TWIRL 11: SpaceX to launch 60 Starlink satellites and maybe Starship SN15

The Starship behind the TWIRL logo
Background image via SpaceX

We’ve got a pretty quiet week in terms of rocket launches this week. SpaceX will try to launch its Starlink 25 mission, we may see Virgin Galactic launch its VSS Unity rocketplane, and a Long March rocket will put three satellites into orbit to carry out possible SIGINT work. We may also see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 this week as a launch was scrubbed on Friday.

Tuesday, May 4

On Tuesday, we’ve got just one launch from SpaceX who will be launching its Starlink 25 mission. This mission will send 60 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit where they’ll beam internet connectivity back down to the planet. The satellites will be taken into space atop SpaceX’s trusty Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket which has reliably sent hundreds of Starlink satellites to space. If you’d like to watch the launch, head over to SpaceX’s website at 7:01 p.m. UTC on Tuesday.

Starlink satellites going across the sky

Wednesday, May 5

May 5 will be the first date that we could see the launch of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo-class VSS Unity. It’s really important to point out that this launch is marked as no earlier than which means the launch could take place after Wednesday. If the flight does go ahead, VSS Unity will launch from a VMS EVE carrier aircraft and fly to the edge of space. It will carry payloads as part of the NASA flight opportunities program that will generate revenue for Virgin Galactic.

Friday, May 7

The final flight of the week will launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China. A Long March CZ-2C rocket will launch three satellites that have been designated as Yaogan 30 Group 08. The satellites will perform electromagnetic detection and perform other technical tests but to what ends is unknown. It’s speculated that the satellites could be being used for signals intelligence work. No live stream will show this launch but post-launch videos could appear on YouTube afterwards.

Starship SN15

We could see SpaceX launch its Starship SN15 from Monday onwards following its flight last Friday that was scrubbed due to bad weather. SpaceX has still not performed a smooth landing of a Starship vehicle to date but NASA recently selected SpaceX’s Starship to land the next Americans on the Moon; this should motivate the firm to nail the landing process.

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