The 2022 space mission year will see a lot of success, from the James Webb satellite’s first images to the collision with an asteroids by a space probe, and the launch of the James Webb space telescope.  

Large rocket launches, such as those of SpaceX Starship’s first orbital test, will be another important aspect of the future space landscape.

NASA will also be testing its huge Space Launch System (SLS), rocket that will carry astronauts to the Moon in the next decade.

In 2022, the European Space Agency (ESA), Roscomos ExoMars and Roscomos ExoMars missions will continue. The launch of Rosalind Franklin Rover is also planned. 

Although we’ll be seeing the James Webb telescope’s first photos in June, it’s unclear about the objective beyond something visually striking.

NASA’s DART probe, which will be launched into an asteroidal target sometime in the Autumn of next year, will then smash into it to help propel it towards Earth.

From the first images capture by the James Webb space telescope, to a space probe colliding with an asteroid, 2022 is set to be a big year for space missions

Space missions will be in high gear this year, with 2022 being the start of the James Webb telescope’s first images and a collision between an asteroid and a space probe.

MailOnline has compiled a list of some of the most important or exciting space events that will be taking place in the next year.

James Webb telescope first pictures

James Webb Space Telescope, $10 billion (JWST), has been in development for more than 20 years. Some astronomers have waited since the 90s to get a chance at using its huge mirror to verify their theories on the origins of the universe.

The first images will not be released until six months after they are calibrated and tested. 

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been more than two decades in the making, with some astronomers waiting since the late 90s for a chance to use its giant mirror to test their theories about the early universe

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a $10 billion telescope, has been around for over two decades. Astronomers have waited in vain since the late 1990s for the chance to see its gigantic mirror and test their theories on the origins of the universe.


Webb is an Infrared Telescope, which has a greater spectrum view than Hubble. It operates farther out than Hubble in a solar orbit and not an Earth orbit. 

A telescope is described as a “time machine” that can help uncover the secrets of our universe.

It can be used for looking back at the first galaxies formed in the early universe over 13.5 billion years.

The telescope will be able to observe stars and exoplanets as well as the planets and moons in our solar system.

The operating temperature for most instruments, including the James Webb Telescope’s, is approximately 40 Kelvin.

It is approximately minus 387 Fahrenheit or minus 233 Celsius. 

James Webb was designed for five years, but NASA expects it to be in service for at least a decade.

It measures 66 feet by 46 feet and operates at 930,000 miles (roughly four times farther than the Moon) from the Sun-Earth Lagrange. 

On Christmas Day, the telescope was launched from an Ariane-5 European rocket. The first observations are expected to be made in June.

It is a joint NASA-ESA and Canadian Space Agency project. 

It’s so big, it is about as large as a tennis court. The Ariane 5 rocket carried it into space, and the folded-up Ariane 5 has gradually opened up to reveal L2. 

On Christmas Day, the giant observatory was launched. It is expected to reach L2 at the end of January with both primary and secondary mirrors deployed.

This is not the last stage. It must be cooled to almost absolute zero for several months, and calibrated individually.

The commissioning is the formal preparation of JWST’s equipment for science. 

Because mirrors move at the rate of a single blade of grass, there are 18 segments to align. The whole process can take three months.

Then, they focus the Near-Infrared Camera. This is the first of the four instruments that must be calibrated and focused before observation can start.

It is anticipated that this process will be finished four months after launch. This would mean around April 2022.

Two months of callibrating and testing the equipment aboard the telescope will follow, before the first observations can be made.

NASA has yet to reveal the name of the first target object, but astronomers say it will be something that is visually attractive, in order to showcase the observatory.

NASA has asked astronomers to release data as quickly as possible, so scientists can expect the first scientific observations or even discoveries.

Space Launch System and Artemis 

NASA will conduct the March test flight for its huge Space Launch System (SLS), rocket. The rocket is known as “the world’s strongest rocket”.

A $23 billion satellite system is anticipated to launch an entirely new generation in human space exploration. This will include sending astronauts to the Moon. 

