TWIRL 106: Rocket Lab, Relativity Space, and SpaceX ready launches
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We have a less busy week ahead of us. Rocket Lab, Relativity Space, and SpaceX all have missions planned this week concerning the orbiting of satellites. Relativity Space will launch the Terran 1 rocket on its first flight after it was aborted last week.
Wednesday, March 22
- The first launch this week will be an Electron rocket from Rocket Lab. The mission will carry two BlackSky satellites into orbit and will be called “The Beat Goes On”. The company is also going to try to recover the first stage of the rocket by having it land in the ocean carried down with the aid of parachutes. The satellites will perform Earth observation with 1m resolution images. You’ll be able to tune in to the launch on Rocket Lab’s website and it’s due to take off at 8:45 a.m. UTC from New Zealand.
- The second launch on Wednesday is Relativity Space’s Terran 1 rocket which will launch on its first test flight. This mission was pushed back from earlier this month after the launch was aborted. As part of the test flight, the rocket will carry a 3D-printed mass simulator. The rocket will also only launch with a nose cone but no fairing. Relativity Space will be streaming the event on YouTube and take off is expected between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Friday, March 24
- The final launch of the week will be a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX. It will launch 21 Starlink satellites into a low Earth orbit. These satellites will beam internet back to Earth as part of the Starlink constellation. Luckily, these newer Starlink satellites are covered with anti-reflective coatings so they won’t interfere as much with astronomy. There’s no assigned time for the launch just yet but check SpaceX’s website if you want to watch when it does happen.
- The first attempted launch last week happened on Sunday. Relativity Space attempted to launch its Terran 1 rocket but had to abort it.
- On Monday, China launched a Long March-2C rocket carrying the Horus-2 satellite. As you can guess from the name, the satellite is Egyptian and will perform remote sensing.
- On Wednesday, SpaceX launched the CRS-27 mission using a Falcon 9 topped with a Dragon spacecraft which docked at the International Space Station carrying cargo for the astronauts aboard the station. The first stage of the Falcon 9 landed back on a drone ship.
- Next up, China launched its Long March-11 rocket carrying the Shiyan-19 satellite which will be used for land resource surveys, urban planning, disaster prevention and mitigation, and more.
- Thursday saw the launch of an Electron rocket from Rocket Lab. In a mission dubbed “Stronger Together”, the company launched two Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites for Capella Space.
- On Friday, China sent up a Long March-3B carrying the Gaofen-13 02 satellite. This will be used for things like land surveys, crop-yield estimation, environmental governance, weather warnings and forecasting, and disaster prevention and mitigation.
- On the same day, SpaceX also launched 52 Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket. It also launched the first stage of the Falcon 9.
- The final launch of the week was another Falcon 9 this time carrying the SES-18 and SES-19 communications satellites from Florida.
That’s all we have this week, check in next time!
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