TWIRL 98: SpaceX to orbit rival company's internet-beaming satellites

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This week, we’ll see two launches from SpaceX. The first mission will be Transporter-6 which is a rideshare mission carrying satellites for paying customers. The second mission will see the company fly 40 OneWeb satellites to orbit, where they will beam internet back to Earth.

Tuesday, January 3

The first launch this week will be from SpaceX, it will be launching a Falcon 9 carrying range of smallsats as part of a mission called Transporter-6. Similar to other Transporter missions, this one is a rideshare so private interests can launch missions to space at a more affordable price. One of the payloads is called MethaneSat and is being sent to space for Bezos Earth Fund and Environmental Defense Fund. The launch should be available to stream on SpaceX’s website at around 2:56 p.m. UTC which is when the launch is scheduled for. It’ll take off from Cape Canaveral.

Sunday, January 8

The second and final launch of the week also comes from SpaceX. It will be launching another Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral at an unspecified time. It’ll carry 40 OneWeb satellites into orbit. Funnily enough, OneWeb is a competitor to SpaceX as its satellites beam internet down to Earth just like Starlink. The mission will be known as OneWeb L16 internally and should be streamed on SpaceX’s website on launch day.


The first launch last week was a Long March 4B carrying the Gaofen-11 04 Earth observation satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.

Next, SpaceX launched 54 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9, these, as always, will beam internet back to Earth.

On the 29th, China launched a Long March 3B carrying the Shiyan-10 02 satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The satellite will test new technologies.

Finally, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 carrying Israeli satellite EROS C-3 which will perform Earth observation tasks.

That’s all for this week, Happy New Year!

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