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2022 Year In Review: Space

This year in space includes NASA's Artemis launch, new James Webb Space Telescope images and a historic mission crashing into an asteroid.
Posted at 8:10 PM, Dec 28, 2022

Space was a busy place in 2022.

This year, SpaceX broke its own record for the most launches, topping 60. CEO Elon Musk wants to hit 100 in 2023. 

In November, NASA finally launched its SLS rocket for the Artemis I mission to the moon.

After multiple delays and problems, from hurricanes to hydrogen leaks, the Orion capsule made it to lunar orbit. It didn't land, but did send back stunning pictures before splashing down. 

All part of NASA's Artemis program to, one day, take humans back to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years.

NASA Details Historic DART Mission That Crashed Into Asteroid

NASA Details Historic DART Mission That Crashed Into Asteroid

The purpose of the mission was to test the ability to protect Earth from potential planet-killing asteroids in the future.


In July, the long-delayed $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope beamed back its first spectacular pictures of far-away planets and galaxies. 

"These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things," President Joe Biden said. 

In September, NASA sent a refrigerator-size spacecraft careening into an asteroid at 14,000 miles an hour, scoring a galactic bullseye. 

"For the first time ever, humanity has changed the orbit of a planetary body,"said  Lori Glaze, Director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division.

The goal, of course, is defending against future potential planet-killing asteroids. 

"If an Earth-threatening asteroid was discovered, and we could see it far enough away, this technique could be used to deflect it," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

@astrosamantha Back on the International Space Station!🙋🏻‍♀️ #MissionMinerva #HomeAwayFromHome #SpaceTok ♬ Luxury fashion (no vocals) - TimTaj

In May, private space company Rocketlab scored its own first: using a helicopter to snag a rocket booster in midair as it floated back to Earth. 

Russia's invasion of Ukraine triggered a space spat when the head of Russia's space program threatened to withdraw his country from the International Space Station, sparking a terse Twitter exchange with retired astronaut Scott Kelly

"I just felt obligated to point out the fact that if he did that, their space program would have no reason to exist and would probably go out of business," Kelly said. 

In orbit though, it was business as usual. 

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoferetti posted where no astronaut had posted before: to TikTok. 

And on Mars, the Ingenuity helicopter continued record-breaking flights over the red planet, ready to lift off again in 2023.