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Russia to launch astronauts to the International Space Station this week - TWIRL #129

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This Week in Rocket Launches we only have two launches coming up and for the first, we are not even sure what the payload will be. To make up for this, we have quite a beefy recap section as there were quite a lot of launches last week.

Sunday, 10 September

  • Who: China National Space Administration
  • What: Long March 6A
  • When: 4:30 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Launch Complex 9A Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre
  • Why: The payload for this mission is unknown but it’s probably a satellite of some kind.

Friday, 15 September

  • Who: Roscosmos
  • What: Soyuz 2.1a (Soyuz MS-24 / ISS 70S)
  • When: 3:44 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Pad 31/6 Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • Why: Roscosmos will use a Soyuz 2.1a rocket to launch a crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The crew consists of Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and Loral O’Hara. Once the astronauts are at the ISS, the craft will remain attached to the space station for six months to act as an emergency escape pod.


  • The first launch we got last week was a Falcon 9 carrying 21 Starlink satellites that are part of the Starlink 103 mission. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket also touched down on a landing pad so that SpaceX can reuse it in the future.
  • Next up, Chinese firm Galactic Energy performed the first sea launch of the Ceres-1 rocket which is pretty interesting to watch as we don’t typically see boats being used as a launchpad. The rocket launched four Tianqi satellites into orbit, they will act as part of an Internet of Things constellation.
  • Another interesting launch we got last week was that of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIA launch vehicle which was carrying the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) and the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM). It’s interesting because while we have seen this rocket launch before, it’s not too common.
  • Next, China launched a Long March 4C carrying the Yaogan 33 03 satellite. It’s a remote sensing satellite that will be used for scientific experimental research, marine and land resource census, agricultural product production estimation, and disaster prevention and mitigation.
  • Lastly, Virgin Galactic performed its third commercial spaceflight. The private passengers who went to the edge of space included Ken Baxter, Timothy Nash, Adrian Reynard, and Beth Moses who was the Chief Astronaut Instructor.

That’s all we have this week, be sure to check in next time!

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