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Rocket Launch Schedule 2022 in Florida

Atlas V launch viewed from the Apollo Saturn V Center viewing area [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]
Atlas V launch viewed from the Apollo Saturn V Center viewing area [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]

This page lists the complete Kennedy Space Center (KSC) rocket launch schedule for 2022 and the Cape Canaveral rocket launch schedule for 2022.

If you ever get the opportunity to watch the launch of a rocket then you do not want to miss it; it is an experience of a lifetime. Words cannot describe the sounds of a rocket blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center.

Kennedy Space Center Rocket Launch Sites

The Kennedy Space Center is actually two rocket launch sites, the civilian NASA Kennedy Space Center and the military Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Both make up part of the “Eastern Range” overseen by Space Launch Delta 45 (formerly 45th Space Wing) that also looks after nearby Patricks Space Force Base. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is the headquarters of the “Western Range”.

The current operational launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center are the two former Space Shuttle pads plus a new multi-purpose pad constructed in 2021:

  • LC-39B — NASA SLS Artemis programme
  • LC-39A — SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy
  • LC-48A — commercial launch companies

The current operational launch pads at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station are:

  • SLC-40 — SpaceX Falcon 9
  • SLC-41 — ULA Atlas V and Vulcan Centaur
  • SLC46 — Astra Space Rocket 3.3

Upcoming Rocket Launches for 2022

Below is a complete Kennedy Space Center rocket launch schedule and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station rocket launch schedule for 2022.

Note that all launch dates are provisional and are subject to change, you should always check with the Kennedy Space Center before making a special trip.

If you want to know when is the next launch from the Kennedy Space Center or the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, click here to jump straight to the next space launch from Florida and where you can watch a rocket launch.

Note that SpaceX Starlink missions are often only announced a week or so before launch.

All times are local times.

Abbreviations:

  • EDT — Eastern Daylight Time
  • EST — Eastern Standard Time (during the winter months)
  • NET — “No earlier than”
  • TBA — To be announced

Click here for the previous rocket launch schedule for 2021 and the future rocket launch schedule for 2023 and beyond.

January 6, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–5

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the 34th batch of Starlink v1.0 satellites as part of SpaceX’s own Starlink broadband network. Each of the 49 satellites weighs around 500 lb (227 kg) and over 1,900 have been launched prior to this mission with nearly 1,500 currently in service.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch window from 4:49 to 6:47 p.m. EST.

Complimentary launch viewing was available from the launch viewing area on the Atlantis North Lawn.

This mission used booster B1062 which had flown three times before and last flew on September 16, 2021 when it launched the Crew Dragon “Resilience” on the Inspriration4 flight.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Bahamas.

January 13, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Transporter 3

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the third Dedicated SSO Rideshare Transporter mission into polar orbit. The payload consisted of 105 small micro satellites and nano satellites for both commercial customers and government agencies.

Some satellites were launched directly from the second stage whilst others were piggybacked on third party orbital transfer carriers like D-Orbit, Alba Orbital Clusters and Fossa PocketPOD deployers.

Individual satellite weights ranged from 1 to 2 pounds for PocketQubes up to the Sich 2–1 satellite at 375 pounds.

The payload included:

  • 44 SuperDove Flock 4x CubeSats as part of Planet’s optical image Earth observation fleet
  • 2 ICEYE radar imaging satellites for ICEYE US from Finland
  • Capella 7 and 8, radar imaging satellites for Capella Space
  • Umbra-02 radar imaging satellite for Umbra Space
  • Sich 2–1 for the State Space Agency of Ukraine, built by Yuzhnoye
  • 5 radar remote sensing micro satellites for ICEYE
  • 8 Tevel amateur radio communications satellites developed by the Herzliya Science Center, Israel
  • EASAT-2 built by the European University of the Degrees in Aerospace Engineering in Aircraft and in Telecommunication Systems Engineering, Spain
  • FOSSASAT-2E5 and 2E6 satellites for FOSSA Systems, Spain
  • HADES amateur radio communications satellite for AMSAT EA, Spain
  • 5 Lemur-2 weather and ship tracking CubeSats for Spire Global
  • 4 Kepler data relay satellites for Kepler Communications of Canada
  • 3 MDASat-1 (Maritime Domain Awareness Satellite constellation) traffic tracking nano satellites for Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
  • ETV-A1 high definition video satellite for Sen from the United Kingdom
  • HYPSO-1 colour-sensitive hyperspectral imager to monitor oceans for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Gossamer-Piccolomini subsurface imaging satellite for the Gossamer constellation from Lunasonde in Tucson, Arizona
  • BRO-5 maritime surveillance satellite for UnSeenLabs, France
  • DEWASAT-1 CubeSat to monitor electricity and water networks for the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
  • NuX-1 data relay technologies and a lower-power Hall effect thruster CubeSat for NuSpace, Singapore
  • IRIS-A communications demo CubeSat from Taiwan
  • LabSat, SW1FT, STORK-1 and STORK-2 CubeSats for SatRevolution, Poland
  • VZLUSat 2 technology demonstration satellite from the Czech Aerospace Research Center
  • Dodona CubeSat from University of Southern California
  • OroraTech-1 wildfire monitors satellite for OroraTech, Germany
  • Challenger earth observation picosat for Quub (Mini-Cubes), USA
  • CShark Pilot-1 for CShark, Italy
  • Delfi-PQ low-frequency array demonstrator for Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands
  • Grizu-263a satellite for the Zonguldak Bülent Ecevit University, Turkey
  • LAIKA technology demonstrator for Porkchop, Sweden
  • MDQube-Sat1 technology demonstrator for Innova Space, Argentina
  • PION-BR technology demonstrator for PION Labs, Brazil
  • SanoSat-1 weather PocketCube picosat built by Orion Space for Nepal
  • SATTLA-2A and 2B PocketCube picosats for Ariel University, Israel
  • Unicorn 1 PocketCube picosat built by Alba Orbital UG and ESA
  • Unicorn 2A, 2D, 2E and 2TA1 PocketCube picosats Alba Orbital UG
  • WISeSAT-1 and 2 for WISeKey, Switzerland

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 at 10:25 a.m. EST.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, two launch viewing opportunities were offered:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

The booster B1058, which had flown nine times before, landed back at Cape Canaveral at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1), the first time LZ-1 has been used since June last year.

