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TWIRL 91: NASA will try to launch Artemis I moon mission this week

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This week could turn out to be really exciting as NASA is looking to launch its massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as part of the Artemis I mission. The launch is scheduled for Wednesday morning (UTC) and will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a lunar flyby mission. While technically unmanned, “Commander Moonikin Campos” will be aboard with two other mannequins, ensuring the safety of the Orion astronaut spacesuit for future crewed missions.

Tuesday, November 15

  • The first mission this week will launch from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China. A Long March 4C will take the third Yaogan satellite into orbit, where it will be used for optical remote sensing. Some of its jobs include territorial surveying, urban planning, land right confirmation, road network design, crop yield estimation, and disaster prevention and mitigation. This mission is set to launch at 1:20 a.m. UTC.

Wednesday, November 16

  • We have two launches on Wednesday, the first is NASA’s Artemis I mission taking off between 6:04 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As mentioned earlier, it will send mannequins in the Orion spacecraft on a lunar flyby mission, paving the way for humanity’s return to the lunar surface, later this decade. Aside from the primary objective, the mission will be carrying 10 CubeSats. The launch should be quite prominent, expect to see it on news cycles. You can also see a live feed now.
  • The final launch of the week is a Galactic Energy's Ceres 1 (GX-1) rocket that will orbit five satellites for the Jilin 1 constellation. This mission will also take off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, this time at 6:26 a.m. It’ll be an interesting launch, as we don’t usually see missions from Galactic Energy, a private Chinese space launch company.


  • The first launch we got last week was a Northrop Grumman Antares 230+ rocket carrying the CRS-18 Cygnus spacecraft, which went to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The launch happened on November 7 and the cargo arrived on November 9. The Cygnus spacecraft was called S.S. Sally Ride after NASA astronaut Sally Ride.
  • On the 10th, United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched its Atlas V rocket carrying to Joint Polar Satellite System 2 (JPSS-2) along with an inflatable decelerator called LOFTID. Read last week’s TWIRL to learn more about this interesting mission.
  • You can see LOFTID’s splashdown below.
  • On the 11th, a Long March 6A carried the Yunhai-3 satellite into orbit where it will perform atmospheric and marine surveys, disaster prevention and reduction, and scientific experiments.
  • Earlier today, China launched a Long March 7 Y6 carrying Tianzhou-5, a cargo spacecraft on a mission to the Chinese Space Station.
  • Finally, SpaceX used a Falcon 9 to orbit the Galaxy 31 and Galaxy 32 comms satellites.

That's all we've got this week, check in next time and be sure to share this article!

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