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Florida Rocket Launch Schedule 2022 and beyond

Atlas V launch as seen from Hangar Beach [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]
Atlas V launch as seen from Hangar Beach [© 2019, floridareview.co.uk, all rights reserved]

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

Click here for the complete rocket launch manifest for 2021.

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.

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

Kennedy Space Center Launch Sites

The rocket launch facility on Florida’s East coast consists of two launch sites, the civilian NASA Kennedy Space Center and the military Cape Canaveral Space Force Station which make up part of the “Eastern Range”.

This is overseen by the 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”.

Upcoming Florida Rocket Launches 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.

Below is a complete list of planned rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in 2022 and where you can watch a rocket launch.

If you are interested in the Florida rocket launch schedules for 2023 or beyond, then jump straight to them here:

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

January 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.

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, WorldView Legion

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the second pair of WorldView Legion earth observation satellites for Maxar Technologies.

January 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).

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

January 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser CRS-1

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the first Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser, an unmanned fully autonomous re-usable mini space shuttle on a mission to the International Space Station. Like the space shuttle before it, Dream Chaser can land on a runway after it’s re-entry of the earth’s atmosphere.

In August 2020, the first prototype was given the name “Tenacity”.

The Dream Chaser can carry around 2,000 lbs (900 kgs) of cargo and can be fitted with a cargo module called “Shooting Star” with a capacity of a further 10,000 lbs (4,500 kgs). Unlike the main spacecraft, the cargo module cannot be returned to earth but is designed to burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

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

The Atlas V rocket will launch a ViaSat-3 communications satellite for ViaSat Inc.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, ViaSat-3/Astranis

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

This mission is now a rideshare with Astranis' first commercial communications satellite 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.

January 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.

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, O3b mPOWER 4, 5 & 6

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

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Space Adventures Dragon Mission

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on behalf of Space Adventures and will fly four space tourists into high earth orbit for between three to five days.

Unlike the Axiom mission it will not dock with the ISS but will orbit two to three times higher than the ISS orbit.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

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

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. The spacecraft is C207 Resilience which has flown once before.

Michael Lopez-Alegria is a retired astronaut and he will be joined by former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, the actor Tom Cruise and film director Doug Liman.

The Dragon spacecraft will dock with the Harmony module and stay for about a week. During that time it is expected that Cruise and Liman will shoot a movie.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

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.

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, SES-18 and 19

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES-18 and SES-19 satellites for SES.

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

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket will launch the SES-18 and SES-19 satellites for SES.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

January 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Immarsat I-6 F2

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Immarsat I-6 F2 satellite for Immarsat.

January 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, 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.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

February 4, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-7 (NASA Crew Flight 4)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 4th crew flight for NASA to the International Space Station.

The crew is likely include Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

February 24, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, CST-100 Starliner Mission 1

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the 1st operational mission of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station carrying three NASA astronauts on a six month mission. Crew will consist of Sunita Williams, Josh Cassada and Jeanette Epps.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

This flight will be followed by five further confirmed missions.

NET February 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 13 small CubeSats.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-39B.

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

Delayed from November 2018, December 2019, June and November 2020.

April 21, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, CST-100 Starliner Mission 2

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the2nd operational mission of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

April 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 is being built by the European company Thales Alenia Space.

April 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 SLC-40.

June 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser CRS-2

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the second Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

June 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.

June 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, USSF-106

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.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

June 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Galaxy 31 and 32

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

June 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Galaxy 33 and 34

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

July 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Intelsat 40e

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 40e communications satellite for Intelsat using a flight-proven stage 1 booster. The satellite is being built by Maxar Technologies.

A secondary payload is the NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution satellite (TEMPO).

August 1, 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.

August 15, 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-9 (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.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

August 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser CRS-3

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the third Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

August 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.

August 15, 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.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

September 30, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, JPSS-2

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket will launch the Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft No. 2 (JPSS-2) on behalf of NOAA and NASA.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

September 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.

