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TWIRL 103: SpaceX to dominate this week's schedule with Falcon 9 launches

Falcon 9 with the TWIRL logo in front

We’re nearing the end of February so This Week in Rocket Launches is back as promised at the end of the last edition. This week, we have several launches, all SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. The missions involve taking people to space, orbiting more Starlink satellites, and helping OneWeb get more of its internet-beaming satellites to space.

Monday, February 27

  • The first launch on Monday is a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft which will head to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) and will ferry NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi, and Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev to the ISS. This mission was brought forward from March but was delayed from February 15, 19, and 26. It’ll launch at 6:45 a.m. UTC from Florida and will be available to watch on SpaceX’s website.
  • The second launch on Monday is due between 6:37 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. UTC from Cape Canaveral where SpaceX will launch another Falcon 9, this time carrying Starlink satellites. This batch of 20-30 Gen2 Starlink “Mini” satellites will be known as Starlink Group 6-1 and can be found on satellite tracking apps under this designation. As mentioned previously, these satellites are covered in anti-reflective paint which should make them less of a hindrance to astronomers. Use the link to SpaceX’s website above to watch this launch too.
  • The third and final launch on Monday is yet another Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites. Included in this batch are 49 Block 1.5 Starlink satellites, rather than the “Mini” variants, however, these will also come with an anti-reflective coating. This launch will take place in California, the other side of the U.S., at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch will occur around 12 hours after the other two at 7:31 p.m. UTC and will be available to stream in the same place on SpaceX’s website.

Wednesday, March 1

  • The final launch of the week takes place on Wednesday. It’ll be yet another Falcon 9 taking off from Cape Canaveral, this time at 7:44 p.m. This mission will see 40 OneWeb satellites sent into orbit and is designated OneWeb L17. The launch should be available to stream on SpaceX’s website and possibly OneWeb’s website too.


  • The first launch we had this week took place on Thursday. A Long March 3B rocket took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province carrying the ChinaSat 26 which is described as a high-throughput satellite with a capacity of more than 100 Gbps.
  • The second and final launch we saw took place on Friday when Russia launched a Soyuz 2.1a carrying Soyuz MS-23 to the space station. The mission was uncrewed but was transporting provisions for the astronauts aboard the ISS. Soyuz MS-23 will return to Earth later this year with Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Frank Rubio.

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

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