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Check out last week's rocket launch bonanza recap - TWIRL #168

TWIRL logo in front of Starship

We only have one confirmed rocket launch happening in This Week in Rocket Launches but the the recap section is truly exceptional. We had China on the Moon collecting lunar samples from the dark side of Earth's natural satellite, we got ULA launching a crewed test flight of the CST-100 Starliner to the space station, and SpaceX did another launch of Starship.

Tuesday, 11 June

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • Where: Florida, US
  • When: 9:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. UTC
  • Why: SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 to launch 22 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. This batch of satellites is called Starlink Group 10-2, you can use this identifier on apps such as ISS detector to spot these satellites when they fly overhead.

Like most of the Starlink satellites that have gone to space in recent years, an anti-reflective coating has been applied to these satellites so that they do not interfere so much with the work of astronomers who complained bitterly about the presence of these satellites in the night sky several years ago.

After the rocket has taken off and the first stage has separated, the latter should perform a landing either on the ground or a drone ship so that it can be reused for future missions and save SpaceX some money.


Before we get to the rocket launches from last week, let’s check out the lunar lander Chang’e-6 from China.

  • The first video we have of it is it landing on the Moon.
  • Next up it collected lunar samples from the far-side of the Moon.
  • Finally, it ascended back to a lunar orbit ready for the sample to be sent back to Earth.
  • The first actual launch we got last week was a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites to orbit. The first stage of the rocket performed a landing ready for reuse.
  • Next, Rocket Lab launched the NASA PREFIRE satellite, the name means Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment. It took off from Mahia, New Zealand.
  • The next mission was fairly exciting, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner which was carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to the International Space Station on a crewed test flight.
  • Back to the Chang’e-6 mission, the lunar ascender docked with the orbiter and samples were transferred to the return capsule.
  • Staying in China, we got the launch of Ceres-1 carrying the TEE-01B, Naxing-3A, and Naxing-3B.
  • The biggest launch this week was the launch of Starship. Here’s a video of Starship and the landing of the Super Heavy stage.
  • Afterwards, the Starship segment performed reentry and a landing.
  • The last launch of the week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 carrying more Starlink satellites. The first stage of the rocket also performed a landing.

That’s all for this week, check back next time!

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