November 2022 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser SRS-4

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the fourth Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

November 14, 2022 - United Launch Alliance Atlas V, CST-100 Starliner Mission 3

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the 3rd operational mission of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

December 2022 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Masten Mission One (MM1)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch nine NASA and technology experiments as well as several commercial payloads to the lunar south pole on board the Masten Space Systems XL-1 lunar lander.

December 2022 - United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, NROL-68

The Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-37B.

Quarter 4, 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.

Quarter 4, 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 on their second mission and will fly four space tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) for around an eight day stay.

The second flight will be crewed by retired astronaut Peggy Whitson and race car driver and pilot John Shoffner plus two others.

The Dragon spacecraft will dock with the Harmony module and stay for about a week.

Launch is from launch pad LC-39A.

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.

January 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 27

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 29th Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 27th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

February 1, 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, USCV-11 (NASA Crew Flight 6)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 6th crew flight for NASA to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

March 2023 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser SRS-5

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the fifth Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

March 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, Hakuto-R Moon Lander

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch Ispace’s Hakuto-R lunar lander with a rover.

March 31, 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, PACE

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite for a NASA earth science mission.

An Ocean Color Imager will study phytoplankton in the ocean whilst two polarimeters will study the properties of clouds, aerosols and the ocean.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-40.

May 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 28

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 30th Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 28th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

June 2023 - Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) Artemis 2

The 2nd launch of the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket with astronauts aboard an Orion capsule on a journey around the moon.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-39B.

Quarter 2, 2023 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, USSF-112

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch a military satellite for the U.S. Space Force as part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

August 2023 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser SRS-6

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the sixth Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station. This is the last mission as part of the original contract.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

September 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 29

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 31st Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 29th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

Quarter 3, 2023 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, USSF-87

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch a military satellite for the U.S. Space Force as part of the National Security Space Launch (NSSL ) Phase 2 contract.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

October 2023 - SpaceX Falcon 9, SATRIA

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SATRIA satellite for PSN.

October 2023 - Terran 1, Cryogenic Demonstration Mission

Relativity Space Rocket will launch their first 3D printed rocket, the Terran 1.

Launch will be from launchpad SLC-16.

Late 2023 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Griffin Mission 1 (GM1)/VIPER

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Griffin Lunar Lander carrying NASA’s water-sourcing Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (Viper) to the lunar south pole near the western edge of the Nobile Crater, as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

The Griffin lander is being built by space robotics startup Astrobotic, Pittsburgh. After landing, The Viper rover will drive down a ramp to start a 100 day mission to explore the lunar surface and try and detect water ice and other resources.

Astrobotic is also building a smaller lander called Peregrine as part of the same program. Peregrine is due to land on the Moon in 2021 after being launched by the new United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket on its very first flight.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

January 2024 - United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy, NROL-70

The Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

This is likely to be the last ever Delta IV rocket launch.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-37B.

February 2024 - United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser SRS-7

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will launch the seventh Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-41.

April 2024 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, GOES-U

A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket will launch the last of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES-R series into geostationary orbit.

GOES-R is a joint venture between NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The satellites are designed to monitor weather, oceans, the environment, lightning, solar activity and weather in space.

Launch will be from launchpad LC-39A.

May 2024 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Gateway PPE and HALO

A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket will launch the first two components of the Gateway orbiting station around the Moon.

The payload will consist of the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) manufactured by Maxar Technologies and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

Launch will be from launchpad LC-39A.

June 2024 - SpaceX Falcon 9, O3b mPOWER 10 and 11

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 4th group of two O3b mPOWER communications satellites for SES, Luxembourg.

May 2024 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, GLS-1

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the first Gateway Logistics Services mission to the Lunar Gateway using a Dragon XL spacecraft.

Launch will be from launchpad LC-39A.

September 2024 - Space Launch System, Exploration Mission 2 (EM-3) Artemis 3

The third launch of the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket with astronauts aboard an Orion capsule on a journey to the south polar region of the moon.

This will be the first crewed landing on the surface of the moon since the end of the Apollo programme.