Delayed from December 2021.

January 18, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–6

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched another batch of 49 Starlink satellites taking the total count of Starlink satellites launched to over 2,000 with about 1,800 still in service.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 9:02 p.m. EST.

The booster B1060 was recovered on the ASDS “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, north of the Bahamas. This booster is now one of four Block 5 boosters to make 10 flights having first lifted off in June 2020.

Both fairing halves were also recovered using the support vessel “MS Doug”.

Delayed from January 17, 2022 because of poor weather in the booster recovery zone.

January 21, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, USSF-08

The Atlas V rocket launched two military communications satellites (GSSAP 5 and 6) for the U.S. Space Force as part of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). The mission was previously known as AFSPC-08.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-41 with a launch time of 2:00 p.m. EST.

Launching viewing was available inside the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

Both areas were included in regular daily admission, click for more details on [watching a rocket launch]things-to-do/watching-a-rocket-or-shuttle-launch.

Delayed from Quarter 4, 2020, March, August and early September 2021.

January 31, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CSG2

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the sixth COSMO-SkyMed (CSG2) Earth observation satellite for the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

It was originally planned it would be launched on the Italian built Vega-C rocket but delays in the Vega programme meant it was not possible to secure a suitable launch date from the European Arianespace.

So far five COSMO-SkyMed satellites have been launched, four satellites in the first generation and one second generation (CSG1). The third and fourth second generation satellites are still scheduled to launch with Arianespace.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 6:12 p.m. EST.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, one launch viewing opportunity was offered:

  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

Read our article on best places to watch a rocket launch for more information.

The booster, B1052, is unusual in that for its first two missions in 2019 it flew as one of the side boosters on Falcon Heavy launches. For its third flight it had been converted into a standalone Falcon 9 booster.

Like the Transporter 3 launch a couple of weeks ago, the booster landed back at Cape Canaveral at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1).

Delayed from mid August, November 18 and December 14, 2021. Delayed from January 27, 28 and 29, 2022 due to inclement weather at the launch site. Delayed again from January 30, 2022 due to a cruise ship sailing into the hazard area.

February 3, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–7

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched another batch of 49 Starlink satellites bring the total so far to 2091.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 1:13 p.m. EST.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, two launch viewing opportunities were offered:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

The booster B1061 had flown on five previous occasions, the last being on December 9, 2021.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately a geomagnetic solar storm caused around 38 of the satellites to drop out of orbit and burn up on re-entry.

Delayed from January 29, 30 and 31, 2022 because of slippage of the SpaceX CSG2 launch. Delayed from February 2, 2022.

February 10, 2022 - Astra Space Rocket 3.3, VCLS Demo 2, ELaNa 41

A new customer to Florida, Astra Space launched a second demo flight with their Rocket 3.3 with four cubesat satellites as part of NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) programme.

Prior to this launch attempt, Astra had had one successful launch, from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA), formerly known as Kodiak Launch Complex.

The VCLS Demo 2 mission was named ELaNa 41 after Educational Launch of Nanosatellites.

The four cubesat satellites were:

  • QubeSat also from University of California, testing a very small gyroscope
  • Ionospheric Neutron Content Analyzer (INCA) from New Mexico State University, testing space weather models
  • BAMA 1 from the University of Alabama, drag sail demonstrator
  • R5-S1 from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, testing speed and efficiency of CubeSats designs

Launch was from launchpad SLC-46 with a launch window starting at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Unfortunately after a successful launch, the second stage tumbled out of control when the second stage engine ignited and the payload was lost. Further investigations revealed there was a technical issue with the fairing separation mechanism and a fault with the upper stage thrust vector control system.

Originally the manifest included two Radio Interferometry Experiment (CURIE) CubeSats from the University of California, Berkeley for detecting solar activity but they were not ready in time and will fly on a future mission.

Delayed from February 5, 2022 due to an issue with the range equipment. Delayed from February 7, 2022 due to a telemetry issue.

February 21, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–8

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 46 Starlink satellites, slightly fewer than the normal 49 satellites. These were launched into a higher orbit following the loss of most of the previous Starlink mission payload due to a solar storm.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 9:44 a.m. EST.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, two complimentary launch viewing opportunities were offered:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center

The booster B1058 had flown on ten previous occasions and this was the third flight for the two payload fairing halves.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of the Bahamas.

Delayed from February 20, 2022 due to bad weather in the recovery zone.

NET March 1, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, GOES-T

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket launched a third Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) for NASA and NOAA.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, two launch viewing opportunities were offered:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area (included with daily admission)
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area at the Apollo/Saturn V Center ($20 in addition to daily admission)

You can find more information on the best places to watch a rocket launch.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-41 with a launch window from 4:38 to 6:38 p.m. EST.

Delayed from December 7, 2021, January 8 and February 16, 2022.

March 3, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–9

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 47 Starlink satellites.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 9:25 a.m. EST.

As the launch was during normal operating hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, complimentary launch viewing opportunities were offered:

  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area

The booster B1060 had flown on ten previous occasions. The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Cape Canaveral.

This launched marked nine SpaceX Falcon 9 launches in the first nine weeks of 2022.

