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SpaceX set to begin new rideshare mission series dubbed Bandwagon - TWIRL #159

The TWIRL logo in front of a Falcon 9

We have several launches coming up This Week in Rocket Launches. The most interesting among them are SpaceX’s Bandwagon-1 rideshare mission and Russia’s fourth test launch of the Angara A5 rocket and the first test launch of the Orion upper stage.

Sunday, 7 April

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 11:17 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will launch several smallsats as part of its Bandwagon-1 rideshare mission. The satellites include the 425 Project Flight 2 for the South Korean government, Capella 14, Centauri 6, Hawk 8A/B/C, Hawk 9A/B/C, LizzieSat 2-3, QPS-SAR 7, TSAT 1A, and more. They will be placed in a mid-inclination orbit.

Tuesday, 9 April

  • Who: Roscosmos
  • What: Angara A5
  • When: Unknown
  • Where: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia
  • Why: Roscosmos is performing the fourth test flight of the Angara A5 and the first test flight of the Orion upper stage. It will take off from a new pad at Vostochny Cosmodrome and will be carrying a dummy payload.
  • Who: United Launch Alliance
  • What: Delta IV Heavy
  • When: 4:53 - 9:04 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: United Launch Alliance will use a Delta IV Heavy to launch a classified spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The payload is allegedly Orion 12, a large SIGINT satellite. This mission is much delayed; it has been mentioned in the last two instalments of TWIRL but it failed to take off on both occasions.

Wednesday, 10 April

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 4:00 - 8:30 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will launch 23 Starlink satellites to a low Earth orbit. This batch will be known as Starlink Group 6-48 and can be identified on apps like ISS Detector if you want to try finding them passing overhead. The company will most likely try to land the first stage of this rocket so that it can be reused.


  • The first launch last week was a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites. These satellites will join the Starlink constellation and beam internet back to Earth. The first stage of the rocket also landed for reuse.
  • The next launch was a Roscosmos Soyuz 2.1b carrying the Resurs-P No. 4 Earth observation satellite from Kazakhstan.
  • Next up was another Starlink launch with the first stage of the Falcon 9 performing a landing.
  • On April 2, China launched a Long March 2D rocket carrying the Yaogan-42 01 remote sensing satellite. The satellite successfully entered its planned orbit.
  • The final launch we got was yet another Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites. Just like the previous launches, the first stage landed without issue.

That’s it for this week, please check back next week!

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