We’re halfway through 2022. The year has flown by, but it’s been filled with big news and firsts for the space industry. Here’s our roundup of extraterrestrial events over the past six months.


The year began with a bang as JWST successfully deployed, arrived at its new home a million miles from Earth, and began preparing its instruments for science operations.

In February, the FAA issued the first effective Part 450 license for Astra, opening the door to faster and more efficient launch permits for commercial rocket companies. Jared Isaacman and SpaceX also announced the ambitious Polaris program.

Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February (and the war has been going on for 126 days). Commercial satellite operators rose to the fore, bringing satellite imagery to the forefront of OSINT and meeting the Ukrainian government’s space-based intelligence needs. On the broadband front, SpaceX and Iridium sent terminals and satellites/propulsion devices to talk to Ukraine.

In March, Astra reached orbit for the first time, and President Biden finally signed the FY22 federal appropriations bill into law.

Fundraising coverage: Radian emerged from the heist, announcing his space plane plans and a $27.5 million seed. E-Space raised a $50M round, Aerospacelab raised a $40M Series B, CesiumAstro raised a $60M Series B and Slingshot Aerospace raised a $25M Series A-1.

And that’s not all, folks – for more details, check out our Q1 2022 news roundup.

Moving right into the second quarter and into April

As the Space Symposium dropped in the middle of the month, we witnessed a slew of blockbuster announcements. Chief among them was Amazon’s block purchase of the most commercial launches ever, with Project Kuiper booking up to 83 flights from ULA, Arianespace and Blue Origin. Space tourism had its moment when World View and Space Perspective made business moves.

The new rocket engines made it to testing, with SpaceRyde and Launcher each announcing milestones. Ursa Major production units rolled off the line, and the Colorado startup signed a major engine deal with Phantom Space.

The White House announced a unilateral ban on live-ascension ASAT (antisatellite) testing, leading the way for other countries to announce similar bans.

On the war front, the loss of Antonov aircraft in Ukraine affected the transport of GEO components as satellite operators looked for other ways to transport the flight units. ESA also withdrew from Roscosmos lunar missions. HawkEye360 and NSSA launched an initiative to help Ukraine’s space industry.

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


Rocket Lab attempted the first helicopter capture of the Electron first stage in the early days of May, ending up dropping the stage before fully securing it. Boeing’s Starliner capsule also finally reached the ISS. ESA had to maneuver a satellite around some of the debris created by the Russian ASAT test last November. NRO announced its largest satellite imagery procurement contracts. Finally, Transporter-5 deployed one clutch of your satellites, spacecraft and orbiters.

Fundraising coverage: Three new propulsion companies—Firehawk, Adranos, and X-Bow Systems—raised Series A rounds. AstroForge raised a $13 million round.


NASA awarded its commercial EVA space suit contracts to Axiom and Collins Aerospace. Sony opened the doors to a new laser communications business. Ursa Major unveiled the new Arroway engine model. The FAA has finally released its finding of no significant environmental impact on Starship, clearing the biggest hurdle separating the giant Mars rocket from launch. SFL performed passive deorbiting of debris for the first time using drag sails. Sierra Space announced its astronaut training program. And NASA and Rocket Lab launched CAPSTONE, a path-finding mission to a unique lunar orbit.

Fundraising coverage: Ion-X raised a funding round of €3.8 million. QuadSAT received €500,000 in funding from ESA.

Deep breathing

Wow, that was a lot. Here’s to many more releases, exciting firsts and positive space vibes for the back half of 2022!

This story originally appeared on loads and reprinted here with permission.

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