TWIRL 45: James Webb Space Telescope takes flight and Russia to test its Angara A5

The TWIRL logo in front of an Angara A5 rocket
Image from Russian MOD

NASA has successfully launched its next-generation space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. The launch took place on Christmas day after 25 years of construction and many delays. Thankfully, the launch went off without a hitch and now the JWST is on its month-long journey to Lagrange point 2 orbit to perform its observations. If you’re interested in tracking the progress of the JWST over the coming days, check out NASA’s Where is Webb? which shows you a timeline of the mission and other pieces of data.

Monday, December 27

Following all the recent excitement, the upcoming week is a bit quiet, but not boring. All of the launches are set to take place on Monday but there are two of them. The first launch is of a Starsem Soyuz 2.1b rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It’s set to take off at 1:10 p.m. UTC and will be carrying OneWeb satellites into orbit. OneWeb has been busy in recent days, first securing a deal with Vocus to deliver comms services to Australia and partnering with Excelerate to help keep first responders connected.

The second and final launch is an Angara A5 test flight. This launch will take place at 7:00 p.m. UTC from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia and will launch a Kosmos satellite mass simulator dubbed IPN 1. The upper stage of the rocket is called the Persey cryogenic upper stage and it’s the first time this will have flown. This launch will represent Angara A5’s third test flight.


On Monday, we saw the space tourists Yusaka Maezawa and Yozo Hirano return to Earth with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin from the International Space Station.

On Tuesday, SpaceX launched CRS-24 Dragon to the ISS carrying research, crew supplies, and hardware. You can see the launch below.

As well as the docking,

The next day we got the launch of the H-IIA rocket carrying the Inmarsat-6 F1 satellite from Japan.

On Thursday, China’s Long March-7A carried the Shiyan-12 01 and Shiyan-12 02 satellites into orbit. They will be used for space environment exploration and technical tests.

The main launch of the week, that of the James Webb Space Telescope aboard an Ariane 5 can be watched below. The video is from the full event but we’ve skipped ahead to the launch.

Finally, today, a Long March-4C took the ZY-1 02E satellite into orbit. The satellite will be used for resource asset management, ecological monitoring, environmental protection, and more.

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