TWIRL 64: China prepares a Long March CZ-7 to carry Tianzhou 4 to its space station

The Tianzhou craft next to the TWIRL logo
Tianzhou image via Godai (Wikipedia)

It’s a fairly quiet week this week with just two launches. First, China will launch a Long March CZ-7 rocket to get the Tianzhou 4 cargo craft to the Chinese Space Station and SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 B5 rocket to put another 50 Starlink satellites into orbit. As things stand, that’s all we’ve got for the week ahead.

Monday, May 9

The first launch of the week is China’s Long March CZ-7 carrying the Tianzhou 4. The Tianzhou 4 is a cargo craft that will dock with the Tianhe module of the Chinese Space Station. The cargo weighs in at 6.5 tonnes and will provide China’s Taikonauts, as they are called, with the resources they need to carry out their mission. It’s not clear what time this rocket will be launching but we should have a video in next week’s recap as long as there is a successful launch.

Tuesday, May 10

The second and final launch of the week is a SpaceX Falcon 9 B5 rocket carrying 50 Starlink satellites that will bolster the company’s satellite internet network. There’s no launch time given for this event just yet but be sure to head over to SpaceX’s website on the day for a live stream of the launch.


The first event we got last week was Rocket Lab’s There And Back Again mission which saw a helicopter capture the first stage of an Electron rocket so that it can be reused. This is an alternative method to reusing rockets and potentially cheaper than SpaceX’s method of using rocket fuel to land components back on the ground.

Next, a Long March-2D rocket was launched carrying eight satellites including a Jilin 1 satellite which will be used for Earth observation tasks.

On May 6, the Crew-3 team splashed down after returning from the International Space Station. The video is in night vision mode because it was 12:43 a.m. local time.

Finally, SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida.

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