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SpaceX preparing to launch resupply mission to the ISS - TWIRL #149

A Falcon 9 taking off

We have quite a lot of launches coming up this week and most of them are satellite missions. One interesting mission we have was pushed back from last week, Rocket Lab will launch some satellites for Skylark which will help the space debris cleanup.

Additionally, SpaceX will be using a Falcon 9 to launch a Cygnus resupply mission to the International Space Station.

  • Sunday, 28 January

  • Who: Rocket Lab
  • What: Electron
  • When: 6:15 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. UTC
  • Where: New Zealand
  • Why: Rocket Lab will use an Electron rocket to carry the first batch of Skylark Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites to orbit for Spire Global. This mission should have gone ahead on January 27 but was delayed a day. These satellites will be used to detect other satellites and debris in orbit, assisting with the orbital debris problem.

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • When: 11:04 p.m. - 3:04 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Cape Canaveral, Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will be launching 23 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. The satellites are covered in anti-reflective coatings so that they have less of an impact on the work of astronomers. For anyone who doesn’t yet know, these Starlink satellites are the backbone of the Starlink network which customers can use to get online in many countries around the world.

Tuesday, 30 January

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • When: 5:07 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will use this mission to launch the Cygnus cargo freighter to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be carrying operational cargo to resupply those living in space.

Friday, 2 February

  • Who: China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)
  • What: Jielong 3
  • When: 3:00 a.m. UTC
  • Where: South China Sea
  • Why: This mission will see the third launch of the Jielong 3 rocket. It will take off from a ship called the Bo Run Jiu Zhou and will be carrying the Xingshidai 18-20, Xinmu 1, and SmartSat-X1 SAR satellites.

Saturday, 3 February

  • Who: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
  • What: Long March 2C
  • When: Unknown
  • Where: Xichang Satellite Launch Centre
  • Why: CASC will launch nine GeeSATs for Geespace, a subsidiary of automaker Geely. They belong to the Geely Future Mobility Constellation and provide private navigation augmentation. They can provide centimetre level positioning services for terminals on the ground, including in automotive, marine, and UAV applications. To reduce space debris, after five years, the satellites will come into the Earth’s atmosphere where they will burn up.


  • The first launch we got last week was Lijian 1 which was carrying five satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. The satellites were Taijing 1 03, Taijing 2 02, Taijing 2 04, Taijing 3 02, Taijing 4 03.
  • The second launch was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 carrying 22 Starlink satellites to orbit. The first stage of the rocket performed a landing on a sea platform in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Finally, Virgin Galactic did its sixth commercial space flight carrying passengers. The passengers flying on the VSS Unity that experienced near weightlessness were Lina Borozdina, Robie Vaughn, Franz Haider, and Neil Kornswiet.

That’s all for this week, check in next time

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