 16 0 0
October 21 1 1
November 19 0 0
December TBD TBD TBD
Total 161 5 1

Deep-space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
23 June BepiColombo Second gravity assist at Mercury
3 September Solar Orbiter Third gravity assist at Venus This is the first fly-by of Venus that increased Solar Orbiter's orbital inclination relative to the Sun.[40]
26 September Double Asteroid Redirection Test Impact at a minor planet moon Dimorphos DART kinetically impacted Dimorphos, the minor-planet moon of the 65803 Didymos binary asteroid system. It also performed a flyby of Didymos.[41]
26 September LICIACube Flyby of asteroids LICIACube flew by the 65803 Didymos binary asteroid system at a targeted altitude of 55 km (34 mi).
29 September Juno 45th perijove On this perijove, Juno flew by Europa at a distance of 352 km (219 mi). Orbital period around Jupiter reduced to 38 days.[1]
16 October Lucy First gravity assist at Earth Target altitude: 300 km (190 mi).
14 November CAPSTONE Lunar orbital insertion First mission to use a Near-rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon
21 November Artemis 1 Powered flyby of the Moon Target altitude: 60 nmi (110 km)
25 November Artemis 1 Distant Retrograde Orbit insertion at the Moon Second mission ever to use a Distant Retrograde Orbit around the Moon
11 December [42] Artemis 1 Splashdown at Earth
16 December Danuri Lunar orbital insertion

Extravehicular activities (EVAs)

See also: List of spacewalks since 2015

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
19 January 2022
12:17
7 hours, 11 minutes 19:28 Expedition 66

Poisk Airlock

Russia Anton Shkaplerov

Russia Pyotr Dubrov

Spacewalk to connect the Prichal Node Module to the ISS. Tasks included: relocating the Strela crane over to Nauka so it can be used as a translation path for this spacewalk and the next one, connecting telemetry and power cables installing handrails, relocating television cameras and docking antennas, installing docking targets, and jettisoning unneeded hardware and trash.[43][44][45]

15 March 2022
12:11
6 hours, 54 minutes 19:06 Expedition 66
ISS Quest
United States Raja Chari
United States Kayla Barron
First spacewalk to install the IROSA mounting brackets on the S4 Truss. Task included installing the struts, mounting brackets, and triangles at the 3A Array in preparation for the delivery of the IROSA solar arrays on SpaceX CRS-25 at the end of May. The astronauts also tied back insulation on S6 so Dextre can replace the Battery Charge Discharge Modules at this location which has shown signs of decay and will be replaced at a later date. As a get ahead the astronauts photographed a worn keel pin cover which has come loose on one of the pins that were used to secure the airlock in the shuttle bay when it was launched.[46][47][48]
23 March 2022
12:32
6 hours, 54 minutes 19:26 Expedition 66
ISS Quest
United States Raja Chari
Germany Matthias Maurer
The astronauts will install and vent ammonia jumpers on the P1 Truss and reposition a radiator beam valve module which has been giving them trouble. The astronauts will also route cables, install cable clamps on the Bartolomeo platform, tie back thermal insulation on the Kibo Exposed Facility Berthing Mechanism, break torque on the P4 electronics boxes, replace Camera 8 on the truss which has a bad filter and light, outfit the radiator grapple bars for a future spacewalk, and also do other maintenance tasks outside the station.[49]
18 April 2022
14:01
6 hours, 37 minutes 21:37 Expedition 67

Poisk Airlock

Russia Oleg Artemyev
Russia Denis Matveev
Third spacewalk in a series to activate Nauka and Prichal and to commission ERA. During the spacewalk the cosmonauts will remove covers and install electrical cables so ERA can be activated at the end of the spacewalk. They will also install handrails, experiments, and work platforms outside, and break torque on bolts that secure ERA to the lab.[50]
28 April 2022
10:58
7 hours, 42 minutes 18:40 Expedition 67

Poisk Airlock

Russia Oleg Artemyev
Russia Denis Matveev
Fourth spacewalk in a series to activate Nauka and Prichal and to commission ERA. During the spacewalk the cosmonauts will jettison thermal cover, release launch locks, and lube the joints and the grapple fixtures before they walk off the arm to its stowage point on the side of the lab in preparation for its first grapple at the end of the spacewalk.[50]

Artemyev and Matveev completed their major objectives during the spacewalk, which included monitoring the first commanded movements of the robotic arm from its grapple fixtures after removing thermal blankets and launch locks. The duo monitored the robotic arm as its end effectors translated one at a time to a new base points. The crew also installed more handrails on Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Shortly after the spacewalk ended, cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov completed the grapple of the second of the two end effectors on the new European Robotic Arm to a grapple mechanism on the Nauka module to successfully wrap up the major tasks of the excursion.[51]