March 9, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–10

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 48 Starlink satellites bringing the total operational Starlink satellites to over 2,000.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 8:45 a.m. EST.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of the Bahamas.

Booster B1052 made its fourth successful flight.

The Starlink 4–10 launch was the tenth successful SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in as many weeks this year (two missions launched from California and eight from Florida).

March 19, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–12

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 53 Starlink satellites, bringing the total to 2,335 with over 2,000 operational and in orbit.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 12:42 a.m. EDT.

The booster B1051 had flown on 11 previous occasions and its twelfth flight set a new record.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the Carolinas.

April 1, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Transporter 4

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the fourth Transporter mission which is a rideshare flight.

The payload consisted of the large Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMAP) hyperspectral imaging satellite for the Germany space agency DLR. This was deployed first and then the second stage rocket made two further burns before deploying the remaining 39 small micro satellites and nano satellites for both commercial customers and government agencies.

The remaining payload included:

  • 5 NewSat Earth imaging satellites for Satellogic, Argentina
  • 3 HawkEye RF monitoring satellites for HawkEye 360, USA
  • 2 Omnispace prototypes for 5G communications
  • Shakuntala hyperspectral satellite imagery technology demonstrator for Pixxel, India
  • Lynk Tower 1 mobile phone communications satellite for Lynk Global, Virginia
  • MP42 for NanoAvionics, Lithuania
  • BRO-7 maritime surveillance CubeSat for UnseenLabs, France
  • 6 ARCSAT UHF tactical communications for the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment
  • BDSAT technology demonstrator for the Czech Republic
  • AlfaCrux technology demonstrator for the University of Brasilia, Brazil
  • 12 picosatellites for Swarm Technologies

A separate Italian D-Orbit satellite carrier deployed seven satellites including:

  • 4 satellites to detect and locate radio frequency transmission for Kleos Space, Luxembourg
  • 3 CubeSats for Chile

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 12:24 p.m. EDT.

Booster B1061 made its seventh launch and was recovered to the ASDS “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean between Cuba and the Bahamas.

April 8, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Axiom Space-1 (AX-1)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Crew Dragon spacecraft “Endeavour” on behalf of Axiom Space and flew four space “tourists” to the International Space Station (ISS) for around a one week stay. Axiom Space are saying this is not a typical tourist mission and all the members of the crew will be conducting experiments whilst on the ISS for organisations like ISS National Lab, Mayo Clinic, Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Ramon Foundation.

Crew Dragon “Endeavour” has flown twice before.

The crew consists of:

  • Michael Lopez-Alegria, retired astronaut and VP of Axiom Space — Commander
  • Larry Conner — Mission Pilot
  • Eytan Stibbem former Israeli fighter pilot — Mission Specialist 1
  • Mark Pathy — Mission Specialist 1

The Dragon spacecraft docked with the Harmony module and the original plan was to stay for little over a week. This was the first all private civilian crew to dock at the ISS.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 11:17 a.m. EDT.

Booster B1062 completed its fifth launch and second crewed flight and landed on the ASDS “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, around 340 miles from Cape Cananeral.

As this was crewed launch during the normal operational hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in anticipation of larger crowds, anyone wanting to view the launch at the complex had to pre-purchase one of three ticket packages to gain admission.

The Crew Dragon “Endeavour” was scheduled to depart the ISS on April 19 but bad weather in the recovery zones, delayed the undocking until April 24 which pushed back the launch of the next NASA mission.

SpaceX announced the deal with Axiom Space in March 2020. Tickets are expected to cost around $55 million per seat. On June 2, 2021 Axiom signed up for a further three flights.

Currently NASA are allowing up to two “private” astronaut missions to the ISS each year.

Originally the actor Tom Cruise and film director Doug Liman were expected to launch on AX-1 but they will now fly on a later mission. During the time at the ISS it was expected that Cruise and Liman would shoot a movie.

Delayed from February 21, 2021 and March 30, 2022. Delayed from April 3, 2022 due to technical issues with NASA’s SLS rocket being tested for the upcoming Artemis 1 lunar mission on the nearby launchpad LC-39B. Delayed from April 6, 2022 due to issues with the Dragon spacecraft.

April 21, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched another batch of 53 Starlink satellites bringing the total launched so far to 2,388 of which some 2,121 are still operational.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 1:51 p.m. EDT.

Booster B1058 had already launched 11 times before and was successfully recovered to the ASDS “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean east of Charleston, South Carolina.

NET April 27, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-4 (NASA Crew Flight 4)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the fourth new Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission was to take the 4th crew flight for NASA to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft C211 has been named “Freedom”.

The crew consists of:

  • Kjell Lindgren (NASA) — Commander
  • Robert Hines (NASA) — Pilot
  • Samantha Cristoforetti (ESA) — Mission Specialist
  • Jessica Watkins (NASA) — Mission Specialist

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 3:52 a.m. EDT.

As this was crewed launch and it was originally during the normal operational hours of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in anticipation of larger crowds, anyone wanting to view the launch at the complex had to pre-purchase one of two ticket packages to gain admission:

  • Feel the Fun package — from the Atlantis North Lawn in the main complex
  • Feel the Heat package — the closest viewing option at Banana Creek next to the Apollo/Saturn V building

Prices ranged from $149 to $250 and include a 2-day admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, souvenirs and a complementary meal. Read about the launch viewing ticket package options for more details.

This mission used booster B1067 which had flown three times before. it landed on the ASDS “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Delayed from February 4, 2022. Delayed from April 15, 2022 due to push back of the Axiom AX-1 mission. Delayed from April 19, 2022 to complete final prelaunch operations following the Axiom launch on April 8.

