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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77 Launches Conducted During First Half of 2022 as Access to Orbit Expanded

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.

A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

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NASA, Partner to Demonstrate First-Time In-Orbit Docking of Two CubeSats

Engineers from Terran Orbital Corporation pose with the CubeSat Proximity Operations and Demonstration (CPOD) spacecraft at their facilities in California. ‘C’ is for CPOD! From left to right: Tyler Back, Dustin Holta, Nikhil Shastri, and Nella Barrera. (Credit: Terran Orbital Corporation)

NASA Mission Update

Following a successful launch to space on May 25, two small spacecraft comprising NASA’s CubeSat Proximity Operations and Demonstration (CPOD) mission will set out to perform for the first time a series of maneuvers that leads to the docking of three-unit, or 3U, CubeSats. The CPOD mission is designed and built by Terran Orbital Corporation in Irvine, California. Once CPOD’s two small spacecraft complete initial spacecraft checks, they will demonstrate the entire sequence of rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking (RPOD) in low-Earth orbit. 

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CubeSat Set to Demonstrate NASA’s Fastest Laser Link from Space

The completed TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. (Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory)

By Kendall Murphy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (PTD-3) mission, carrying the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) system, will debut on May 25 as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-5 rideshare launch. TBIRD will showcase the high-data-rate capabilities of laser communications from a CubeSat in low-Earth orbit. At 200 gigabits per second (Gbps), TBIRD will downlink data at the highest optical rate ever achieved by NASA.

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Blue Canyon Technologies Provides Multiple Spacecraft Aboard Transporter-5 Launch

Falcon 9 launches Transporter-5 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

LAFAYETTE, Colo., May 31, 2022 (Blue Canyon Technologies PR) – Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies LLC (“BCT” or “Blue Canyon”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, today announced the launch of Agile Microsat and High-Assurance Communications System Satellites, or HACSSAT, 1 & 2, aboard the Transporter-5 mission on May 25, 2022.

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Momentus Reports $26.8 Million First Quarter Net Loss

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Momentus PR) — Momentus Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTS) (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a U.S.  commercial space company that plans to offer transportation and other in-space infrastructure services, today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022.

“We’re excited to have seen momentum building last quarter as we move toward the first launch of our Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle to low earth orbit,” said Momentus Chief Executive John Rood. “We recently shipped the Vigoride spacecraft to Cape Canaveral, Florida for integration onto a SpaceX rocket. Cape Canaveral has been the site of so many historic firsts in space, and we’re looking forward to a historic first for our company when we put the Vigoride spacecraft in orbit for the first time.”

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Spaceflight Inc. Successfully Debuts its Latest OTV, Sherpa-AC

SEATTLE (Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the leading global launch services provider, today announced it has contacted its Sherpa-AC vehicle and confirmed the vehicle is operating nominally. This is the debut launch of Sherpa-AC, the latest variation in the company’s Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) portfolio. The Transporter 5 rideshare mission on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral on May 25 headed to a Sun Synchronous orbit, 525km. Spaceflight successfully delivered all five customer payloads, including two hosted payloads on the Sherpa OTV, to their desired orbital destinations.

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HawkEye 360 Launches Next-Generation Cluster 5 Satellites

Cluster 5 expands company’s capacity to meet high demand for RF analytics

HERNDON, Va. (HawkEye 360 PR) — HawkEye 360 Inc., the world’s leading commercial provider of space-based radio frequency (RF) data and analytics, today announced that its Cluster 5 satellites have successfully launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on May 25. Once Cluster 5’s on-orbit checkout is complete, the recent launches in 2022 will have doubled capacity and revisit rates, expanding HawkEye 360’s constellation to 15 satellites. This significantly boosts the constellation’s ability to serve global customer demand and to monitor activity across places such as Ukraine.

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ICEYE Successfully Completes its Largest Satellite Launch Ever, Placing Five New SAR Satellites into Orbit

The successful launch further expands the world’s largest SAR satellite constellation and includes the second and third satellites built, licensed and operated by ICEYE US.

HELSINKI, Finland and IRVINE, Calif. (ICEYE PR) — ICEYE, the global leader in persistent monitoring with radar satellite imaging and an expert in flood and natural catastrophe (NatCat) solutions, has successfully launched five new SAR satellites. All spacecraft were launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 smallsat rideshare mission via EXOLAUNCH from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Communication has successfully been established with each spacecraft. ICEYE and ICEYE US have now deployed 21 satellites since 2018, including both commercial and dedicated customer missions.

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Omnispace Spark-2™ Satellite Successfully Launches into Orbit

This Launch Completes Deployment of the ‘Omnispace Spark Program,’ Bringing the Delivery of World’s First Global Hybrid Mobile Network One Step Closer

TYSONS, Va. and TOULOUSE, France (Omnispace, LLC PR) — Omnispace and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), today announced the successful launch and delivery of “Omnispace Spark-2™” satellite into orbit. This marks the completion of the deployment phase of the “Omnispace Spark™” program, the initial phase in the company’s development and delivery of the world’s first 5G capable satellite network.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches 59 Spacecraft on Transporter-5 Mission

Falcon 9 launches Transporter-5 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Wednesday, May 25 at 2:35 p.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched Transporter-5, SpaceX’s fifth dedicated smallsat rideshare program mission, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. On board this flight were 59 spacecraft, including including CubeSats, microsats, non-deploying hosted payloads, and orbital transfer vehicles.

This was the eighth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 stage booster, which previously supported launch of Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, one Starlink mission, and Transporter-4.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Terran Orbital Delivers NASA’s CubeSat Proximity Operations Demonstration To SpaceX Transporter-5 For Launch

CubeSat Proximity Operations Demonstration (CPOD) satellite. (Credit: Terran Orbital)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital PR) – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States aerospace and defense industry, today announced it delivered its CubeSat Proximity Operations Demonstration (CPOD) satellite to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for integration into the SpaceX Transporter-5 launch vehicle.

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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.

Spire Global to Launch Five Satellites on SpaceX Transporter-5 Mission

Falcon 9 Transporter mission liftoff (Credit: SpaceX)

Launch will include three satellites and hosted payloads for Space Services, the company’s Space-as-a-Service (SPaaS) business

VIENNA, Va., May 18, 2022 (Spire Global PR) — Spire Global, Inc.(NYSE: SPIR) (“Spire” or “the Company”), a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, today announced that it will launch five satellites on the upcoming SpaceX Transporter-5 Mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch will take place this month.

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Terran Orbital Ships Fleet Space CENTAURI-5 Satellite to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX Transporter-5 Launch

Terran Orbital’s CENTAURI-5 satellite (Credit: Terran Orbital)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (Terran Orbital Corporation PR) – Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), a global leader in satellite solutions, primarily serving the United States aerospace and defense industry, today announced it shipped its CENTAURI-5 satellite to Cape Canaveral in preparation for the SpaceX Transporter-5 launch.

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