When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

United Launch Alliance set to send NASA crew to space station - TWIRL #163

The TWIRL logo in front of an Atlas V

We have plenty of missions coming up this week but the most notable will be United Launch Alliance’s crewed mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s commercial crew program. Be sure to check the recap section too for the launch of China’s latest lunar mission.

Monday, 6 May

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 3:34 p.m. - 8:05 p.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 carrying 23 Starlink satellites to orbit. This batch is known as Starlink Group 6-56, this identifier can be used on apps like ISS Detector to try and spot them flying through the night sky. For anyone that doesn’t know, SpaceX’s Starlink satellites beam internet down to the Earth and even provide internet in remote areas not served by traditional broadband.

Tuesday, 7 May

  • Who: United Launch Alliance
  • What: Atlas V
  • When: 2:34 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: United Launch Alliance will launch an Atlas V rocket carrying the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft carrying a crew to the International Space Station as part of a test flight. The astronauts will include Barry Wilmore and Sunita Williams from NASA. This mission is being carried out as part of NASA’s commercial crew program.

  • Who: China
  • What: Long March 6C
  • When: 3:20 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Taiyuan, China
  • Why: China will launch a Long March 6C for the first time carrying the Neptune 1 Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite for Ningbo Zhihui Space Technology Co., Ltd. This satellite is just the first satellite in a constellation that will eventually be 36 satellites strong.

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 10:09 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Florida, US
  • Why: SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 carrying 23 Starlink satellites. This group is Starlink Group 6-57. They will join the huge Starlink constellation to beam the internet down to Earth. Like most other Starlink missions, we should see the first stage of the Falcon 9 perform a landing.

Wednesday, 8 May

  • Who: SpaceX
  • What: Falcon 9
  • When: 2:48 a.m. - 7:18 a.m. UTC
  • Where: California, US
  • Why: This batch of Starlink satellites is Group 8-2, they will be placed in a low Earth orbit before being switched on. Interestingly, this group of about 22 satellites could feature six direct-to-cell Starlink satellites - these are relatively new with the first satellites of this type being sent up just several months ago.

Thursday, 9 May

  • Who: China
  • What: Long March 3B/E
  • When: 1:50 a.m. UTC
  • Where: Xichang, China
  • Why: China will use a Long March 3B or 3E to launch two BeiDou navigation satellites for the government. The BeiDou satellites operate in a medium Earth orbit (MEO) which is further out than a low Earth orbit which Starlink operates in. Most modern smartphones support BeiDou satellites to help improve location accuracy on Google Maps.


  • The first launch we got last week was the SpaceX Starlink 159 mission. 23 Starlink satellites were launched, known as Starlink Group 6-54, and then the first stage of the rocket performed a landing.
  • The second launch was also a Falcon 9 but this time it was carrying two WorldView Legion satellites for Maxar. These satellites are the first two of six planned WorldView Legion satellites.
  • Next up, SpaceX has 23 more Starlink satellites to launch, known as Starlink 6-55. The first stage of the Falcon 9 also performed a landing.
  • Finally, China launched its Chang’e-6 mission to the moon atop a Long March 5 Y8. The aim of this lunar mission is to collect samples from the far side of the moon and bring them back to Earth for examination.

That’s it for this week, check in next time.

Report a problem with article
A Microsoft Weekly banner
Next Article

Microsoft Weekly: Windows bugs, new browsers, Copilot everywhere, and more

OFGB app for Windows 11
Previous Article

Remove Windows 11 ads with this simple free app

Join the conversation!

Login or Sign Up to read and post a comment.

0 Comments - Add comment