NASA will launch the first test flight of its massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in March. It has been dubbed 'the world's most powerful rocket'

NASA will conduct the March test flight for its huge Space Launch System (SLS), rocket. This rocket has been called “the most powerful in the world”.


Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system.

It includes Orion, the Space Launch System (SLS), rocket, and all ground systems at Kennedy Space Center Cape Canaveral in Florida. 

Artemis 1 will not be crewed and will act as an initial foundation for human deep-space exploration. 

This spacecraft will be launched on the strongest rockets in the world, and it will fly further than any other spacecraft designed for human use.

The spacecraft will be able to travel approximately 280,000 miles between Earth and the Moon in three weeks.

Although it is huge enough to transport both supplies and astronauts in one mission to Moon, the first flight of Orion will carry a crew capsule. 

The first flight, Artemis 1, was originally scheduled for launch next month. However, it has now been postponed until March 2022 or April 2022 due to ‘hiccups in the testing program.

NASA officials stated in a statement that they had done a series of checks and troubleshooting to find the problem. 

A core booster is the heart of this megarocket, each with 4 RS-25 engine and an individual flight controller.

NASA anticipates that SLS launches will run around $2 billion. There are however efforts to lower that cost. SLS is expected be the backbone of Artemis’ missions, that is, trips to Mars and the Moon. 

Artemis 1, which will send an Orion moon capsule filled with Orion to the Moon, is being tested at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

This is the final test of the launch. Crews will perform every step, except launch.

NASA will confirm an official launch date after the test is complete. It’s expected that it will take place in Spring. 

SpaceX Starship orbital test

Elon Musk stated that the SpaceX megarocket Starship will fly its first orbital test flight in this year’s SpaceX program – most likely around March or April.

External delays have caused it to be delayed, such as from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and required full environmental assessments at the Boca Chica location. 

Elon Musk has said the SpaceX megarocket, known as Starship, will make its first orbital test flight this year - likely sometime around March or April

Elon Musk said that SpaceX’s megarocket Starship would make its first orbital flight this year. It is expected to take place sometime in March or April.

What is STARSHIP? 

The BFR (Big F***ing Rocket), now known as Starship, is a megarocket.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, said that by 2026 the rocket would make its first flight to the red planet. 

This rocket could be fully reused and fly to Mars.

Once built, Musk believes the rocket could be used for travel on Earth — saying that passengers would be able to get anywhere in under an hour.

There have been 9 test flights — some resulting in successful short-distance hops, while others led to explosions or crash landings.

Starship SN15 was tested on May 5th 2021. The craft flew at 33,000 feet before it landed.

Starship’s Texas launch center is where several prototypes of Starship have been successfully tested. SN15 was one such rocket that flew high at altitude in 2021. It also landed on the launchpad. 

Elon Musk’s founder announced ambitious plans in December to add three more Raptor Engines to Starship. It will increase Starship’s maximum thrust by half a percent.

SpaceX claims that this will dramatically increase its payload performance. It is one more in a string of iterative changes made based upon ground and air testing. 

Starship will be a fully reusable rocket for heavy lifting, which can one day be used on Mars to send huge payloads into low-Earth orbit. 

The largest stainless steel rocket ever produced can put a tonne material into orbit. This is a combination of a Super Heavy booster, and Starship spacecraft.

This satellite was designed to orbital refuel, meaning it can travel farther than low Earth orbit and even on to Mars. 

The booster can be caught via mechanical arms, and both Starship stages may be used again. 

But, in spring’s orbital test, it is likely that the stages will plummet into the sea rather than try to land. 

DART collides with an asteroid

NASA has launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test Mission (DART) to attempt to impact an asteroid’s moon and change its orbit slightly. 

The DART demonstration will mark the beginning of the use of the kinetic-impactor technique to alter the orbit of an asteroid. It can be seen from Earth.    

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a NASA project aimed at crashing into the moon of an asteroid, to try and slightly change its orbit

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission (DART), is an initiative that aims to crash into the moon of an asteroids in order to slightly alter its orbit.