Delayed from April 23 and 26, 2022 due to bad weather in the recovery zone forcing the crew of the AX-1 mission to delay their departure from the ISS. Until their Crew Dragon had left the ISS, there was nowhere for NASA Crew Flight 4 to dock.

April 29, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–16

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 53 Starlink satellites.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 5:27 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX had already made sixteen launches this year and five this month.

The Booster B1062 had flown five times before, the most recent being on April 8, 2022 just 21 days ago, a new turnaround record.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Florida coastline.

May 6, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–17

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a further batch of 53 Starlink satellites.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 5:42 a.m. EDT.

The booster B1058 had flown on 11 previous occasions and is the third booster to complete twelve missions.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Charleston, South Carolina.

Delayed from May 5, 2022.

May 16, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–15

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 53 Starlink satellites bringing the total Starlink satellites launched to over 2,600. It is estimated that some 2,200 are currently operational.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 4:40 p.m. EDT.

This mission used a brand new booster B1073.

The booster was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “Just Read the Instructions”, in the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX has now launched and recovered 20 Falcon 9 rockets so far in 2022 with 16 lifting off from the Cape.

Delayed from May 8, 2022.

May, 18 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink 4–18

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a batch of 53 Starlink satellites.

Launch was from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 6:59 a.m. EDT.

Moved up from May 21, 2022.

The booster B1052 had flown four times before and was recovered to the Autonomous Drone Ship (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas”, in the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Cape Canaveral.

This marks the 20th launch from the Cape so far this year with two more launches scheduled for May.

May 19, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2)

Following the issues with the first test flight of the unmanned Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew module to the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2019, Boeing and NASA decided to attempt a second unmanned test mission before their first crewed mission.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the unmanned Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the ISS. Having spent around a week at the ISS, the Starliner will return to Earth and land in the western United States.

Launch was from launch pad SLC-41 with a launch time of 6:54 p.m. EDT.

Originally as this was a special launch, to gain admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSC) on launch day, you had to purchase a special launch viewing package, regular one day, multi-day tickets or annual passes were not admissible.

When the launch was rescheduled for May 2022, KSC dropped the need for a special ticket to get admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex but were offering launch viewing from (standard admission ticket still required):

  • LC-39 Observation Gantry, closest viewing at $49 (now sold out)
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area, priced at $20
  • Atlantis North Lawn Viewing Area, complimentary viewing

Delayed from Quarter 3, 2020. Delayed from January 4 and 5, 2021. Moved up from March 29, 2021 and then moved back to April 2, 2021.

Bad weather and power cuts in Texas resulted in a week long halt to software testing. Coupled with that, a Russian Soyuz capsule was due to dock on April 9 followed by a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule departing the ISS on April 17 and then the next Crew Dragon due to arrive April 22.

As a result the Starliner launch slipped into May 2021 at the earliest.

In April it was announced it would most likely be further delayed to the August/September timeframe due to docking port availability at the ISS and United Launch Alliance booster availability.

Delayed from July 30, 2021 due to a malfunction on the newly arrived Russian Nauka module at the ISS when its thrusters fired unexpectedly.

Launch scrubbed on August 3 due to technical issues with 13 propulsion system valves in the service module that are part of the abort system being stuck in the closed position.

After moving the rocket back to ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility to further investigate the problems, all but 4 of the valves were freed. It was suspected that water vapour in the air reacted with the oxidiser chemicals in the fuel system causing corrosion, following a torrential downpour the day before the planned lift-off.

There was a limited launch window for Starliner as a SpaceX Cargo Dragon capsule was scheduled to arrive at the ISS on August 28 and use the same docking port which meant the Starliner would have to launch no later than August 20.

The next launch from the SLC-41 pad was another Atlas V rocket carrying the Lucy asteroid mission satellite in mid October. If the Lucy mission missed its launch window, the mission would be delayed by a year.

After over a week of trying to resolve the issues whilst at the launch site, the decision was taken to move the capsule back to the Boeing Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (former Orbiter Processing Facility 3) at the Kennedy Space Center.

Delayed from November 2021 and then pushed back into 2022.

May 25, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Transporter 5

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the fifth Transporter mission which is a rideshare flight. The payload consists of a number of small micro satellites and nano satellites for both commercial customers and government agencies.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40 with a launch time of 2:35 p.m. EDT.

The booster will return to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

It was originally planned to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

June 7, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 25

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 27th Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 25th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 11:30 a.m. EDT.

The booster B1067 has flown four times before.

Delayed from May 1, 2022.

June, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Nilesat 301

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Nilesat 301 communications satellite for the Egyptian company Nilesat. The Nilesat 301 satellite has been built by the European company Thales Alenia Space.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

It is expected that booster B1052 will be used for its fifth launch.

Delayed from April 30, 2022.

June, 2022 - Astra Space Rocket 3.3, TROPICS 1 & 2

Following the failed launch in February, Astra Space are launching two small cubesats for NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS). The satellites will measure inner-core conditions of tropical cyclones.

Launch is from launchpad SLC-46.

Delayed from April 2022.

NET June, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, O3b mPOWER 1, 2 & 3

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the first group of three O3b mPOWER communications satellites for SES, Luxembourg.

The satellites have been built by Boeing.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Delayed from May 2022.

June 18, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, SBIRS GEO 6

The Atlas V rocket will launch the sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite (SBIRS), for the U.S. Space Force. The SBIRS GEO are for missile early-warning detection.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

June, 2022 - Astra Space Rocket 3.3, TROPICS 3 & 4

Astra Space are launching the second pair of small cubesats for NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS).

Launch is from launchpad SLC-46.

Delayed from April 2022.

June/July, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, SES-22

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES-22 satellite for SES. The satellite has been built by Northrop Grumman.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

July, 2022 - Astra Space Rocket 3.3, TROPICS 5 & 6

Astra Space are launching the third pair of small cubesats for NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS).

