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SpaceX to launch a globally diverse crew to the International Space Station - TWIRL #128

TWIRL logo in front of the inside of the Crew Dragon

We have a very busy week coming up. The most notable launch will take place on Friday when SpaceX launches its Crew Dragon with astronauts from the US, Europe, Russia, and Japan to the ISS. JAXA and NASA will also be launching their XRISM mission this week.

Sunday, 20 August

  • Who: Chinese National Space Agency
  • What: Long March 4C
  • Where: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre
  • When: 5:45 p.m. UTC
  • Why: It’s unclear what the payload is but it could be the Gaofen 12-04 radar satellite.

Tuesday, 22 August

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • Where: Vandenburg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 - viewable on the SpaceX website.
  • When: 6:00 a.m. UTC
  • Why: 21 Starlink v2 Mini satellites are being launched into a low Earth orbit. The satellites are designated as Starlink Group 7-1.

Wednesday, 23 August

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • Where: Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral - viewable on the SpaceX website.
  • When: 12:47 a.m. UTC
  • Why: 22 Starlink v2 Mini satellites are being put into a low Earth orbit. This group will be known as Starlink Group 6-11.

  • Who: Roscosmos
  • What: Soyuz 2.1a
  • Where: Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • When: 1:08 a.m. UTC
  • Why: It will launch the 85th Progress cargo delivery to the crew up at the International Space Station (ISS).

  • Who: Rocket Lab
  • What: Electron
  • Where: LC-1B, Mahia, New Zealand - viewable on Rocket Lab’s website.
  • When: 11:30 p.m. UTC
  • Why: Rocket Lab will launch the first Arcadia series satellite dubbed Acadia 1 for Capella Space. The Acadia synthetic aperture radar satellites will be used for snapping images of the Earth.

Friday, 25 August

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9 B5
  • Where: SpaceX LC-39A, Florida - viewable on the SpaceX website.
  • When: 7:49 a.m. UTC
  • Why: SpaceX will launch Crew-7 on the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. The mission is part of NASA’s commercial crew program. The crew includes NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

Saturday, August 26

  • Who: JAXA and NASA
  • What: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA
  • Where: Yoshinobu Launch Complex LP-1
  • When: 12:34 a.m. UTC
  • Why: JAXA and NASA will launch the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) to perform high-res X-ray spectroscopic observations of the hot gas plasma wind that travels through galaxies in the universe. It will help us learn more about the composition and evolution of celestial objects. Also hitching a ride is JAXA’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM). This payload will test out precision landing technology on the moon.


  • The first launch we got last week was a Long March 3B carrying the L-SAR4 01 satellite from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. It will be used to provide remote sensing information services.
  • Next, a Kuaizhou 1A rocket was launched carrying five HeDe-3 satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre. They will be used as part of a new VDES maritime communication system.
  • Finally, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launched 22 Starlink satellites to a low Earth orbit where they will provide broadband services. The group is known as Starlink Group 6-10.

That’s all for this week, there will be a break next week with TWIRL hopefully returning the week after.

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