SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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Telespazio and BlackSky Strengthen Global Partnership

  • Newly signed reseller agreement enables Telespazio’s companies worldwide to commercialize BlackSky products and services
  • Telespazio Group to enrich its Geoinformation offering with BlackSky’s dynamic, high-resolution, high-revisit imagery

ROME, 24 June 2022 (Telespazio PR) — Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), has signed an updated global, non-exclusive reseller agreement with BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY) enabling Telespazio Group to make BlackSky geospatial products and services commercially available to customers world-wide.

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SpaceX Orbits 53 Starlink Satellites in 21st Falcon 9 Launch of 2022

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites to low-Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 booster on Wednesday, May 18, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first stage booster supporting the mission on Wednesday previously launched Arabsat-6A, STP-2, COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2, and one Starlink mission. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth and landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was SpaceX’s 14th launch of Starlink satellites this year, and the company’s 21st launch overall of 2022. SpaceX has launched 709 of the broadband satellites this year, and 2,653 Starlink spacecraft in all. Wikipedia reports that 2,354 satellites are currently functioning in orbit.

SpaceX has launched 860 payloads into orbit in its 21 launches. The total includes two rideshare missions with 145 small payloads, two Crew Dragon flights carrying eight astronauts to the International Space Station, two missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, and the launch of Italy’s military/civilian COSMO-SkyMed second generation Earth observation satellite.

SpaceX has said it is planning to launch more than 50 times this year. The company’s next flight is the May 25 launch of the Transporter-5 rideshare mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX Plans Launch Double Header on Wednesday

Falcon 9 launches the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is planning launches from opposite coasts within two hours of each other on Wednesday.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the NROL-87 satellite from Vandenberg Space Force in California at 3:18 p.m. EST (12:18 p.m. PST/2018 GMT). The launch is for the National Reconnaissance Office.

A Falcon 9 will launch another batch of Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:51 p.m. EST (2151 GMT).

It will be the second and third SpaceX launches in two days. A Falcon 9 launched the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Monday evening. SpaceX is aiming to launch a record 52 times this year.

SpaceX will webcast both launches beginning 15 minutes before takeoff at www.spacex.com.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches Second Generation COSMO-SkyMed Satellite

Falcon 9 launches the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)
  • The dual use Italian Constellation at the Service of Security and Sustainability
  • The enlarged 4 satellites final constellation will represent an extraordinary monitoring system guaranteeing greater performance and a significant increase in possible applications.
  • Since 2008, the COSMO-SkyMed constellation has acquired approximately 2 million images, monitoring 7 billion square meters and generating vital data for our planet

ROME, 1 February 2022 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – The second satellite of the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG) constellation, built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) and operated in orbit by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), was successfully launched today at 00.11 CET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida (USA), on board of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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SpaceX to Launch Italian Surveillance Satellite on Thursday, Starlink Satellites on Saturday

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Italian Space Agency’s COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation radar surveillance satellite tonight from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch is scheduled for 6:11 p.m. EST (2311 GMT). It will be the company’s fourth launch of the year.

After stage separation, Falcon 9 will return to Earth and land on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of Arabsat-6A and STP-2. One half of the fairings supporting this mission previously supported Transporter-1, Transporter-2, and one Starlink mission, and the other half previously supported SAOCOM 1B, Transporter-2, and one Starlink mission.

SpaceX plans to launch another group of Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Jan. 29. The launch is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT).

SpaceX will stream both launches beginning about 15 minutes before liftoff. 

Italian Space Agency Shifts Satellite Launch From Vega-C to SpaceX Falcon 9

COSMO SkyMed satellite (Credit: ASI)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Citing delays with Europe’s new Vega-C rocket, two Vega booster failures and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has shifted the launch of the second COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG-2) Earth observation satellite to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

“The delays, postponing the Vega-C Maiden Flight to Q1 2022, with a consequent tight schedule of launches in 2022, made the  launch period of CSG-2 no longer compatible with the needs of the COSMO Mission. Since Arianespace backlog was already full on Soyuz and Ariane systems in 2021, it was not possible to have a European back-up solution compliant with the CSG-2 schedule, thus an alternative solution with the US provider SpaceX has been adopted allowing to keep the CSG-2 launch within the current year,” ASI said on its website.

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