Launch is from launchpad SLC-46.

Delayed from April 2022.

July, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, USSF-12

The Atlas V rocket will launch a payload for the U.S. Space Force including a Wide Field of View Testbed missile-warning satellite (WFOV).

The mission will also launch additional rideshare payloads.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from January 2022 and from April 2022 due to a request by US Space Systems Command.

July, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, WorldView Legion 1 & 2

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the first two of six WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites for Maxar Technologies.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40.

Delayed from January and September 2021. Delayed from March, May and June 2022.

Quarter 3, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, IM-1/Nova-C

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the first Nova-C lunar lander for Intuitive Machines. Intuitive Machines hope to be the first commercial company to successfully land a lunar lander on the surface of the Moon as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract.

A secondary payload is Ispace’s Hakuto-R lunar lander.

The NASA payload consists of five science instruments; a retroreflector, a navigation doppler lidar, radio wave observation sensors, stereo cameras and a navigation demo payload.

The lander will attempt to deliver the payloads to the Ocean of Storms region on the moon.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

August 1, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Psyche

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch a NASA exploration mission to the large metallic asteroid named Psyche as part of NASA’s Discovery programme. This will be NASA’s first primary mission flying on an Falcon Heavy.

There will also be two secondary smallsat payloads, Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE) which will study the Martian atmosphere and Janus, which will study pairs of binary asteroids.

After liftoff the spacecraft will perform a Mars flyby in 2023 en route to Psyche. Once it arrives at Psyche in January 2026 it will orbit the asteroid.

Psyche is one of the largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and consists mainly of iron and nickel.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 2:26 p.m. EDT.

The Psyche mission will use three brand new boosters, B1072 and B1075 for the side boosters and B1074 for the core.

NET August, 2022 - Space Launch System, Artemis 1

The first launch of the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket which replaces the cancelled Constellation programme and the retired Space Shuttle programme. Originally called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) the mission is now known as Artemis 1.

The SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built with 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The rocket consists of two Northrop Grumman solid-propellant boosters and four refurbished and upgraded Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 main engines from the Space Shuttle programme.

Segments of the solid rocket boosters are also repurposed from the shuttle programme.

The mission will be to send an unmanned Orion capsule around the moon and deploy 10 (originally 13) small rideshare CubeSat payloads deployed from the Orion Stage Adapter.

Three payloads have been withdrawn from the launch due to various delays. These include the Lunar Flashlight built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Flashlight is designed to shine laser beams into the dark craters on the Moon to ascertain the composition and if they contain water ice.

Two further small satellites developed at Cornell University, called the Cislunar Explorers will also miss the mission, as will the CU-E3 from the University of Colorado that was set to test deep space communications.

This leaves 10 small CubeSat payloads to be deployed in lunar orbit:

  • ArgoMoon – take high resolution images of the upper stage of the SLS after deployment of the Orion Stage Adapter (Italian Space Agency and Argotec)
  • BioSentinel – investigate deep space radiation (NASA’s Ames Research Center, California)
  • CuSP – observe particles and the magnetic field around the Sun (Southwest Research Institute)
  • EQUULEUS – image Earth’s plasmasphere (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the University of Tokyo)
  • LunaH-Map (Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper) – map the hydrogen content of the South Pole (Arizona State University)
  • Lunar IceCube – check for water and organic molecules using an infrared spectrometer (Moorhead State University, Kentucky)
  • LunIR – collect thermal imagery of the Moon’s surface using infrared imaging (Lockheed Martin)
  • NEA Scout – perform a flyby of a small asteroid using a solar sail (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • OMOTENASHI – attempt a “semi-hard” landing on the lunar surface powered by a solid rocket motor (JAXA and the University of Tokyo)
  • Team Miles – test a small plasma drive into deep space (Miles Space and Fluid & Reason LLC)

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-39B, one of the two former shuttle launch pads with a launch window of 12:48 to 2:48 p.m. EDT.

Launch windows were between April 8 and 23, between May 7 and 21, between June 6 and 16 and between June 29 and July 12.

Unlike on the previous Shuttle programme, the boosters will not be recovered after lift-off.

On its return, the Orion capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

Delayed from November 2018, December 2019, June and November 2020. Delayed from February 12, March, April and May 2022. Delayed from June 6, 2022 due to issues during the “wet” dress rehearsal at the pad.

August 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, SES-20 & SES-21

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket will launch the SES-20 and SES-21 satellites for SES. Both satellites have been built by Boeing.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from June 2022.

August 15, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, ViaSat-3/Astranis

A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket will launch the third of three ViaSat-3 communications satellite for ViaSat Inc. directly into geostationary orbit.

This mission is now a rideshare with Astranis' first commercial communications satellite Aurora 4A that will service internet customers in Alaska. Previously Astranis were scheduled to launch their satellite on a Falcon 9 but switched to a Falcon Heavy to speed up the time taken to reach geostationary orbit.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A with a launch time of 2:26 p.m. EDT.

Boosters B1052 and B1053 have been allocated to this mission as the two side boosters with the brand new B1068 for the core. B1052 and B1053 have both flown before.

Delayed from quarter 2, 2022.

Quarter 3, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, SES-18 and 19

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES-18 and SES-19 satellites for SES. Both satellites have been built by Northrop Grumman.

September 1, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-5 (NASA Crew Flight 5)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 5th crew flight for NASA to the International Space Station.

The crew consists of:

  • Nicole Mann (NASA) — Commander
  • Josh Cassada (NASA) — Spacecraft Pilot
  • Koichi Wakata (JAXA) — Mission Specialist
  • Anna Kikina (Russia) — Mission Specialist

Both Mann and Cassada were scheduled to fly on a Boeing Starliner but have been switch to SpaceX after further delays in the Starliner program.

