Watch Next Space Station Crew Launch Live on Friday on NASA TV, NASA App

Expedition 65 crew members Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, left, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos, center, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, pose for a photo during qualification exams, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia, in advance of their scheduled launch April 9 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three space travelers, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, are poised to launch Friday, April 9, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide comprehensive prelaunch and launch-to-docking coverage.

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Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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Dawn Aerospace Launches Eighth In-Space Propulsion Unit

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ, 23 March 2021 (Dawn Aerospace PR) – Dawn Aerospace has announced another of the company’s CubeSat propulsion units, designed to manoeuvre small satellites in space, has been successfully launched.

The CubeSat propulsion unit flew on Hiber Three, an Internet-of-Things (IoT) satellite created by European company Hiber. The satellite was launched on 22 March from Baikonur on a Rosocosmos Soyuz-2 rocket.

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ELSA-d Debris Removing Spacecraft Launched

ELSA-d satellite prepared for launch in a cleanroom at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

TOKYO, March 23, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, confirmed the successful launch of its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) mission. This marks the start of the world’s first commercial mission to prove the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal. ELSA-d, which consists of two satellites stacked together — a servicer designed to safely remove debris from orbit and a client satellite that serves as a piece of replica debris — was launched by GK Launch Services into a 550 km orbit on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, March 22, at 6:07 am (UTC).

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Kepler Communications Announces Successful Launch of 2 New GEN1 Satellites Creating the Largest Constellation by a Canadian Company

Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifts off from Baikonur with 38 satellites. (Credit: Glavkosmos webcast)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, March 22, 2021 (Kepler Communications PR) – Kepler Communications welcomed two new satellites into their constellation today, further expanding the active constellation to 15 satellites in total.  These two satellites, KEPLER-6 and KEPLER-7, were successfully launched via Soyuz 2 out of Baikonur Cosmodrome as part of the CAS500-1 mission at approximately 02:07 AM EDT. Once fully operational within the constellation these will add additional capacity to Kepler’s Global Data Services offering while also making Kepler Communications the Canadian leader in terms of the number of satellites in space.  

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Soyuz Rocket Launches 38 Satellites into Orbit

Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifts off from Baikonur with 38 satellites. (Credit: Glavkosmos webcast)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, March 22, 2021, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 38 spacecraft on board was launched from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. 

After 1 hour and 3 minutes after the launch, the main payload was separated – the South Korean satellite for Earth remote sensing CAS500-1. At the moment, after processing telemetry information, the upper stage has successfully completed all stages of the program for placing the remaining 37 spacecraft into target orbits.

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Russia’s Angara Rocket Prepares for Mass Production

The central core of an Angara launcher. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The new production facilities of the Khrunichev Center (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) will make it possible to produce up to ten missiles of the Angara family per year. In two cities of Russia, large-scale preparations are underway for the start of the serial production of missiles of this family. More details about the strategy and principles of organizing production, delimiting areas of responsibility between sites, the near and medium-term prospects of the heavy and light version of Angara.

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Soyuz-2 to Launch 38 Spacecraft from 18 Countries on March 20

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On March 20, a launch of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage is scheduled from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that will deliver 38 spacecraft (SC) from 18 countries into three sun-synchronous orbits:

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NASA Assigns Astronaut Mark Vande Hei to Fly to Space Station on Russian Soyuz Spacecraft

Mark Vande Hei (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has assigned astronaut Mark Vande Hei to an upcoming mission to the International Space Station as a flight engineer and member of the Expedition 64/65 crew. Vande Hei, along with cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch Friday, April 9, on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Sateliot Prepares with Open Cosmos to Launch its First Nanosatellite on 20 March

Open Cosmos experts integrate Sateliot’s nanosatellite into the deployer to be carried aboard the Soyuz rocket. (Credit: Sateliot)

BARCELONA, Spain (Sateliot PR) — Sateliot, the satellite telecommunications operator, is finalising with Open Cosmos, the company that operates end-to-end space missions, the launch of its first nanosatellite, which is scheduled for the morning of 20 March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Russia Launches Arktika-M Meteorological Satellite to Monitor the Arctic

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, February 28, 2021 at 09:55:01 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the Arktika-M spacecraft took place from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome No. 1 on board. After 562 seconds, according to the processed telemetry information, the upper stage and payload separated from the third stage of the carrier in the normal mode.

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Astroscale ELSA-d Orbital Debris Removal Satellite Prepared for Launch From Baikonur

ELSA-d satellite prepared for launch in a cleanroom at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME (Roscosmos PR) — The developer of the ELSA-d spacecraft, Astroscale, continues to work on site No. 92 of the Baikonur cosmodrome in preparation for the upcoming launch. At the moment, the software, solar batteries and their opening mechanisms have been successfully tested, the on-board batteries are charged, the electrical checks of the apparatus have been completed.

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Russian Progress Cargo Craft Docks to Station

Progress 77 approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos website)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — An uncrewed Russian Progress 77 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:27 a.m. EST, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:45 p.m. EST (9:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time). The spacecraft were flying over Argentina at the time of docking.

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Russia Launches Progress Resupply Ship

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the program of flights to the International Space Station, today, February 15, 2021, at 07:45:05 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with a transport cargo was performed from the launcher No. 6 of the site No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome by the Progress MS-16 spacecraft. According to the received telemetry information, after 8 minutes and 48 seconds, the ship’s normal separation from the third stage of the carrier was recorded, solar panels and antennas were revealed.

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NASA Television to Air Space Station Cargo Ship Launch, Docking

Russia’s Progress 76 resupply ship, packed with nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies, approaches the International Space Station above the eastern European nation of Ukraine on July 23, 2020. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station beginning at 11:15 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 14.

The unpiloted Russian Progress 77 is scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket at 11:45 p.m. (10:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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