2021 was a busy year when it came to space exploration leaps and celestial events. Humankind’s urge to conquer new frontiers of the endless expanse knew no bounds. 2022 appears to promise the same and more. Here’s a look at some of the major things lined up in the new year.
Initial milestones have already been reached in deploying the most powerful telescope made by humanity. James Webb Space telescope has been fully deployed. But what remains are some crucial calibrations that will need to be completed before the telescope sets its sight on previously unknown corners of the space.
Space tourism is slowly taking steps towards becoming more available, to the elite at least. But more progress is expected in coming years. Next space tourists to visit International Space Station would be three men from the US, Canada and Israel. There will travel to the ISS aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and will be led by the company Axiom.
NASA wants to place a space station named Gateway in orbit around the Moon. But first, it will have to study how would it be to place a spacecraft in such an orbit.
For this, it plans to put a microwave-sized satellite in orbit around the Moon. The Capstone mission, as it is called, would be launched by Rocket Lab from New Zealand.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is likely to launch Crew-4 to replace Crew-3 on the International Space Station. One of the new team, Jessica Watkins, would be the first Black woman to become a full crew member aboard the space station.
NASA has picked Boeing along with SpaceX to build spacecrafts to launch crew in space. While SpaceX has done it multiple times till now, Boeing’s Starliner program has encountered problems. It is planning to attempt an uncrewed orbital test trip to space station before its first astronaut flight.
In the same month, China is expected to further its space station program. Chinese astronauts are already working aboard Tianhe, the first module of the Tiangong space station. In 2022, China plans to launch two laboratory sections of the space station.
Russia is planning to return to Moon. Its final Moon mission, Luna 24 ended in 1976. Luna-25 mission would see a launch towards Moon’s south pole.
India may launch Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon. Indian spacecraft successfully orbitted Moon in 2019. But attempts to land a surface rover ended in a dramatic crash. India is trying again.
The month of August may see South Korea launching its first Moon mission. The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter will orbit Earth’s moon. It will test and demonstrate a number of technologies. The mission will be launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
In the same month, NASA plans to launch a mission towards an asteroid which is made up mainly of metal. The asteroid is called Psyche. The mission bears the same name.
September may witness launch of Europe and Russia launching Rosalind Franklin rover to Mars
In the same month, NASA’s DART mission may crash into an asteroid.
NASA also plans to complete a flyby of Jupiter’s satellite Europa in its Juno mission
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