This will be the first time a Russian cosmonaut has flown with SpaceX.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

October 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 26

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 28th Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 26th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40.

Delayed from September 2022.

October, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Transporter 6

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the sixth Transporter mission which is a rideshare flight. The payload consists of a number of small micro satellites and nano satellites for both commercial customers and government agencies.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40.

October 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, US Space Force 52 (USSF-52)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch a classified payload (formerly known as AFSPC-52) for the U.S. Space Force.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

Delayed from October 2021 “based on launch manifest priorities”. This follows the delay to the previous Falcon Heavy mission. Delayed from Quarter 2, 2022.

All three boosters, B1064, B1065 and B1070 are brand new but the centre core booster B1070 will likely be expended.

November 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, US Space Force 67 (USSF-67)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch a classified payload (formerly known as AFSPC-67) for the U.S. Space Force as part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract. This mission may be switched to a regular single core Falcon 9.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

NET November 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Polaris Dawn

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an up to five day flight.

The mission goals include an attempt to reach the highest Earth orbit ever achieved by a manned spacecraft, the first commercial space walk, testing the Starlink laser-based communications, various human health experiments like space sickness and radiation and demonstrating new innovative technologies.

The current Earth orbit record is Gemini 11 which in 1966 reached an altitude of 853 miles. For comparison the International Space Station orbits at around 250 miles.

The crew consists of:

  • Jared Isaacman - Commander
  • Scott “Kidd” Poteet - Spacecraft Pilot (retired US Air Force)
  • Sarah Gillis - Mission Specialist (SpaceX astronaut training program)
  • Anna Menon - Mission Specialist (SpaceX mission director)

At an altitude of around 310 miles, two of the crew members will exit the Crew Dragon spacecraft on tethers wearing SpaceX designed extravehicular activity (EVA) pressurised spacesuits. As the Dragon craft does not have an airlock, all crew members will have to wear EVA spacesuits. This would be the first time anyone has ever exited a Dragon spacecraft in flight.

Jared Isaacman is the billionaire owner of Shift4 Payments who bankrolled the Inspiration4 mission in 2021. He is planning a total of three Polaris missions, two flying on a Falcon 9 and the third on the first manned SpaceX Starship flight.

Like the Inspiration4 flight, the Polaris programme will also benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which benefited to the sum of $243 million from the Inspiration4 flight.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

NET December, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, US Space Force 44 (USSF-44)

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch two classified payloads (formerly known as AFSPC-44) for the U.S. Space Force. There is a secondary payload, the Tetra-1 micro-satellite developed by Millennium Space Systems.

For the first time, the SpaceX mission will attempt to launch the payload directly into geostationary orbit (GEO).

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

On the three previous Falcon Heavy launches, the two side boosters have landed back at the Cape at pads LZ-1 and LZ-2 but SpaceX has yet to successfully recover the special centre core.

On the first and third attempts, the centre booster missed the autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) and though the booster made a successful landing on the second attempt it then toppled over due to heavy seas.

For the USSF-44 mission, it is expected that SpaceX will attempt to recover both side boosters on their two ASDS barges, “Of Course I Still Love You” and “A Shortfall of Gravitas“.

Boosters B1064, B1065 will have flown once before on a previous Falcon Heavy mission, USSF-52. The centre core booster B1066 will likely be expended.

Delayed from Quarter 4, 2020 and Quarter 2, 2021. Delayed from July 2021 to “accommodate payload readiness”, presumably due to delays in the USSF-44 payload. The second Falcon Heavy launch, USSF-52 has likewise been pushed back from October 2021 to 2022.

In October 2021 it was announced that “payload readiness“ issued have further delayed the launch until early 2022. Launch was predicted for June 2022 but it was further delayed until December 2022.

Quarter 4, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, GPS III SV06

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 6th third-generation GPS satellite “Amelia Earhart” for the U.S. Air Force.

Launch is from launch pad SLC-40.

Quarter 4, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT)

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the 1st crewed test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station carrying three NASA astronauts. This follows two unmanned test flights OFT-1 and OFT-2.

It was originally going to be a short mission of a couple of weeks but due to the delays in the Starliner program, it has been extended to a two to four month mission. At the end of the mission the spacecraft will land at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

This will be the first time that an Atlas V rocket has launch with astronauts on board.

Crew will consist of three NASA astronauts:

  • Barry Wilmore — Commander
  • Michael Fincke — Pilot
  • TBA — Mission Specialist

This mission has seen several crew changes in the run up to launch.

The original commander was Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson but he stepped down for personal reasons and Eric Boe who was to be the pilot stepped down on medical grounds.

Nicole Mann, a former U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, was also originally assigned to this mission but has been switched to the SpaceX Crew 5 mission.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from August 2019 and Quarter 1, 2020. Then further delayed from mid 2020 following the decision to re-fly the Orbital Test Flight. Delayed from early 2021, June 2021 and quarter 4, 2021.

Quarter 4, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Peregrine

The first United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the Peregrine lunar lander for Astrobotic. Peregrine is part of the preparation for a crewed landing on the Moon in 2024 as part of NASA’s Artemis programme.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

Delayed from late 2021 and quarter 1 and 2, 2022.

Possible Launches for 2022

The following launches may take place in 2022 or be pushed into 2023.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, O3b mPOWER 7, 8 and 9

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 2nd group of three O3b mPOWER communications satellites for SES, Luxembourg.

Booster B1049 which last flew in September 2021 has already flown 10 previous missions.

