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Virgin Galactic to send astronauts to the edge of space - TWIRL #126

TWIRL logo in front of VSS Unity

We have quite a lot of launches coming up this week. The two launches that stand out include Virgin Galactic’s mission to send astronauts to the edge of space and Russia’s mission to send a craft to the Lunar south pole.

Sunday, 6 August

  • The first mission this week will see Rocket Lab launch one of its Electron rockets carrying the first Acadia series satellite for Capella Space. This mission was previously aborted on July 30.

The Acadia 1 satellite is a synthetic aperture radar satellite that will snap images of the Earth. It will launch at 5:00 a.m. UTC from New Zealand and will be streamed on Rocket Lab’s website.

Monday, 7 August

  • At 12:55 a.m. UTC, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral carrying 22 Starlink satellites to orbit. Starlink satellites beam internet back to Earth, helping people in rural areas get online. It’ll be streamed on SpaceX’s website.
  • The final launch of the day will take place at 12:00 p.m. UTC and will see Roscosmos launch a Soyuz 2.1b rocket carrying the first GLONASS-K2 navigation satellite.

Tuesday, 8 August

  • At 6:57 a.m. UTC, China will launch a Long March 2C rocket carrying the Huanjing 2F environmental disaster mitigation satellite. The mission will take off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre and the satellite will be put into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.

Thursday, 10 August

  • The first launch on Thursday will happen at 2:00 p.m. UTC when Virgin Galactic launches its SpaceShipTwo rocketplane from the VMS Eve carrier aircraft.

The Galactic 02 mission, as it has been designated, will be carrying Jon Goodwin, Keisha Schahaff, and Anastatia Mayers as part of the crew.

  • The second launch on Thursday is another Roscosmos Soyuz 2.1b but this time it will be carrying the Luna 25 lander to the Moon. It will be aiming for the Lunar south pole’s Boguslavsky crater.

The lander will be carrying a science payload including a soil-sampling robotic arm and other hardware. The mission will take off at 11:10 p.m. from Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Friday, 11 August

  • The final launch of the week will be a Long March 3B/E carrying the Ludi Tance 4A L-SAR satellite. It will take off at 6:20 p.m. from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.


  • The first launch we got last week was Northrop Grumman’s Antares 230+ rocket which launched the CRS-19 Cygnus spacecraft. It was carrying cargo to the International Space Station.
  • Next up, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Intelsat Galaxy 37 comms satellite from Cape Canaveral.
  • Finally, China launched a Long March 4C rocket carrying the FengYun-3F meteorological satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

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

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