This Week in Rocket Launches is full this week with interesting events. Notably on Wednesday, the Chinese company, Space Pioneer, will launch the Tianlong 2 on its maiden flight. If you check the recap section, you’ll also be able to see footage of the Terran 1 rocket which launched for the first time.
Sunday, March 26
The first launch this week will see NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) launch an LVM3 rocket carrying 36 OneWeb satellites to space. For those not aware, OneWeb’s satellites beam internet back down to the planet similar to SpaceX's Starlink. Unlike SpaceX, OneWeb doesn’t have the capability to launch its satellites so has to depend on other companies and governments. It was previously relying on Russia but since the war began, OneWeb has sought other partners. This mission is due for launch at 3:30 a.m. UTC and will be streamed on YouTube.
Monday, March 27
Next up is the Chinese company ExPace which will be launching its Kuaizhou-1A rocket. This launch is a bit mysterious because we don’t know what it’s carrying into space. The only details are that it will take place at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 2:30 a.m. UTC.
Wednesday, March 29
The third launch of the week is a bit interesting, it’s from a Chinese company called Space Pioneer which hasn’t been mentioned much, if ever, in previous TWIRL editions. It will be launching its Tianlong 2 rocket on its maiden flight carrying several CubeSats to space. This mission is also due to launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and will blast off at 7:00 a.m. UTC.
Thursday, March 30
Thursday is set to be busy with three launches. The first of these is a SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying 10 Tranche 0 demo satellites for the US military’s Space Development Agency. These demo satellites will lay the foundations of a future satellite constellation of military missile tracking and data relay satellites. It’s not known what time the mission will launch but it’ll take off from Vandenberg AFB in California.
The second launch on Thursday is another one from SpaceX. The company will be sending yet another Falcon 9 but this time carrying 21 Starlink satellites. As you probably know by now, these will join the Starlink constellation which beams internet back down to Earth. Starlink was criticized by astronomers because they were reflective and disrupting astronomy but now SpaceX has applied an anti-reflective coat to the satellites so they won’t be as much of a problem. The time for this mission is still unknown but it’ll launch from Cape Canaveral.
The final launch is a Long March 2D from China carrying several satellites including Zhongyuan 1 & Hebi 1-3. It’s unclear what these satellites will be tasked to do but common uses for satellites is remote sensing where they help to track changes on land or in the sea so they could be doing things like that. The launch time is unclear but the site will be the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
The first launch last week was a Kuaizhou-1A rocket carrying four Tianmu-1 meteorological satellites. It took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and the satellites have entered their planned orbits.
Next, we finally got the first launch of Relativity Space’s Terran 1 rocket which was delayed the other week.
On Friday, Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket from New Zealand carrying two BlackSky observation satellites.
Finally, a SpaceX Falcon 9 carried 56 Starlink satellites to space and the first stage of the rocket landed for reuse.
That’s all for this week be sure to check in next time.
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