## 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Amazonas Nexus

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Hispasat to provide coverage of Greenland and both North and South America.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, O3b mPOWER 7, 8 and 9

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 3rd group of three O3b mPOWER communications satellites for SES, Luxembourg.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, KPLO

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) and Lunar Impactor CubeSat for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute of South Korea.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Galaxy 31 and 32

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 satellites for Intelsat.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Galaxy 33 and 34

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Galaxy 33 and Galaxy 34 satellites for Intelsat.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, MethaneSat

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a joint American-New Zealand Earth observation satellite to study global methane emissions.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, IM-2/PRIME-1

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the second Nova-C lunar lander for Intuitive Machines as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. The lander will land on the moon’s southern polar region.

A secondary payload is the Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment 1 (PRIME-1) to search for water below the polar ice cap.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, USSF-51

A United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch a classified payload for the U.S. Space Force as part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract.

The payload was originally planned for a Vulcan Centaur launch but has been switched to an Atlas V due to delays in the new Vulcan programme.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2022 - New Glenn 1, First Demo Flight

The New Glenn 1 heavy lift rocket, named after the pioneering astronaut John Glenn, will launch on its first demonstration mission.

Developed by Blue Origin, the first stage is powered by seven BE-4 engines. These engines will also power the United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket.

The second stage is powered by two BE-3U engines. All the engines have also been developed by Blue Origin.

Like SpaceX, Blue Origin intend to recover the first stage for re-use using a floating landing platform.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-36.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Axiom Space-2 (AX-2)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on behalf of Axiom Space and will fly four space tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) for around an eight day stay. This will be the second Axiom mission and is scheduled for late 2022/early 2023.

The crew will consist of:

  • Peggy Whitson, former astronaut, now working for Axiom — commander
  • John Shoffner, racing car driver, pilot and investor

The other two crew members have not yet been announced.

The Dragon spacecraft will dock with the Harmony module and stay for up to 14 days.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Immarsat I-6 Flight 2 (F2)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Immarsat I-6 F2 satellite for Immarsat. Like Immarsat I-6 F1, F2 has been built by Airbus Defence and Space.

It is possible SpaceX may switch to a Falcon Heavy.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, WorldView Legion 3–6

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch four WorldView Legion Earth observation satellites for Maxar Technologies.

2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket, ViaSat-3

The Atlas V rocket will launch the second of three ViaSat-3 communications satellite for ViaSat Inc.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, Silent Barker

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket will launch a Silent Barker payload for the U.S. Defense Department. Silent Barker is a joint programme between the Air Force Space Command and the National Reconnaissance Office.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

2022 - Cowbell, Test Flight

New York based company RocketStar are launching their prototype aerospike powered rocket called CowBell on its first suborbital flight.

On board will be a technology demonstrator sub-surface radar imager built by Lunasonde. The radar imager is designed to be able to see up to 10 kilometres below the Earth’s surface and up to 500 metres under water.

It had originally been planned to launch Cowbell from a barge off the coast of Florida in 2019 but the launch was cancelled and the mission modified for a land based launch.

Launch is now to be from the new NASA launch pad LC-48A.

2022 Florida Rocket Launch Highlights

After SpaceX launched 25 rockets from Florida in 2020 and 28 in 2021, it is expected that the schedule for 2022 will be equally full with projections of more than 36 launches.

A number of new rockets had hoped to make their first launches in 2021 but they all slipped into 2022. These include the first crewed flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket, NASA Space Launch System, Blue Origin New Glenn rocket, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser, Firefly Aerospace Alpha and Relativity Space 3-D printed Terran 1 rocket.

Moon Lander Progress

Progress on NASA’s moon lander programme has been slow due to both budget cuts and court cases brought by both Blue Origin and Dynetics who initially lost out to SpaceX.

Originally back in April 2020, three companies were selected by NASA to produce proposals for the construction of a human moon lander module as part of the Artemis programme Human Landing System (HLS):

  • SpaceX with their Starship Super Heavy Rocket
  • Blue Origin (in conjunction with Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Draper) with the United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket
  • Dynetics with the United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket

It was expected that two companies would be selected to continue with the project but on April 30, 2021 SpaceX was the only company awarded a contract.

Both Blue Origin and Dynetics tried to get the verdict changed through the court system causing a six month stop. In September 2021, NASA found extra funds for a follow-up programme known as Lunar Exploration Transportation Services (LETS), and awarded all three companies more money to continue the work.

SpaceX Rocket Launches

SpaceX are now operating with two autonomous spaceport drone ships (ASDS) “A Shortfall of Gravitas“ and “Just Read The Instructions” based on the East coast.

Both drone ships are named after spaceships from the books of the late science fiction writer Iain M. Banks.

With the two landing zones at the Cape, this gives SpaceX the flexibility to recover up to two Falcon 9 boosters on land and two at sea at any one time.

In 2021 SpaceX abandoned attempts to catch the payload fairing halves before they hit the water but are still recovering them from the ocean and refurbishing them for future flights.

Two new Dragon recovery ships, “GO Searcher” and “GO Navigator” have taken over fairing recovery duties along with a larger vessel, “Shelia Bordelon” with a 50 ton crane to assist in fairing recovery as well as the offshore tug HOS Briarwood.

In addition, two former offshore platform supply ships named “Bob” and “Doug”, after NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have joined the fleet to assist in recovery of the two fairing halves and for towing the ASDS barges out to sea.

It is expected that 2022 will be busy as SpaceX continue with their new Starlink and ride-share missions where up to 60 small satellites are launched each time as part of their global internet service. Note that these launches are not usually added to the manifest until quite close to the launch date.

In total, SpaceX has approval to launch up to 12,000 Starlink satellites.

The three Falcon Heavy launches from Florida in 2021 have slipped into 2022 and have been joined by two further Falcon Heavy launches.

There are three SpaceX crewed missions to the International Space Station (ISS) planned for 2022. Two for NASA and one private mission organised by Axiom.

