Three Launches Scheduled Over Two Days Next Week

ISS with Soyuz and Progress spacecraft docked to it. (Credit: NASA)

There are a dozen orbital launches planned around the world through the end of June.

China will lead off on Sunday as it launches its Chang’e-4 lunar relay satellite from Xichang. A lunar lander and rover targeted for the far side of the moon is scheduled for launch at the end of the year.

Orbital ATK will follow with the launch of a Cygnus resupply ship bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday from Wallops Island. On Tuesday, SpaceX is scheduled to launch 5 Iridium Next satellites and a pair of scientific spacecraft for NASA.

Other notable missions scheduled through June include a Soyuz crew mission and a SpaceX Dragon resupply flight. Rocket Lab is probably going to launch the first commercial flight of its Electron booster from New Zealand. However, the company has not published a launch window for the flight.

The current global schedule is below. Be sure to check Space Flight Now’s launch schedule for updates.

MAY 2018

May 20

Launch Vehicle: Long March 4C
Payload: Chang’e-4 lunar relay satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Xichang, China

The satellite will relay communications from the Chang’e-4 lunar lander and rover, which are scheduled for launch the far side of the moon at the end of this year. This mission will carry two microsatellites that will conduct astronomical observations from deep space.

May 21

Launch Vehicle: Antares
Payload: Cyngus ISS resupply ship (OA-9)
Launch Window: 4:39-4:44 a.m. EDT (0839-0844 GMT)
Launch Site: Wallops Island, Virginia
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

May 22

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: Iridium Next 51-55 communications & 2 Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) scientific satellites
Launch Time: 12:47:58 p.m. PDT; 3:47:58 p.m. EDT (1947:58 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Webcast: www.spacex.com and www.nasa.gov

The two GRACE-FO satellites are a result of a collaboration between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

NET May 31

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: SES 12 communications satellite
Launch Window: 12:29-1:27 a.m. EDT (0429-0527 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com

JUNE 2018

June 6

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: ISS 55S Crew flight
Launch Time: 7:11 a.m. EDT (1111 GMT)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

June 11

Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Payload: IGS Radar 6 reconnaissance satellite
Launch Window: 12:00-2:00 a.m. EDT (0400-0600 GMT)
Launch Site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

June 14

Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL
Payload: NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: L-1011, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

June 28

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Dragon ISS resupply (CRS-15)
Launch Time: 6:03 a.m. EDT (1003 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com and www.nasa.gov

May/June 2018 TBD

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payloads: 2 Spire & 1 GeoOptics satellites
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

First commercial flight of Electron.

June 2018 TBD

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2C
Payload: PRSS 1 remote sensing satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Taiyuan, China

Launch Vehicle: Long March 3A
Payload: Fengyun 2H geostationary weather satellite
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Xichang, China

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Telstar 19V communications satellite
Launch Window: TBD
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida
Webcast: www.spacex.com

  • Michael Halpern

    I look forward to this type of launch activity being normal