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SpaceX performs a second impressive test flight of Starship - TWIRL #139

TWIRL logo in front of Starship

SpaceX has launched Starship on its second test flight. This is a big step forward for the company as it prepares to help NASA return to the moon. You can check out the launch at the end of the article. This Week in Rocket Launches we have quite a number of missions from SpaceX and others.

Sunday, 19 November

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • When: 6:55 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 4, California, US
  • Why: SpaceX will be launching 22 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. They will be covered with anti-reflective coatings to reduce the sun’s reflection to help astronomers. This batch is Starlink Group 7-7 if you decide to have a look for it on satellite trackers such as ISS Detector - even with the coating, you may still be able to see them but they will be dimmer.

Tuesday, 21 November

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • When: 5:50 a.m. - 10:44 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral, Florida, US
  • Why: This is yet another Starlink satellite launch, the batch this time is Starlink Group 6-29. The idea behind these frequent launches is to establish a huge constellation are satellites so that the internet can be beamed down anywhere on the planet.

Wednesday, 22 November

  • Who: CNSA
  • What: Long March 2D
  • When: Unknown
  • Where: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
  • Why: China will be using a Long March 2D to launch the Shijian 19 new generation recoverable satellite. The satellite will conduct microgravity research with physical science, materials science, and biological experiments.

Saturday, 25 November

  • Who: China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology
  • What: Jielong SD-3
  • When: Unknown
  • Where: South China Sea
  • Why: CALT will launch a Jielong SD-3 rocket carrying the Xiangang hyperspectral remote sensing satellite for the Advanced Manufacturing Center of the Hong Kong Science Park. The satellite is equipped with a high-res optical camera which can take sub-meter visible light remote sensing images and provides high-precision data for the Internet of Things, disaster prevention and reduction, emergency safety, remote sensing, smart city contraction, and more.


  • The first launch last week was a Falcon 9 carrying the fifth and sixth O3b mPOWER satellites for SES. The first stage proceeded to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic.
  • The next to launch was a Long March 2C carrying the Huanjing-3 01 satellite. This will be used for monitoring the oceans to help improve the understanding of marine waters.
  • The third launch was a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites. This was Group 6-28 and included 23 satellites. They join the Starlink constellation and beam the internet back to Earth.
  • Finally, SpaceX performed a test flight of Starship. It failed to launch properly earlier in this year as it exploded mid-flight and it also destroyed the launch pad. This time, the launch was an improvement over the first attempt but both stages of the rocket both ended up getting destroyed after they successfully separated. SpaceX will now use this data to try and improve on a third test flight.

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

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