21 July 2022

14:50

7 hours, 5 minutes 21:55 Expedition 67

Poisk Airlock

Russia Oleg Artemyev
Italy Samantha Cristoforetti
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti worked on the ERA robotic arm as part of the work scheduled to commission the Nauka module and robotic arm. They launched two Tsiolkovsky-Ryazan (No. 1-2) and eight YUZGU-55 (No. 5-12) satellites, installed an ERA grapple point on Poisk to facilitate future relocation of the experiment airlock on the next spacewalk, translated a work platform over to Nauka, reconfigured ERA and set the control panel from grapple mode to stowed, replaced a camera port window on ERA that prevented grappling on the previous spacewalk, replaced MLI blankets on Nauka that were knocked loose by the thruster firings when the module arrived, and installed retainers on Strela 1 on Poisk. The final task to relocate Strela 2 on Zarya over to Poisk and install its retainer was deferred to the next spacewalk because they ran out of time and they had a late start. Cristoforetti become the first female European astronaut to perform a spacewalk, and only the third woman to perform a spacewalk using the Russian Orlan spacesuit (after Svetlana Savitskaya and Peggy Whitson).[52][53][54][55]
17 August 2022
13:53
4 hours, 1 minute 17:54 Expedition 67

Poisk Airlock

Russia Oleg Artemyev
Russia Denis Matveev
Sixth spacewalk in a series to outfit Nauka and to prepare the Russian Segment for module transfers which will take place in the fall. The primary task to install cameras on the elbow joint was completed on time and both cameras passed their telemetry checkouts. The final tasks to relocate the ERA control panel, set the arm back to "grapple mode", and remove the launch rings from the wrist of ERA will be moved to the next spacewalk. Artemyev was in the process of removing the launch ring at worksite 2 from ERA when he suffered a voltage drop in his spacesuit batteries. Mission Control Moscow ordered him back inside the airlock where he connected to internal power to recharge his suit. Because they were ahead and then behind the timeline, in light of the battery issue Mission Control Moscow gave the order to terminate the EVA at 16:34 GMT and the spacewalk concluded at 17:54 GMT, 4 hours and 1 minute into the spacewalk.[56] Artemyev was never in any danger and they will be replacing the battery before the next spacewalk. Because of the early EVA termination, the getahead task to relocate Strela 2 over to Poisk was also moved to the next spacewalk along with the other tasks.[57][58][59][60]
1 September 2022
10:26
6 hours, 7 minutes 16:33 Shenzhou 14

TSS Wentian airlock

China Chen Dong
China Liu Yang
The spacewalkers completed a series of tasks including installing an additional pump on the exterior, raising panoramic camera B, installing a workbench, demonstrating emergency return, etc. This is the first time the Wentian airlock was used, and it will be used for all future spacewalks.
2 September 2022
13:25
7 hours 47 minutes 21:12 Expedition 67

Poisk Airlock

Russia Oleg Artemyev
Russia Denis Matveev
Seventh in a series of spacewalks to outfit Nauka and to prepare ERA for operations. The spacewalkers completed the tasks that were moved from the previous two spacewalks and installed two payload adapters on Nauka. Because of time and the lack of consumables the task to break torque on bolts that secure the airlock and the radiator to Rassvet was deferred to the next spacewalk. This was the longest EVA of Expedition 67 and the final one of this mission.[61][62][63]
17 September 2022
05:35
4 hours 12 minutes 09:47 Shenzhou 14

TSS Wentian airlock

China Chen Dong
China Cai Xuzhe
The spacewalkers completed a series of tasks, including the completion of the installation of foot limiters and extravehicular workbenches, and will follow up with the support of the small robotic arm, and cooperate with each other to carry out the installation of the outboard booster handle, the installation of the load circuit expansion pump set, and the verification of the outboard rescue.
15 November 2022
14:14
7 hours 11 minutes 21:25 Expedition 68
ISS Quest
United States Josh Cassada
United States Frank Rubio
Cassada and Rubio installed the final IROSA mounting bracket on the S6 Truss at Array 1B. As part of get-ahead tasks, they prepared the 3A mounting bracket at P4 for the delivery of 2 IROSAs on the 18th and routed cables along the truss to be mated at the end of EVA 3. Because of time the they did not install the slip collars on S6 and the cable routing was partly completed. The S6 cables will be routed on a later spacewalk when IROSA arrives. [64][65][66]
17 November 2022
03:16
5 hours 34 minutes 08:50 Shenzhou 14

TSS Wentian airlock

China Chen Dong
China Cai Xuzhe
The spacewalkers completed a series of tasks, including the installation of connection device between Tianhe core cabin and Wentian experimental cabin, inter-chamber connection device between Tianhe core cabin and Mengtian experimental cabin, lifting of panoramic camera A of Wentian experimental cabin and installation of small mechanical arm power-assisted handle.
17 November 2022
14:39
6 hours 25 minutes 21:07 Expedition 68

