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Catch the Falcon Heavy this week as it launches NASA satellite - TWIRL #170

TWIRL logo in front of Falcon Heavy

We have a busy This Week in Rocket Launches ahead. SpaceX is planning on a ton of Starlink missions and is even rolling out the Falcon Heavy to launch NASA’s GOES-U satellite. We’ll also see Firefly Aerospace launch one of its Alpha rockets for NASA, carrying several small satellites as part of the ELaNa 43 mission.

Sunday, 23 June

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 5:03 – 9:03 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 rocket to launch 22 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. The batch is known as Starlink Group 10-2 if you want to identify it on apps like ISS Detector. Like most Starlink launches, SpaceX will probably land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket so that it can be reused in the future.

Monday, 24 June

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 3:45 – 7:45 a.m. UTC
  • Where: California
  • Why: On the other side of the country, several hours later, SpaceX will launch another batch of 20 Starlink satellites known as Starlink Group 9-2. This batch will also feature 13 direct-to-cell Starlink satellites. Against, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will likely be reused.

Tuesday, 25 June

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Starlink
  • When: 9:07 – 1:07 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: Seemingly making up for the lack of launches two weeks ago, SpaceX will launch a third batch of Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9. This is Starlink Group 8-9. As with the other missions, these Starlink satellites will have an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare and help astronomers.

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon Heavy
  • When: 9:16 – 11:16 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: On the same day, SpaceX will launch a Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the GOES-U satellite, the fourth and last next-gen geostationary weather satellite for NASA and NOAA. It will be situated 35,800km above the equator to monitor weather conditions across the US.

Wednesday, 26 June

  • Who: Firefly Aerospace
  • What: Alpha
  • When: 4:00 a.m. UTC
  • Where: California, US
  • Why: Firefly Aerospace will launch an Alpha rocket carrying NASA’s ELaNa (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 43 mission into orbit. The payloads include CatSat, KUbeSat 1, MESAT 1, OwlSat, R5-S2-2.0, R4-S4, REAL, Serenity, SOCI-I and TechEdSat 11. The mission will aptly be named “Noise of Summer.” These ELaNa missions see NASA partner with universities to attract and develop students’ interest in STEM fields. Students benefit from hands-on experience in all phases of a space mission, while NASA benefits by testing new technologies at a relatively low cost.

Thursday, 27 June

  • Who: Galactic Energy
  • What: Ceres 1S
  • When: 4:30 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Yellow Sea
  • Why: Galactic Energy will perform a sea launch with its Ceres 1S rocket carrying three Yunyao 1 satellites. These satellites are used for meteorology and contribute to earthquake forecasting.

Friday, 28 June

  • Who: China National Space Administration (CNSA)
  • What: Long March 7A
  • When: 11:30 a.m. – 29 June, 11:30 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Wenchang, China
  • Why: This rocket will be launching an unknown payload.

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 10:55 a.m. – 2:55 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 to launch a batch of 22 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. This group is known as Starlink Group 10-3. As a bit of background, SpaceX is planning to launch thousands of Starlink satellites so that they can provide internet anywhere on Earth.


  • The first launch we got last week was a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites. The first stage also performed a landing.
  • Next up, a Rocket Lab Electron rocket launched five Kineis IoT satellites. The mission was dubbed “No Time Toulouse”.
  • Next, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9, but instead of Starlink satellites, it launched the SES ASTRA 1P mission. Afterward, the first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The final launch of the week was a Long March 2C carrying the Space-based multi-band astronomical Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM) from Sichuan Province, China. SVOM is a France-China mission that is studying the distant explosions of stars.

That’s all for this week; check in next time!

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