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TWIRL 79: China to start the week with the launch of a mystery payload

The TWIRL logo in front of a Long March 11 rocket
Background image via SciNews

We have two launches slated for this week. First, there will be a launch of the Long March 11 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center carrying a mystery payload, and finally, SpaceX will launch more Starlink satellites. Don't forget to check out the recap videos at the bottom of the article showing the launches from the last week.

Monday, August 22

The first launch of the week will take off from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 3 a.m. UTC. A Long March 11 will be launched from there carrying a mystery payload. Apparently, this could be the first flight of the Long March 11A variant, which features a larger first stage.

The Long March 11 is a very interesting rocket. It’s adapted from a Chinese Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, and as such, launches from a tube using compressed gas before the engines are fired. This means that it can be launched at short notice and from almost anywhere, including sea platforms. Check out the video to see previous launches of this rocket.

Wednesday, August 24

The second and final launch of the week is a Falcon 9 taking off from Florida. SpaceX is launching 53 Starlink satellites to boost the coverage of its broadband-beaming satellite constellation. The Starlink satellites launching this time are known as Starlink Group 4-23 – this can help amateur astronomers and satellite watchers find this particular group of satellites through apps like ISS Detector. It’s not clear what time this mission is launching, but check SpaceX’s website on the day for a stream.


The first video from last week is of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule undocking from the ISS and returning to Earth.

Next, we go to the launch of a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink Group 4-27.

Finally, China launched a Long March 2D rocket carrying three Yaogan-35 satellites that will be used for Earth observation.

That’s all we’ve got this week, check back next time.

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