Poisk Airlock

Russia Sergey Prokopyev
Russia Dmitry Petelin
Eighth in a series of spacewalks to outfit Nauka and to prepare ERA for operations. The spacewalkers change a grapple fixture so the airlock can be used as a base point for the arm, broke torque on bolts that secure the airlock and radiator to Rassvet, removed launch restraints from the radiator, vented nitrogen jumpers, replaced a retainer on Strela 2 with one that has a stop, and transferred a MLM outfitting work platform called the SKKO that is, the Nauka Means of attachment of large payloads over to Nauka and installed it at the ERA base point facing aft where ERA use to be when it was launched.[67][68][69]

Space debris events

See also: List of space debris producing events

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
12 November China Long March 6A upper stage Breakup 50+ Energetic fragmentation event; Cause Unknown
17 November Japan H2-A 202 Payload fairing Breakup 50+ Energetic fragmentation event; Cause Unknown

Orbital launch statistics

By country

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of orbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the launch vehicle, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. For example, Soyuz launches by Arianespace in Kourou are counted under Russia because Soyuz-2 is a Russian launch vehicle.

China: 55Europe: 3India: 5Iran: 1South Korea: 1Israel: 0Japan: 1North Korea: 0Russia: 21UK: 0USA: 80Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 China 55 54 1 0
 Europe 3 3 0 0
 India 5 4 1 0
 Iran 1 1 0 0
 Japan 1 0 1 0
 Russia 21 21 0 0 Includes Soyuz launches from Kourou and Baikonur
 South Korea 1 1 0 0
 United States 80 77 2 1 Includes Electron launches from Mahia
World 167 161 5 1

By rocket

10
20
30
40
50
60
Ariane
Astra
Atlas
Electron
Falcon
Kuaizhou
Long March
R-7
SLV
Others

By family

By type

By configuration

By spaceport

10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
China
France
India
Iran
Japan
Kazakhstan
New Zealand
Russia
South Korea
United States
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur  Kazakhstan 7 7 0 0
Cape Canaveral  United States 35 33 2 0
East China Sea  China 1 1 0 0
Jiuquan  China 22 21 1 0
Kennedy  United States 17 17 0 0
Kourou  France 4 4 0 0
Mahia  New Zealand 9 9 0 0
MARS  United States 2 2 0 0
Mojave  United States 2 2 0 0
Naro  South Korea 1 1 0 0
PSCA  United States 1 1 0 0
Plesetsk  Russia 12 12 0 0
Satish Dhawan  India 5 4 1 0
Shahrud  Iran 1 1 0 0
Taiyuan  China 12 12 0 0
Uchinoura  Japan 1 0 1 0
Vandenberg  United States 14 13 0 1
Vostochny  Russia 1 1 0 0
Wenchang  China 6 6 0 0
Xichang  China 13 13 0 0
Yellow Sea  China 1 1 0 0
Total 167 161 5 1

By orbit

25
50
75
100
125
150
Transatmospheric
Low Earth
Medium Earth / Molniya
Geosynchronous / Tundra / transfer
High Earth / Lunar transfer
Heliocentric
  •   Transatmospheric
  •   Low Earth
  •   Low Earth (ISS)
  •   Low Earth (CSS)
  •   Low Earth (SSO)
  •   Low Earth (polar)
  •   Medium Earth
  •   Molniya
  •   Geosynchronous
  •   Tundra
  •   High Earth
  •   Lunar transfer
  •   Heliocentric
  •  
Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric 0 0 0 1 SSLV-D1 was intended to reach low Earth orbit, but achieved a transatmospheric trajectory instead
Low Earth / Sun-synchronous 139 134 5 0 Including flights to ISS and Tiangong
Geosynchronous / Tundra / GTO 21 21 0 0
Medium Earth / Molniya 5 5 0 0
High Earth / Lunar transfer 2 2 0 0
Heliocentric orbit / Planetary transfer 0 0 0 0
Total 167 162 5 1

Suborbital launch statistics

By country

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of suborbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the rocket, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. Flights intended to fly below 80 km (50 mi) are omitted.

Brazil: 3Canada: 11China: 16France: 0India: 6Iran: 5Israel: 3Japan: 2The Netherlands: 3North Korea: 17Pakistan: 1Russia: 7Slovenia: 1South Korea: 5Taiwan: 0Turkey: 1United Kingdom: 1USA: 31Ukraine: 0Yemen: 5Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 Brazil 3 3 0 0
 Canada 11 11 0 0
 China 16 16 0 0
 India 6 6 0 0
 Iran 5 5 0 0
 Israel 3 3 0 0
 Japan 2 2 0 0
 Netherlands 3 2 1 0
 North Korea 17 16 1 0
 Pakistan 1 1 0 0
 Russia 7 7 0 0
 Slovenia 1 0 0 1
 South Korea 5 4 1 0
 Turkey 1 1 0 0
 United Kingdom 1 0 1 0
 United States 31 27 4 0 3 crewed flights
 Yemen 5 5 0 0
World 118 110 7 1

Planned maiden flights

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Clockwise from top:

References

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Generic references:
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