Here is a look at the most significant events this year at America’s multiuser spaceport:
Rocco A. Petrone Launch Control Center at Kennedy Credits: NASA/Cory Huston Launch Control Center Renamed for Famed Launch Director Following a Feb. 22 ceremony, the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida was officially renamed the Rocco A. Petrone Launch Control Center. Petrone, who was instrumental in America’s first voyages to the Moon and headed the Apollo program, died in 2006 at the age of 80.
MARCH NOAA’s GOES-T satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett GOES-T Satellite Soars At 4:38 p.m. EST on March 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) satellite soared off the launch pad on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The mission is a joint effort with NASA to help meteorologists observe and predict severe weather events.
MARCH Artemis I arrives at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Artemis I Rolls Out for First Rehearsal
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission rolled out to Launch Complex 39B for the first time on March 17, arriving after a nearly 11-hour journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers and technicians prepared SLS for its final major test – the wet dress rehearsal.
APRIL Seed film developed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky
Seed Film Success in Space
Lettuce samples grown on the International Space Station and returned to Earth for analysis showed that a new seed film, developed by plant researchers at Kennedy Space Center, may one day help grow food to feed astronauts on long-duration space missions.
APRIL Axiom 1 mission launch Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Axiom 1 a First-of-its-Kind Mission
Axiom Space astronauts Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy launched April 8 and returned safely to Earth 16 days later, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. The return marked the end of the Axiom Mission 1 – the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station.
APRIL NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission launch Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Crew-4 Heads to Space Station
At 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, blasted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and embarked on their journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and spacecraft Dragon – named Freedom by the crew – launched the four astronauts to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
MAY Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission Credits: NASA/Kevin O’Connell
Boeing’s OFT-2 Triumphs
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft completed its touchdown on May 25 at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico, wrapping up the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Starliner launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to the International Space Station at 6:54 p.m. EDT May 19 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
MAY NASA’s LUNABOTICS 2022 challenge Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Students Rise to Lunabotics Challenge
More than 30 one-of-a-kind robots mined simulated lunar regolith during NASA’s LUNABOTICS 2022 challenge, May 23 through 27, at the Center for Space Education (CSE) near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The annual competition challenges university-level teams to use the NASA Systems Engineering Process to design, build, and operate a lunar robot. The teams also perform public outreach, submit systems engineering papers, and demonstrate their work to a NASA review panel.
JUNE CAPSTONE mission launch from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand Credits: Rocket Lab
CAPSTONE Sets Path for Gateway
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, or CAPSTONE, mission launched on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket at 5:55 a.m. EDT on June 28 from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand.
NASA’s CubeSat began a nearly five-month journey toward its orbit around the Moon – the same orbit intended in the future for Gateway, a lunar space station built by the agency and its commercial and international partners that will support NASA’s Artemis program.
JUNE Kennedy Space Center celebrates 60 years
Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Kennedy Turns 60 Kennedy Space Center celebrated six decades of service to our nation’s space program. Take a look back at some of the Florida spaceport’s biggest milestones through 60 years of accomplishments at America’s multiuser spaceport.
JUNE Artemis booster test, wet dress rehearsal Credits: NASA/Cory Huston
Artemis Completes Booster Test, Wet Dress Rehearsal
At Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39B, teams successfully conducted a test of the thrust vector control system on each of the twin solid rocket boosters of the Space Launch System for Artemis I. The test was a follow-on to the wet dress rehearsal, which simulates every stage of launch – minus the rocket leaving the pad.
JULY NASA’s SpaceX CRS-25 mission Credits: SpaceX
CRS-25 Lights up Space Coast
A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft delivered more than 5,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo to the International Space Station after illuminating the Florida Space Coast’s early evening skies.
The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket at 8:44 p.m. EDT on July 14, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A for the company’s 25th commercial resupply services mission for NASA.
SEPTEMBER NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test Credits: NASA
DART Makes Major Impact
After 10 months flying in space, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – the world’s first planetary defense technology demonstration – successfully impacted Dimorphos, its asteroid target, on Sept. 26. The demonstration was the agency’s first attempt to change an asteroid’s motion in space.
SEPTEMBER Women Inspiring Our Next Generation (WING) program comes to Kennedy Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Program Inspires Women in World of Aviation
As part of its Women Inspiring Our Next Generation (WING) program, Delta Air Lines flew 138 middle- and high school-age girls from Atlanta, Georgia, to Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 23, for a glimpse of the many careers within America’s space program.
OCTOBER NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 launch from Kennedy Space Center Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Crew-5 Launches from Kennedy
NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station at noon EDT on Oct. 5.
OCTOBER Crew-4 astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft splash down off the coast of Jacksonville Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Crew-4 Splashes Down off Coast of Florida
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts aboard the Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on Oct. 14, completing the agency’s fourth commercial crew mission to the International Space Station. The international crew of four spent 170 days in orbit.
NOVEMBER NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I at KSC Credits: NASA/Isaac Watson
Artemis Arrives at Launch Complex 39B for Historic Mission
At approximately 8:30 a.m. EDT on Nov. 4, NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission arrived at Launch Pad 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a nearly nine-hour journey atop the mobile launcher from the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building.
NOVEMBER Joint Polar Satellite System-2 launch Credits: USSF 30th Space Wing/Joe Davila
JPSS-2 off to Study Weather
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite, with NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) technology demonstration onboard, lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 1:49 a.m. PST on Nov. 10.
The launch was powered by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket’s RD-180 engine.
NOVEMBER NASA’s Artemis I mission lifts off from Kennedy Space Center Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
NASA’s Moon Rocket Roars off the Pad
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, carrying the uncrewed Orion spacecraft, lifted off from Launch Complex 39B in Florida at 1:47 a.m. EST on Nov. 16.
Artemis I’s primary goal was to thoroughly test the integrated systems before crewed missions by operating the spacecraft in a deep space environment.
NOVEMBER NASA’s SpaceX CRS-26 mission Credits: NASA/Kevin O’Connell
CRS-26 Marks 2022’s Final Dragon Launch
Several thousand pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware were delivered to crew members aboard the International Space Station following the 2:20 p.m. EST launch of NASA’s SpaceX 26th commercial resupply services mission from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 26.
DECEMBER NASA’s Orion spacecraft splashes down to conclude Artemis I mission Credits: NASA/Josh Valcarcel
Orion Splashdown Concludes Historic Artemis I Mission
NASA’s Orion spacecraft successfully completed a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, off the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, at 12:40 p.m. EST on Dec. 11 as the final major milestone of the Artemis I mission.
Orion’s record-breaking journey covered more than 1.4 million miles on a path around the Moon, the farthest a spacecraft designed to carry humans has traveled from our home planet.
DECEMBER Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite Credits: NASA/Keegan Barber
SWOT Journeys to Study Earth’s Oceans
At 3:46 a.m. PST on Dec. 16, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Space Launch Complex-4 East in California, carrying the first satellite to survey nearly all water on Earth’s surface.
Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) marks the 101st primary mission for NASA’s Launch Services Program.
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