9 missions heading to the Moon in 2022

Artemis I isn't the only lunar mission set for 2022. Space agencies around the world are gearing up for visits to our lunar neighbour.

Artist's impression of the NASA Capstone mission at the Moon
Published: March 26, 2022 at 10:33 am
Try BBC Sky at Night Magazine today and save 30%!

2022 is going to be a bumper year for missions to the Moon. In terms of upcoming lunar spacecraft, orbiters are set to begin hunting for potential resources, while landers plan on alighting at the lunar south pole for the first time

Advertisement

As well as this, a fleet of rovers are set to scuttle across the surface of the Moon.

Several of these missions are participating in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project, which pays commercial spaceflight enterprises to carry payloads to the Moon’s surface in preparation for the upcoming Artemis landings.

Elsewhere in the world, spacecraft from national space agencies and commercial companies based in India, Japan, Russia and South Korea are readying to make the trip to the Moon.

While much of our attention in 2022 so far has been on the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA's Space Launch System, it seems lunar rush hour is about to begin.

9 upcoming missions to the Moon

1

Nova-C IM-1, Intuitive Machines

Nova-C IM-1, Intuitive Machines
Credit: Intuitive Machines

A lunar lander due to launch as part of NASA’s CLPS scheme in early 2022, Nova-C IM-1 will carry five NASA payloads, CubeSats and a mini-rover from UK-led company Spacebit.

Find out more at intuitivemachines.com

2

CAPSTONE, NASA

Artist's impression of the NASA Capstone mission at the Moon
Credits: Illustration by NASA/Daniel Rutter

A small CubeSat helping to test the gravitational stability of the orbit for NASA’s Gateway lunar space station, CAPSTONE is due to launch on in May 2022 for a nine-month mission.

Find out more at nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

3

Luna 25, Roscosmos

Russia's Luna 25 spacecraft on the Moon
Credit: NPO/Lavochkin

The Russians are returning to the Moon after 46 years, this time heading to the south pole to investigate the composition of lunar soil. The Luna 25 mission is due to launch on 22 July 2022.

Find out more at esa.int

4

Chandrayaan-3, Indian Space Research Organisation

Chandrayaan-3
Credit: ISRO

India’s third lunar mission will be a second attempt at landing, Chandrayaan-2 having crashed in 2019. ISRO hopes to launch the new lander Chandrayaan-3 in the second half of 2022.

Find out more at www.isro.gov.in

5

Peregrine, Astrobotic

peregrine astrobiotic
Credit: Astrobotic Technology

Another CLPS mission, this time from US company Astrobotic, the Peregrine lander is due to launch in mid 2022. It’ll carry NASA payloads and rovers from the UK, Chile, Japan, Mexico and Hungary.

Find out more at astrobotic.com

6

Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, Korea Aerospace Research Institute

Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter
Credit: Korea Aerospace Research Institute

Marking South Korea’s first foray into planetary exploration, this orbiter is largely a technology demonstration, but will also survey resources such as water ice and aluminium. It’s due to launch on 1 August 2022.

Find out more at kari.re.kr

7

HAKUTO-R, ispace

Hakuto R
Credit: ispace

Originally a contestant in the Google Lunar X Prize, Japanese spaceflight company ispace will land a commercial payload on the Moon in October 2022, though they have a future contract with ESA to extract lunar water.

Find out more at ispace-inc.com

8

Nova-C IM-2, Intuitive Machines

Nova-C IM-2, Intuitive Machines
Credit: Intuitive Machines

Intuitive Machines will attempt its second landing on the Moon in late 2022, less than 12 months after its first attempt. This time it’ll be heading to the lunar south pole, with the aim of drilling 1m into the surface to look for water ice.

Find out more at intuitivemachines.com

9

Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM), JAXA

smart lander investigating moon jaxa
Credit: JAXA

Using software developed from facial recognition technology to identify lunar craters, this trial mission from the Japanese space agency will attempt to land with high-precision accuracy.

Find out more at global.jaxa.jp

Missions returning to the Moon in 2023

Looking beyond 2022, what missions are heading for the Moon in 2023?

NASA’s VIPER rover will search for water ice at the Moon’s south pole. Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter
NASA’s VIPER rover will search for water ice at the Moon’s south pole. Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter
Advertisement
  • Xelene, Masten Space Systems: CLPS mission
  • Blue Ghost, Firefly Aerospace: CLPS mission
  • Alina, Planetary Transportation Systems: Former Google Lunar X Prize contestant
  • Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), NASA: Lunar prospector
  • Lunar Zebro, Delft University: Student-built rover
  • Seven Sisters, Space Industry Association of Australia: Nanosats to support the Artemis programme

Authors

Ezzy Pearson is the News Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Her first book about the history of robotic planetary landers is out now from The History Press.

Sponsored content