5 Space Missions to Get Excited About in 2022

2021 saw the successful launch of more than 130 orbital space missions, with NASA contributing 48 to this tally. It was the busiest year for orbital launches since the Sputnik program.

These thrilling times for the space industry will continue into 2022 because NASA and other space agencies worldwide are preparing for countless missions. Keep reading for the lowdown on the five most exciting space missions 2022 has to offer.

1. SpaceX Starship 

The SpaceX Starship will be the most powerful rocket ever launched. It can carry over 100 tons into orbit with double the thrust of Saturn V.

But wait, it gets better. The rocket is fully reusable. 

With this neat trick, SpaceX will be able to slash the cost of orbital launches, which will be critical as we enter the age of commercial space travel. The current plan is to carry out a test flight in May, assuming SpaceX can obtain a license for the launch this month. 

2. NASA Psyche 

One of the most intriguing NASA missions to space is the fascinating Psyche project. This will launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in August and land on the 16 Psyche asteroid in 2026.

Its mission is to study the metallic asteroid because it appears to be similar to the core of rocky planets. For the first time, NASA is studying an asteroid richer in metal than it is in rock or ice. 

3. ESA Icy Moons Explorer

In mid-2022, the European Space Agency will launch the Icy Moons Explorer. The craft will head for the gas giant Jupiter where it will study the moons of Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. 

These are of particular interest because they may hold liquid water below their surface. They could support basic life.

4. NASA James Webb Space Telescope

This telescope was launched on Christmas Day last year, but 2022 is when it will get its time to shine. It collects data over an area 6 times larger than the area scanned by Hubble and can see a more comprehensive range of wavelengths. 

After a very long preparation phase, it should begin sending data by the end of the summer according to the NASA 2022 schedule. The plan is to use the telescope to map early structures in our universe because the telescope will see the light from the dawn of time. 

5. NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test 

In October, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, will crash into the minor planet moon Dimorphos. 

This is being used to study how we may protect Earth from potential asteroid strikes. Using a spacecraft to deliberately impact an asteroid on a collision course with our planet may be the key to protecting ourselves for years to come. 

Keep Track of These Space Missions

2022 will be a thrilling ride for all space enthusiasts. 

To keep track of all the space programs 2022 will bring, why not sign up for a media outlet like Space Symposium to stay in the loop? With this tool at your fingertips, you’ll be in the control room for all of NASA’s space missions.

If you feel inspired to keep learning about science, dive deeper into our tech section.