a historic and intense year 2022!

a historic and intense year 2022!

What happened in space in 2022? The meetings were numerous, some historical, all marked by the war in Ukraine which highlighted the tensions in this territory of conquest. We take stock.

2022 confirms a turning point in space that started with the beginning of this decade: thousands of satellites are now launched into space: 185 flights in 2022, with nearly 2,500 satellites sent. The war in Ukraine has changed part of the face of space, which remains the scene of innovations (such as space planes in competition between China, X-37B, and Space Rider), but also of threats (space debris for example). New competitions, new unprecedented exploration challenges: the role of space agencies is growing and budgets are rising.

The incredible appointments of the exploration of the Solar System in 2022

We can only rejoice in this new era of exploration that we are entering. The success of Artemis I launched the momentum for the return of astronautsastronauts on the moon. While constructionconstruction of international space stationinternational space station Gateway progresses, the Capstone probe of the NASANASA started testing itorbitorbit. NASA has also ordered the future spacesuits for the lunar marches, pivots in determining the date of our return to the surface. 2022 was the scene of several departures such as the first ever private mission on the surface Hakuto-R M1, with on board the small vagabondvagabond Emirati Rashid, and also the very first South Korean lunar probe KPLO (a.k.a danuri).

The Red Planet was full of surprises this year. Mars InSight recently passed away but the data has already revealed many discoveries. For its part, the rovers CuriosityCuriosity and PerseverancePerseverance continue to roam the Martian soil. Perseverance has deposited a first sample to bring back to Earth. NASA has also chosen to rely on the performance of the rover and the drone IngenuityIngenuity (20 flights in 2022, 37 total) to return the samples to the rocket back to Earth. Finally, ESA decided to save the rover ExomaresExomareswithout a Russian lander.

Finally, in 2022, there was the tremendous impact of the probe StingerStinger of NASA on theasteroidasteroid Dimorphos in order to divert his path. A promising success in case of risk of impact of the Earth by a destructive asteroid, which inspired China and also Europe.

The promises kept by science in orbit

Rarely has space been as inhabited as it is today: always more than seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and even a tourist mission. For its part, China was able to have up to six astronauts simultaneously in space, during a first crew rotation on board their now complete space station. Finally, the ESA revealed its new promotion of astronauts, including the French Sophie Adenot.

2022 is also the beginning of the James-Webb era (JWSTJWST). Launched into orbit at Christmas 2021, the space telescopespace telescope of all superlatives has been operational since last July 11, and continuously feeds us with breathtaking images. Other remarkable satellites were also deployed in 2022: the French Swot to study rivers, or the very first Chinese solar space telescope ASO-S.

The change of generation of launchers

SpaceX kept its bet: 60 flights in 2022, half of which dedicated to the deployment of the megaconstellation Stellar LinkStellar Link. The latter sees the arrival of competition with the resumption of flights OneWebOneWebafter a big break with the war in Ukraine depriving the West of rockets SoyuzSoyuz. others constellationconstellation see the light of day like that of AST Space PortablePortable and his demonstratordemonstrator gigantic Bluewalker 3, or the announcements of a future European constellation (IRIS²) and the giant deal with Amazon, reserving 18 flights Ariadne 6Ariadne 6.

On the European side, we are suffering from Ariane 6 delays.Ariadne 5Ariadne 5 makes its last flights (more than two in 2023), the Vega is getting a makeover with its more powerful Vega-C version. But the second flight (December 21) was a failure, causing the loss of two French Pleiades Neo observation satellites. There were other failures: the Zhuque-2 (China) which almost became the very first launcherlauncher orbital with methane as fuel, or even the multiple failures of Astra Space in the United States. Finally, South Korea arrives with a bang with the success of its very first launcher 100% nativenative. Indeed, sovereignty is one of the key words of space in 2022.

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