SpaceX has also restarted construction of a Starship orbital launch pad at pad LC-39A that currently supports Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) Rocket Launches

Boeing has been beset with delays with their new CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. The first unmanned demo flight to the ISS in 2019 had to be abandoned and despite hopes to fly a second demo mission in 2021, a number of technical issues have pushed this back to 2022.

The new ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket is also now scheduled to make it’s first flight in 2023 having slipped from 2021 and then 2022.

Its first stage is powered by the new Blue Origin BE-4 engines which will end the reliance on Russian built RD-180 engines as used in the Atlas V series. Delays have meant that both launches of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rockets have been pushed back.

In September 2021 ULA confirmed that they would not be ordering any more RD-180 engines and that the Atlas V rocket would be retired in the mid 2020s after the final 29 missions.

NASA Rocket Launches

One of the biggest anticipated launches of 2021 was to have been the first ever flight of the new Space Launch System, Artemis 1. This has been delayed several times over the last three years and has now been further delayed until 2022. Its launch is eagerly anticipated from the other former shuttle launch pad, LC-39B.

On March 17, 2022 NASA started a wet dress rehearsal by transporting the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft mounted on its Mobile Launcher. The complete rocket was carried on the giant Crawler-Transporter 2 (CT-2) from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to LC-39B.

The crawler was originally built to service the Apollo Saturn V moon missions 50 years ago and went on to transport the Space Shuttles.

A brand new launch pad, LC-48A is located about a mile south from shuttle pad LC-39A.

It is described as a “clean” pad to offer maximum flexibility to a range of launch customers. The pad is designed to offer quick turnaround for low-cost smaller launchers.

A company called RocketStar are planning to launch their aerospike powered rocket called CowBell.

A second pad, LC-48B could also be built close by.

Blue Origin Rocket Launches

As well as the ULA Vulcan Centaur, the New Glenn rocket from Blue Origin will also use the BE-4 engines. Blue Origin rockets will launch from SLC-36.

Like SpaceX, Blue Origin is intending to re-use the first stage with recovery at sea. In preparation for that, in 2018 they purchased a secondhand ship called the “Stena Freighter” which is being modified in Pensacola to become a mobile landing platform. It has recently been re-christened “Jacklyn” after Jeff Bezos’s mother.

Each booster is expected to have a lifetime of 25 launches.

Blue Origin had hoped to make the first test flight in July 2021 but they are now targeting late 2022.

Sierra Nevada Rocket Launches

Sierra Nevada Corporation who are building the “mini shuttle” Dream Chaser are planning to launch their spacecraft on the new United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket. First flight of the Vulcan was planned for 2021 has slipped to 2022 and then 2023.

This has had a knock-on effect and it now looks like the Dream Chaser launch will not be until 2023. Sierra Nevada has a contract for six cargo launches to the ISS.

The unmanned Dream Chasers will be recovered to the former Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Cape Canaveral, now known as Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility.

Firefly Aerospace Rocket Launches

A small-to-medium sized rocket builder, Firefly Aerospace have established a factory with a view to launching its Alpha and Beta rockets from SLC-20 (former Titan) launchpad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

There is no information at this time when Alpha or Beta rockets might launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Relativity Space Rocket Launches

Another former Titan and Pershing missile launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SLC-16 is the new home of Relativity Space.

They had intended to launch small satellites up to 2,750 lbs (1,250 kg) by the end of 2021 using their 3-D printed Terran 1 rocket powered by seven Aeon 1 engines in the first stage and a single Aeon 1 second stage. Launch date has now been pushed back to the first half of 2022.

Longer term they are planning to build the Terran R with a payload of over 44,000 lbs (20,000 kg) and reusable first and second stages. First flight is anticipated in 2024, again from LC-16.

The Terran R first stage is powered by seven Aeon R engines and the second stage by a single Aeon Vac engine. Like the spacecraft itself, the engines will also be 3-D printed and will be capable of lifting around 44,000 pounds of payload into low Earth orbit.

Astra Space Rocket Launches

Astra Space plan to use launchpad SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to launch it’s Rocket 3.3 rocket. A previous launch took place in November 2021 from Alaska.

The Rocket 3.3 is a relatively small two stage rocket with five Delphin engines. It is 42 feet tall with a payload of up to 110 pounds.

Astra Space of Alamada, California is one of three companies awarded contracts under the NASA Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contract, the others being Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California and Firefly Black LLC of Cedar Park, Texas.

Astra is expected to make three launches as part of the NASA Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats mission (TROPICS).

In conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, the six satellites will track hurricane activity. The three launches need to be completed by July 31, 2022.

Complex 46 was originally used to test Trident submarine missiles for the U.S. Navy.

Space Perspective Balloon Flights

A company called Space Perspective are planning to launch space balloon flights from the landing facility at the Kennedy Space Center.

The capsule is called Spaceship Neptune and it would take a pilot and up to eight passengers on a six hour journey. The capsule offers 360 degree panoramic views of Earth.

The balloon would lift off from Kennedy and take about two hours to ascend to 100,000 feet (about three times higher than normal commercial airliners). Guests would then spend about two hours in space before descending back to Earth.

The capsule would land on the sea and guests would then be ferried back to Kennedy by boat.

They anticipate a first crewed flight in 2023 followed by commercial launches in 2024 and already all 25 flights for 2024 are fully booked.

Ultimately they may launch from the Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, now renamed as Space Coast Airport and Spaceport.

Space Adventures Launches

Space Adventures had planned to fly four tourists on a SpaceX Crew Dragon mission similar to the privately funded Inspiration4 mission in 2021.

However, the flight has been cancelled due to a lack of suitable clients in the required timeframe. Instead on December 8, 2021 the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa flew to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA Launch Schedules

Sources

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