This spacecraft includes a companion satellite camera that will be used to take pictures of the small-planet moon Dimorphos. It should reach it between September 26th-2022. 

DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth, and is a ‘perfect testing ground’ to see if crashing into it can change its course, according to NASA. 

NASA reports that while there is no known asteroid greater than 460ft with a high chance of striking Earth within the next 100 years of its discovery, just 40% have been discovered as of October 2022.

It was a part of NASA’s planetary defense program that includes DART.

At 4.1 miles per hour, the impact of the 1,100 lb, DART will result in a change in velocity of around 0.4 mm/s. It leads to small changes to the orbit of the asteroid systems, but eventually, leads to large shifts.   

European Space Agency heading to Mars

ExoMars (a European Space Agency joint project with Russia) includes orbiters, a rover and an orbiter, the Rosalind Franklin Rover.

The SUV-sized vehicle, which will be launched for Mars in September 2022 after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic that occurred in August 2020, will now launch to Mars in September 2022.  

ExoMars is a joint European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian project, including orbiters and a rover, known as the Rosalind Franklin Rover

ExoMars, a joint European Space Agency and Russian project that includes orbiters, a rover and the Rosalind Franklin Rover, is known as ExoMars.

This mission has two main goals: to discover if Mars ever had life and to understand the history water on Mars. 

Named after Rosalind Franklin, the Rosalind Franklin Rover includes both a drill that can reach the Mars subsurface and a mini life-search lab kept in a clean zone. 

ExoMars is the first mission that will search the surface of Mars for biological signs of life. It will reach 12 feet below the surface of the planet.

Roscosmos and ESA will be the fourth and fifth nations or groups of nations that land on and operate vehicles on the Red Planet if the mission succeeds. 

The rover was assembled in Stevenage, England by Airbus, and will land in the Oxia Planum on Mars in June 2023, delivered to the surface on a Roscosmos lander named Kazachok, Russian for ‘Little Cossack’.

Mercury’s second flyby by BepiColombo

Mercury’s next meeting with BepiColombo will be June 2022. It will come within 200 miles from the surface. This distance is similar to that of Mercury’s October 2021 pass.

Four more flights of the nearest planet to the Sun will take place in June 2023/September 2024/December 2024/January 2025.

BepiColombo's next encounter with Mercury will take place in June 2022, coming within 200 miles of the surface, a similar distance to the October 2021 fly by

BepiColombo and Mercury will meet again in June 2022. They will come within 200 miles of each other, similar distances to the flyby of October 2021.

The spacecraft will soon be in orbit around Mercury and reach a distance of between 300- 930 miles. 

Mercury lies ten times closer than Jupiter to Earth, but it still takes as much time to reach the gas giant.

Because Mercury must be reached by braking against its gravitational pull, it is necessary to do so in a long-way – and multiple fly-bys of other planets within the inner solar system. This includes Mercury.

The planet’s gravity allows it to release energy and thus avoids carrying too much fuel. 

Spacecraft is expected to be in Mercury’s orbit by December 2025. 

British rocket launch

Although the precise location of the launch site is unknown, the first rocket ever to lift off from British soil will take flight by 2022. 

It is up for grabs between the spaceports of Scotland and Cornwall, to win the title of the first British launch site. 

The first ever rocket to take off from British soil is expected to launch by the end of 2022, although the exact location is currently unknown

Although the precise location of the launch site is unknown, the first rocket ever to lift off from British soil will take flight by 2022.


Sutherland is selected as Britain’s first Spaceport by the UK Space Agency. It’s located on Scotland’s North Coast.

Lockheed Martin, a US defense and aerospace giant, is developing the site.  

The rockets and satellites will be launched into space by the company as soon as possible.

The port will increase the growth of Scotland’s satellite industry.

Scotland is the country with more satellites, outside of the United States.

The UK is expected to launch approximately 2,000 satellites before 2030. 

Similar bids from Scandinavia are putting pressure on the Sutherland Project.

The first Northern European site to offer commercial launches is set to hold a stake in the global space industry worth billions.

