The past decade has seen a resurgence of interest in space travel and the technological innovation driving it. Billionaire space tourists Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson made the headlines in 2021, while Elon Musk has his sights set on the colonization of Mars.
The Five Biggest Space Technology Trends for 2022
However, it’s worth remembering that these high-flying schemes often end up affecting our lives in more down-to-Earth ways – scratch-resistant glass, GPS, LEDs, memory foam, and heat-resistant metals have changed the way we live and were all developed thanks to space exploration. Many of the principles of remote medicine – which has surged in popularity during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – were initially conceived to assist with space travel. And there’s no telling how many lives have been saved by smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – also first conceived as space technology!
So, where will space travel take us in 2022? Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting implications of humanity continuing to venture beyond the final frontier …
Something of a holy grail for space travel at the moment, reusable launch systems for orbital vehicles are set to dramatically lower the cost of leaving Earth’s atmosphere, opening the doors to many exciting space initiatives which, while theoretically possible, are currently too expensive to be practical. It will also make routine space missions, such as launching satellites and resupplying the International Space Station, far more economical. SpaceX’s SN20 will attempt to launch the first successful orbital flight using a reusable rocket in early 2022, pending approval from the US FAA. SN20 is the most powerful rocket ever built, and is the craft that SpaceX hope will eventually take humans to Mars
Later in the year, Blue Origin will attempt to launch its reusable two-stage New Glenn rocket into low Earth orbit – this rocket is designed to be used up to 25 times and eventually will carry humans as well as cargo.
Back to the moon!
Travel to the moon has not been top of the space exploration agenda for the past few decades, but that has changed as a number of strategic reasons to resume lunar landings have been identified in recent years. Mostly these will not call for humans to visit the barren satellite and will be conducted by autonomous landers and exploration vehicles. One key reason for the renewed interest is that it is thought it will be a good testbed for many technologies that will eventually help us make our way to Mars.
The focus of these missions will be on sending “small payloads,” mainly autonomous instruments designed to locate, extract and process elements from the lunar surface. As well as the US, which is planning to launch its Commercial Lunar Payload Services mission – a collaboration between NASA and Astrobotic Technology, Russia, Japan, and India all plan to deliver robotic landers to the lunar surface during 2022.
Satellite launches make up the majority of commercial space activity, and that won’t …….