April Rocket Launch Schedule 2022: Completed & Upcoming Launches26th Apr 2022
In March, space agencies and companies carried out 12 missions out of 25 planned, and the April rocket launch schedule in 2022 looks promising as well. CASC beat SpaceX by one launch, Astra Space finally rehabilitated itself after a long streak of failures, Firefly Aerospace decided to postpone the second launch indefinitely, and Blue Origin conducted four suborbital missions, delivering another six tourists into space.
According to next spaceflight.com, 24 rocket launches are planned in April. As usual, Orbital Today will focus on the most interesting events of April’s rocket launch schedule.
Apr 01, Space X Falcon 9 Block 5 / Transporter 4/ Mission Complete
SpaceX has traditionally opened the tally of launches with another dedicated SmallSat Rideshare mission called Transporter-4. As a reminder, SpaceX SmallSat Rideshare Program provides an opportunity for small satellite operators to deploy ESPA-class payloads of up to 200kg on SSO at an unprecedented low cost of $1 million per launch. This time the mission included 39 smallsats for 17 operators. The launch took place from SLC-40, Cape Canaveral SFS, at 16:24 UTC.
Apr 02, Rocket Lab Electron/Curie / BlackSky 16 and 17/Mission Complete
Rocket Lab has finally completed a series of launches for Black Sky, which were repeatedly postponed on the customer’s end. The mission, launched from Rocket Lab LC-1A, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 12:41 UTC and successfully delivered two high-resolution micro Earth observation satellites to LEO.
Apr 19 Rocket Lab Electron/Curie / There and Back Again
As part of the There and Back Again mission, the Electron rocket was to deploy 34 payloads from commercial operators Alba Orbital, Astrix Astronautics, Aurora Propulsion Technologies, E-Space, Unseenlabs and Swarm Technologies through global launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. After launch, Rocket Lab was planning to attempt, for the first time, catching the first stage in the air using a special helicopter.
The company plans at least two more missions in April, but the exact dates are still unknown. These are expected to be NROL 162 and NROL 199 for the US National Reconnaissance Agency, which are delayed from January and February 2022, respectively. But Rocket Lab will most probably close the April rocket launch 2022 statistics with a demonstration mission for the French startup E-Space. However, the launch may be rescheduled.
UPDATE: POSTPONED UNTIL 28TH APRIL
Apr 07, Russian Military Space Forces /Soyuz 2.1b / Lotos-S1 n°06
After defiantly refusing to cooperate with NASA and ESA because of sanctions, Russia is going to increase the presence of its military satellites in orbits. On 7th April, the Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched the Lotos-C1 satellite into SSO, which is one of the components of the new-generation Liana electronic intelligence satellite system, designed to replace both the Tselina-2 with Lotos satellites and the naval US-PM with Pion- NKS spacecraft. The launch was scheduled from the Plesetsk cosmodrome at 11:30 UTC
Also, the Russian military space forces intend to conduct two more missions from Plesetsk in April. The first launch of the Angara 1.2 light class rocket with the MKA-R radar satellite is scheduled for 27th April. The date and time of the third mission are still in TBD status; it is only known that it will be a Soyuz 2.1b rocket with a Fregat-M upper stage, which will deliver a new generation of satellite for the Russian GLONASS radio navigation satellite system to Medium Earth Orbit.
Apr 08, Space X Falcon 9 Crew Dragon/ Axiom Mission 1
Axiom Space launched its first private mission with astronauts to the ISS. The four crew members travelled to the space station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon ship and stayed in orbit for eight days. Crew Dragon was piloted by former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria. Investors Larry Connor, Mark Party and Eitan Stibbe were also passengers. The mission launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Falcon 9 flew northeast in a 51.6-degree orbit to intercept the ISS. Weather permitting, this rocket launch from SpaceX was visible from the East coast.
Apr 17 SpaceX Falcon 9 / NROL 85
As part of the NROL-85 mission, SpaceX launched two Intruder electronic intelligence satellites for the US National Reconnaissance Agency. The launch wass scheduled from Vandenberg Space Force Base. The Falcon 9 flight was visible from Southern California and Baja California Northern. The first stage of the rocket returned to the ground approximately 8 minutes after launch.
NOTE: THIS LAUNCH WAS DELAYED FROM 15TH APRIL AND AGAIN FROM 16TH APRIL
Apr 21 SpaceX Crew Dragon SpaceX Crew-4
SpaceX and NASA launched the Crew-4 to ISS mission. NASA Astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot aboard Crew Dragon. NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will serve as mission specialists. The Falcon 9 rocket launched from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. As with Axiom Mission 1, it flew northeast in a 51.6-degree orbit to intercept the ISS.
NOTE: THIS LAUNCH WAS RESCHEDULED FROM 20TH APRIL
Apr 30 SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 / NileSat 301
Falcon 9 will launch the 4-ton Egyptian geostationary communications satellite Nilesat 301 in Geo-Transfer Orbit. This will be Space X’s 159th and Falcon 9’s 151st mission. The rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Apr NET Astra Space TROPICS Flight 1, Flight 2
This event draws special attention. Last month, Astra finally emerged from a losing streak and successfully launched a three-client mission at the 525km SSO. The mission also tested the S4 Crossover, a prototype base payload platform that did not separate from the second stage during flight.
Now, inspired by its success, the company is set to carry out two more missions in April. Astra plans to launch CubeSats for the NASA TROPICS mission from the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Four satellites weighing 20kg each are part of a constellation to monitor precipitation patterns and the intensity of storms in the tropics.
Apr NET Roscosmos Soyuz 2.1B Fregat / Meteor M
Roscosmos plans to launch a new generation of Russian meteorological satellites to replace the Meteor-3M series. This launch is notable because it is supposed to take place from the Vostochny cosmodrome, which Russia has been building for almost ten years and which has become the target of massive corruption among high-ranking Russian officials. At the same time, the site does not pay for itself. Since its commissioning in 2016, only 11 launches have been carried out, 5 of which — for the British operator OneWeb. This March, Roscosmos severed relations with OneWeb in response to ESA space sanctions.
Besides, Roscosmos’s decision to suspend all Soyuz launches in French Guiana for the same reason jeopardised Arianespace’s plans. The company was supposed to launch another satellite of the Galileo navigation system to MEO this month. According to preliminary information, the Russian rocket will be replaced by Ariane 5. However, the exact launch date is yet unknown.
In addition to these launches, another six are planned by China and one by India. This is what April rocket launch schedule 2022 should look like, and we will keep monitoring the latest events to keep you updated about every rocket launch of 2022.