TWIRL 93: SpaceX to launch commercial lunar mission consisting of a lander and two rovers

The TWIRL logo in front of iSpaces lunar mission

We have some interesting launches this week. On Tuesday, China will launch Shenzhou 15 to the Chinese Space Station. The mission will carry three taikonauts. In addition to this, SpaceX will launch the Hakuto-R M1 mission, which consists of a commercial lunar lander and two lunar rovers.

Tuesday, November 29

  • The first launch of the week is a Chinese Long March 2F/G rocket carrying Shenzhou 15, which is heading to the Chinese Space Station with three taikonauts aboard. The mission was supposed to launch the week beginning November 21, but it has seemingly been delayed. The new launch time is 3:18 a.m. UTC. It’s not clear if there will be a live stream of the event, but there will definitely be video footage of the event after the fact. Check next week’s recap section if you want to watch.

Wednesday, November 30

  • There will be two launches from SpaceX today, the first is a Starlink mission. A Falcon 9 will carry 52 Starlink satellites into a polar low Earth orbit, where they will boost the Starlink satellite internet network. The mission is due to take off at 4:39 a.m. UTC from California and will be available for stream via SpaceX’s website.
  • The second SpaceX mission will be launching from the other side of the U.S. in Florida at 8:39 a.m. UTC. A Falcon 9 will launch the Hakuto-R M1 mission, a commercial lunar lander tech demo. The satellite will touch down at Lacus Somniorum as it has ideal landing conditions. The lander will be carrying commercial and governmental payloads, including two rovers. Just like the prior mission, this launch should also be available as a live stream on SpaceX’s website.

Saturday, December 3

  • The final launch of the week to take off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. A LandSpace Zhuque ZQ-2 rocket will take off carrying 11 payloads to orbit. The first stage of the rocket will be expendable during this launch, but in future missions, LandSpace will attempt vertical landings of the first stage, much like we see with SpaceX’s Falcon 9. We should get video footage of this launch after the event.

Recap

  • With the launch of Artemis I the other week, we received video back as the Orion spacecraft orbited the Moon.
  • After completing its orbit, we got some footage of the Earth, quite a bit further off than we’re used to seeing.
  • The first launch we got this week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 carrying the Eutelsat 10B satellite into orbit.
  • Next up, an Indian PSLV-XL launched the EOS-06 satellite to orbit along with eight nanosats.
  • Finally, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the CRS-26 Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

That’s all for this week, check in next time!

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