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NASA Is Gearing Up for a Hot 2022, Here Are the Missions Planned for This Year

There’s a good chance 2021 will go down in history as the year that forever changed the way we do space exploration. Curiously enough though, it’s not the established space agencies that are behind that, but private space companies.
NASA launching a host of exciting missions in 2022 44 photos
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After decades of hard labor, 2021 was finally the year when all three companies owned by the world’s wackiest billionaires, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, sent their first batches of civilians to space. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX all accomplished their goals of kickstarting what may become a booming space tourism industry. Then the Russians stepped it and took cinematography to the International Space Station (ISS).

But all this time NASA was not sitting back, watching the others have all the fun, but was actually preparing the way for what may very well be its most exciting year in ages. And to get us all pumped up, the agency condensed all of the missions planned for 2022 in a two-minute video, a trailer of sorts for what’s coming this year in space exploration.

And it all starts with the James Webb Space Telescope, launched on Christmas Day and expected to return the first images of the distant Universe sometime by the middle of the year.

Also launched last year, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is expected to impact an asteroid at speeds of 15,000 mph (24,140 kph) in September or October. It will be humanity’s first real attempt at changing the trajectory of a celestial body, an essential process if we are to protect ourselves in the future from incoming asteroids.

In August, NASA will be launching the Psyche mission, a spacecraft targeting a “unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter” called… Psyche. That would be one of the first asteroids we humans discovered, all the way back in 1852.

The most important mission of the year, though, is Artemis I, the test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule that should put humans back on the Moon by the end of the decade. At the time of writing, the launch is scheduled for the first quarter of the year.

Aside from these three major missions, NASA will be sending up there a host of other technologies made to do anything from exploring black holes to studying our own planet from above. It will also continue its partnerships with private companies like SpaceX for orbital launches, but will also expand them with the launch of the first private astronaut mission to the ISS with Axiom.

Closer to our planet, NASA is planning test flights with both the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft and the electric X-57 Maxwell.

A bunch of other projects, including the testing of a new heat shield for atmospheric re-entry, and the (finally) launch of the Boeing Starliner are also planned for this year – you can have a look at them all in the very condensed video below.



 
 
 
 
 

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