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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Northrop Grumman-Built Space Sensor Satellites Launch in Support of US Space Force-8 Mission

Northrop Grumman-built GSSAP satellites collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

DULLES, Va., Jan. 21, 2022 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Two Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites were successfully launched into orbit on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket today from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as part of the U.S. Space Force (USSF)-8 mission. The two satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, will enhance space situational awareness, a top priority for the U.S. Space Force. In addition to manufacturing and delivering both GSSAP payloads, Northrop Grumman also provided the sole strap-on solid rocket booster adding propulsion to the rocket launch, as well as essential aeronautical components in support of the USSF-8 launch.  

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Critical Space Surveillance Mission for U.S. Space Force

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 2:00 p.m. EST on Jan. 21. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

Atlas V launched Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, to a near-geosynchronous orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., January 21, 2022 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command lifted off on Jan. 21 at 2:00 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 148 times with 100 percent mission success.

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ULA Atlas V to Launch USSF-8 Mission in Support of National Security on Friday

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches on the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program 3 (STP-3) mission from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The mission’s Space Test Program Satellite-6 (STPSat-6) spacecraft hosts NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) and the NASA-U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Ultraviolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., Jan. 19, 2022 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command. The launch is on track for Jan. 21, 2022 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Launch is planned for 2:00 p.m. EST. The live launch broadcast begins at 1:40 p.m. EST at www.ulalaunch.com.

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