Spaceport Cornwall, a horizontal launch location, has a runway that is similar to an airport. This would make it ideal for Virgin Orbit.

Richard Branson started the firm by sending Cosmic Girl to send LauncherOne at 35,000ft.

Once the rocket has reached the desired altitude, pilots release it and fire its engines. The payload of up to 300 kg is then taken into orbit. 

The Telegraph reports that the goal is to launch the first rocket before June’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Experts expect to see the first launch at the end of this year, even though it could take a while.

The traditional vertical providers also compete for the title.

Orbex, Skyrora and Lockheed Martin are some of these – they all operate from Scotland including Shetland.

OneWeb, a satellite communications company partly owned by the UK government has been encouraged in future to use British launch capability. 

In Russia, they send 50 satellites into orbit each year on Arianespace Soyuz rockets.

This is because British launch companies are seeking to send tiny payloads including nanosatellites.

The satellites are usually less than 1,000 kilograms in weight, so only one or two OneWebs satellites could launch on any British rocket at one time. They may not be used for the entire initial rollout, which will include more than 600 spaceships.

Skygazer highlights

According to Royal Observatory Greenwich there will be supermoons, meteor showers and eclipses in 2022. They also describe it as an ‘year full of adventure’.

Astronomy’s first year began with the Quadrantid meteor display, which included fireball meteors. It took place on January 3, 2022. 

There will be meteor showers, eclipses and supermoons in 2022, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, describing it as a 'year of adventure'

According to Royal Observatory Greenwich there will be supermoons, meteor showers, and eclipses in 2022. They also describe it as an ‘year full of adventure’


January 17, Wolf Moon

February 16, Snow Moon

March 18, Worm Moon

April 16th – Pink Moon

May 16 – Flower Moon (total lunar eclipse)

June 14th – Strawberry Moon

July 13th – Buck Moon

August 12 – Sturgeon Moon

September 10 – Corn/Harvest Moon

October 9, Hunter’s Moon

November 8 – Beaver Moon

December 8, Cold Moon

From January 7, this month is best for spotting Mercury, which is smaller and closer to the Sun than the other planets. 

On January 7, it will be visible at the lowest point of the horizon, just below the sunset. 

You can best view it just after sunset in the UK, at 16:11 GMT. Mercury sets below the horizon at 17.52 GMT. 

The Andromeda Galaxy can be seen by looking west at sunset just before the new Moon of March 2. If there is good darkness, it should be easily visible using the naked eye or simple binoculars.

There will be a total moon eclipse on May 16 in South America and North America. It can also be seen across Europe and Africa. 

The Moon will appear at totality in the UK for just a few seconds at 04:29 BST. This is the moment when it crosses the Earth’s umbra, turning red. 

A supermoon will occur on June 14, and another one on July 13, which is the time when the moon’s closest point to Earth, respectively.

Saturn’s brightness will shine brightest August 14th, when its face is fully illuminated from the Sun. This makes it easy to see with your naked eyes. 

Neptune will also be at the same position as September 16 but it won’t be easily seen with the naked eye. However, Jupiter will still be visible on September 26. 

A partial solar eclipse will occur on October 25, at 10:08 GMT. This will see the moon pass between Earth and Sun blocking some of their light. This will reduce the Sun’s maximum brightness by only 25 percent.


ExoMars’ main objective is to determine if there has been life on Mars. It will accomplish this by using a variety of instruments in orbit and on the surface.

It also includes the Trace Gas ORbiter (TGO), an orbiting spacecraft that has a probe for studying trace gases such as methane on the surface of the planet.

Scientists think methane could be used to identify places where there is or might have been life once upon a time, according to scientists.

Due to the coronavirus delay, ExoMars’ second mission will be delivered to Mars’ surface in 2022/2023.

This rover, named Rosalind Franklin after a British scientist, is currently being constructed in Stevenage (UK). 

It is the first vehicle capable of moving across the globe’s surface as well as drilling into the ground in order to extract and analyze samples. 

The rover will include a technology called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyser (MOMA) that will allow it to analyse samples and send data back to Earth.