The crew will consist of four astronauts, two will remain on the Gateway/Orion orbital station whilst the other two descend to the moon in the Human Landing System (HLS). They are expected to spend around 6 days on the surface.

Launch will be from launch pad SLC-39B.

October 2024 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Europa Clipper

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Europa Clipper spacecraft for NASA. The mission is to fly to Jupiter’s ocean moon Europa.

It is expected to arrive in April 2030 and will then spend around four Earth years observing and orbiting the moon.

It had originally been intended to launch Europa on the NASA’s own Space Launch System rocket.

Launch will be from launchpad LC-39A.

2024 - SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy, Gateway

A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket will launch a Dragon XL cargo capsule for NASA carrying up to 11,000 pounds of cargo, experiments and supplies to the Gateway orbiting station around the Moon.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

2024 - SpaceX Falcon 9, CRS 30

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 32nd Dragon spacecraft. The purpose of the mission is to take the 30th resupply cargo load to the International Space Station.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

February 1, 2025 - SpaceX Falcon 9, IMAP

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) for NASA.

Launch will be from launch pad LC-39A.

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January 2026 - SpaceX Falcon Heavy, GLS-2

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the second Gateway Logistics Services mission to the Lunar Gateway using a Dragon XL spacecraft.

Future Rocket Launch News

The number of missions from Florida continues to increase.

SpaceX

SpaceX had originally planned to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket with a crewed Dragon 2 capsule and two private fee paying passengers on a trip around the moon and back.

This mission has now been cancelled and replaced with a more ambitious launch of the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), now renamed Starship. In September 2018, SpaceX announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had signed up to fly around the moon as early as 2023 with a group of six to eight hand-picked companion artists.

In December 2020, SpaceX was awarded a contract to launch up to 28 Transport and Tracking Layer (TTL) satellites for the US military. They will be launched on two Falcon 9 rockets between September 2022 and March 2023.

Artemis

President Trump had set NASA the target of landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 under project Artemis.

At present the plan is to use the Space Launch System (SLS) in conjunction with the Orion spacecraft and a new module in Moon orbit called “Gateway”, a bit like the International Space Station orbiting Earth. As well as supporting landing on the Moon, the Gateway could also be used to support flights to Mars.

Maxar Technologies are building the power and propulsion module for launch in 2022 with Northrop Grumman constructing the habitation module for launch in 2023 with elements of the lunar lander being launched in 2024.

The Gateway module will require about six launches to get all the necessary components into orbit. The first component was originally scheduled to launch in 2022 but the latest news is that the Gateway module is no longer on the critical path for moon landings.

In May 2020, NASA awarded initial 10 month feasibility study contracts to three companies to propose human landing system designs for NASA’s planned Artemis moon landings, starting in 2024 as part of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2).

  • Blue Origin put forward their three stage Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper, which would launch on their own New Glenn Rocket System and the ULA Vulcan launch system.
  • Dynetics proposed their single stage Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corp. to launch on the ULA Vulcan launch system.
  • SpaceX is currently developing the Starship which is a fully integrated lander to be launched by their upcoming Super Heavy rocket.

It was expected that NASA would award two contracts but due to budget constraints, in April 2021, NASA announced that they had awarded a single $2.89bn contract to SpaceX to build a lander based on their Starship craft. It will be known as the Human Landing System (HLS).

Both Blue Origin and Dynetics filed lawsuits objecting to the awarding of a single contract to SpaceX. The US Government Accountability Office rejected the lawsuits in July 2021 but then Blue Origin filed another suit in the US Court of Federal Claims in August. This has resulted in further delays to the programme.

The current plan is to launch four astronauts on an SLS rocket into lunar orbit aboard an Orion spacecraft. Two crew members would then transfer to an HLS to land on the lunar surface near the south pole. After a mission lasting around a week, they would lift off from the surface of the moon, transfer back to the Orion spacecraft before returning to Earth.

Despite this contract been awarded, the planned schedule of returning humans to the surface of the moon by 2024 seems unlikely.

NASA Launch Schedules

Sources

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