We have several launches this week and there's a bit of a common theme with them, at least one of the payloads in each of the launches will be capable of synthetic-aperture radar observation. SAR uses signal processing tricks on radar data collected along a flight path to synthesize a large virtual antenna aperture, enabling high-resolution imaging beyond the physical limitations of a real radar aperture.
Sunday, 23 July
- The first launch of the week is a Long March 2D carrying four payloads into space for Skysight. The satellites will be equipped for synthetic-aperture radar observation, optical observation, and infrared observation.
The four satellites being launched are called Kuangda Nanhu, Hongkou Fuxing, Zhongdian Nongchuang, and Yinhe Hangtian Lingxi. The rocket will blast off a 2:48 a.m. UTC from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.
Wednesday, 26 July
- The second launch of the week will see NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) launch a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on the PSLV-C56 mission carrying the DS-SAR satellite into orbit for Singapore. Secondary payloads include Velox-AM and the 12U CubeSat ORB-12 STRIDER for Orbital Astronautics, and other CubeSats.
Similar to the Chinese launch on Sunday, the DS-SAR satellite is capable of synthetic-aperture radar observation. The Singaporean satellite will be operated by the country’s Ministry of Defence.
The rocket will take off at 2:15 a.m. from the Dhawan Space Centre in India. It’s not clear if it will be streamed live.
Friday, 28 July
- The final launch of the week is Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket carrying the first two Arcadia series satellites for Capella Space. There seems to be a bit of a theme going on this week as these satellites will also be synthetic aperture radar satellites.
The launch will take place from Mahia, New Zealand at an undisclosed time. If you want to watch, just head over to Rocket Lab’s website closer to launch and there should be a stream you can set a notification on. Don’t forget that New Zealand is further ahead in time than most places so take that into account if you want to watch.
The first launch last week was a Falcon 9 carrying 54 Starlink satellites which will beam internet to Earth.
The second launch was an Electron rocket carrying NASA Starling CubeSats and more.
The third launch was a Falcon 9 carrying the Starlink 93 mission, it had been aborted the day before.
For the fourth launch, we went to China where a Kuaizhou-1A launched four Tianmu-1 meteorological satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
The fifth and final launch also took off from the same launch facility. This time a Ceres-1 launch vehicle was carrying two satellites, the Qiankun-1 and the Xingshidai-16. They will offer commercial remote sensing services.
That’s all for this week, check back next time!