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What the first six months of 2022 looked like in space

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We’re halfway through 2022. The year has flown by, but it’s filled with big news and firsts for the aerospace industry. Here’s our summary of the alien goings on for the past six months.

Q1

The year started with a bang like JWST successfully unfolded, reaching its new home a million miles from Earth and beginning to prepare its instruments for scientific operations.

In February, the FAA granted Astra the first streamlined Part 450 license, opening the doors to faster and more efficient launch rights for commercial rocket companies. Jared Isaacman and SpaceX also announced the ambitious Polaris program

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February (and the war has been raging for 126 days). Commercial satellite operators got on the board and brought satellite images in the foreground of OSINT and meeting the Ukrainian government needs for space-based intelligence. On the broadband front, SpaceX and iridium sent terminals and satellite phones/push-to-talk devices to Ukraine.

In March, Astra reached Earth orbit for the first time and President Biden finally signed the FY22 Federal Appropriations Bill into law.

Fundraising Coverage: radial emerged from stealth and announced its spaceplane plans and $27.5 million seed. E-Space raised a $50 million seed round, Aerospace Lab has raised a series B of €40 million, CesiumAstro has raised a $60 million Series B, and Slingshot Aerospace has raised a $25 million Series A-1.

And that’s not all, folks – for more details, check out our News overview Q1 2022

On to Q2 and April

With Space Symposium dropping mid-month, we’ve witnessed a flurry of blockbuster announcements. The most important of these was Amazon’s block purchase of the most commercial launches ever, with Project Kuiper reserving up to 83 flights from ULA, Arianespace and Blue Origin. Space tourism had a moment like world view and Space perspective business moves.

New rocket engines have been tested, with SpaceRyde and launcher each announcing major milestones. Ursa Major Manufacturing Units came off the line and the Colorado startup inked a huge engine deal with Phantom Space.

The White House announced a unilateral ban on direct-ascent (anti-satellite) ASAT (anti-satellite) tests, leading other countries to announce similar bans.

On the war front, the loss of Antonov aircraft in Ukraine impacted the shipment of GEO components as satellite operators looked for other ways to transport flight units. ESA too withdrew of Roscosmos lunar missions. HawkEye360 and NSSA launched a Ukraine aid initiative for the space industry.

Fundraising Coverage: ConstelR acquired hyperspectral imaging company ScanWorld, Capella raised a $97 million round of funding and RFA won €11 million in a German microlauncher competition.

Be able to

Rocket Lab tried the first helicopter capture of the first stage of Electron in the early days of May, with the stage finally falling before being fully secured. Boeing’s starliner capsule also finally reached the ISS. ESA had to maneuver a satellite around a piece of debris created in the Russian ASAT test last November. the NRO announced are the largest satellite image tenders ever. Finally, Transporter-5 put a a lot of your satellites, spacecraft and tugboats in orbit.

Fundraising Coverage: Three Propulsion Startups – Firehawk, Adranos and X-Bow Systems –raised Series A rounds. AstroForge raised a $13 million seed round.

June-

NASA promised its commercial EVA spacesuit contracts with Axiom and Collins Aerospace. Sony opened the doors to a new laser communication company† the big Bear revealed the new Arroway engine design. The FAA, finally, issued the finding of no significant environmental impact on Starship, removing the biggest hurdle between the giant Mars rocket and the launch. SFL Passed Out Debris off track for the first time with tow sails. Sierra Space has announced its own astronaut training program† And NASA and Rocket Lab launched CAPSTONEa groundbreaking mission to a unique lunar orbit.

Fundraising Coverage: Ion-X raised a financing round of € 3.8 million. QuadSAT receive €500,000 in ESA funding.

deep breath

Phew, that was a lot. To many more launches, exciting firsts and positive space vibes for the second half of 2022!

This story originally appeared On payload and is republished here with permission.

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