Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

(more…)

77 Launches Conducted During First Half of 2022 as Access to Orbit Expanded

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.

A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

(more…)

Five Launches Scheduled to Close Out June

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Here are the launches scheduled for the rest of June.

Tuesday, June 28

Launch Vehicle: Electron
Payload: CAPSTONE
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Launch Time: 5:55 a.m. EDT (09:55 UTC)
Webcast: www.nasa.gov beginning at 5 a.m. EDT (09:00 UTC)

Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) lunar orbiter. The spacecraft will enter a near rectilinear halo orbit on Nov. 13 in order to test technologies for NASA’s lunar Gateway space station that will use that orbit.

Wednesday, June 29

Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
Payload: SES 22 communications satellite
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.
Launch window: 5:04-7:13 p.m. EDT (21:04-23:13 UTC)
Webcast: www.spacex.com beginning 10 minutes before launch

Thursday, June 30

Launch Vehicle: Virgin Orbit LauncherOne
Payload: STP-28A — 7 small spacecraft
Launch Site: Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747), Mojave Air and Space Port, Calif.
Launch Window: 1:00-5:00 a.m. EDT (10 p.m.-1 a.m. PDT on June 29/30 — 0500-0900 UTC)
Webcast: www.virginorbit.com

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 will drop the LauncherOne rocket off the coast of California on a mission funded by Department of Defense’s Space Test Program.

Launch Vehicle: PSLV
Payload: DS-EO Earth observation satellite
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, India
Launch Time: 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 UTC)
Webcast: www.isro.gov.in

Launch Vehicle: ULA Atlas V
Payload: USSF 12 missile warning satellite
Launch Site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.
Launch Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m. EDT (2200-0000 UTC)
Webcast: www.ulalaunch.com

Hindustan Aeronautics, L&T Consortium to Build PSLV Boosters for ISRO

PSLV rocket launches the EOS-4 Earth observation satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

Indian media are reporting that a partnership of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and L&T consortium submitted the winning bid to manufacture five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) privatizes key elements of the nation’s space program. BusinessToday.In reports:

“The company is the lead partner with L&T sharing the work. Other vendors too will be involved with the consortium in the manufacturing of the launch vehicles (LVs). However, the contract is yet to be formalised/ awarded,” HAL said in a statement.

This will be the first time that the industry will build a LV and will pave the way for commercialisation of other LVs, including the small satellite launch vehicle.

“ISRO’s commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) had floated a request for proposal for the said work in December, 2020,” HAL added.

The first rocket is expected to be realised sometime during the second half of 2024 and the balance four rockets will be delivered during 2025 and 2026 at two rockets per year.

India has taken a number of legal steps to privatize the nation’s government-run space program. Legal and regulatory changes have been undertaken, and private Indian space companies have signed agreements giving them access to ISRO facilities for testing purposes.

ISRO Launches Earth Observation Satellite, Two Secondary Payloads

PSLV rocket launches the EOS-4 Earth observation satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C52 injected Earth Observation Satellite EOS-04, into an intended sun synchronous polar orbit of 529 km altitude at 06:17 hours IST on February 14, 2022 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, Sriharikota.

(more…)

New Chairman Takes Charge as India Space Agency Struggles to Launch Satellites and Begin Human Spaceflight

New ISRO Chairman Shri. S. Somanath (left) takes over from K. Sivan. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new chairman has taken over the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at a crucial time as the space agency continues to struggles with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge of becoming only the fourth nation capable of launching astronauts into orbit.

(more…)

NSIL/ISRO and OneWeb to Collaborate for Taking Digital Connectivity to Every Corner of the World

GSLV Mk III booster lifts off. (Credit: ISRO)
  • ISRO’s PSLV and GSLV-MkIII to become a part of launch programme for OneWeb’s LEO satellites that will beam high speed broadband on earth

LONDON and NEW DELHI, India, 11 October 2021 (OneWeb PR) — Bharti-backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, today announced an  arrangement through Letter of Intent with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to use the Indian-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.

(more…)

India Moves Forward with Plans to Privatize Production of Launch Vehicles

GSLV Mark III inaugural flight test. (Credit: ISRO)

India is moving forward with transferring production of its government-built launch vehicles to private companies, Outlook India reports.

The Department of Space (DoS) plans to realise entirely-built rockets — GSLV-Mk III and SSLV — from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV, according to a top official of its commercial arm NSIL.

NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) has received three bids — HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).

“We are now going through the techno-commercial evaluation (in respect of the three bids)”, NSIL Chairman and Managing Director, D Radhakrishnan, told PTI here.

He said the process will be completed within the next two months with one of the bidders bagging the contract. The selected bidder will be responsible for realisation of five numbers of PSLV.

GSLV-Mk III is India’s most powerful satellite booster. It will be used to launch ISRO’s Gaganyaan crewed spacecraft. SSLV is the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, whose maiden flight has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

ISRO to Launch Brazilian Earth Observation Satellite, 18 Secondary Payloads

PSLV-C51 on the launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — PSLV-C51, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV, will launch Amazonia-1 of Brazil as primary satellite and 18 Co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. The launch is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 28 at 1024 IST [0454 UTC/11:54 p.m. on Feb. 27], subject to weather conditions.

Watch live from 0950 IST [0420 UTC/11:20 p.m. on Feb. 27] onwards here.

(more…)

Spaceflight Inc. Readies Its Largest Satellite Contracted to Date, Amazonia-1, for Launch

Amazonia-1 satellite

The launch service provider purchased an entire PSLV from NSIL to support the launch of Brazil’s first Earth observation satellite

SEATTLE, February 17, 2021 (Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Spaceflight Inc., the global launch services provider, today revealed details about the upcoming launch of its largest customer satellite launch to date, the Amazonia-1 spacecraft. To accommodate the nearly 700-kilogram satellite, Spaceflight purchased an entire NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The mission, named PSLV-C51/ Amazonia-1, is targeted for launch at the end of February from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota (SDSC, SHAR), India.  

The spacecraft was produced by INPE, the National Institute for Space Research (in Portuguese: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais), Brazil’s leading entity dedicated to space research and exploration and is the first Earth observation satellite to be completely designed, integrated, tested and operated in Brazil. Amazonia-1 will launch under a commercial arrangement with NSIL, an Indian government company under Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of ISRO. 

(more…)

India Launches Earth Observation Satellite, 9 Secondary Payloads

  • India’s first launch of 2020 lofts 10 satellites
  • ISRO has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • India typically launches five or six times per year
  • Secondary payloads included four Kleos Space maritime applications satellites and four Lemur multi-mission satellites for Spire

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — Today, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its fifty first flight (PSLV-C49), successfully launched EOS-01 along with nine international customer satellites from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. 

(more…)

Kleos Space’s Launch Team Arrive in India for Final Launch Preparations

LUXEMBOURG, 16 October 2020 (Kleos Space PR) – Kleos Space S.A, a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, confirms that their team mission experts have arrived in Chennai, India in preparation for the launch of Kleos’ four Scouting Mission nanosatellites aboard PSLV C49 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, with launch targeted for the 1st half of November 2020.

Despite the unprecedented 2020 challenges of the launch industry to follow schedule, Kleos Space’s Gavin Bowyer supported by Ed Stevens from In-Space and mission manager Marcy Rugland from Spaceflight arrived in Chennai yesterday at 3:00 am local time.

(more…)

Spaceflight Inc. Launch Cadence Accelerates with Upcoming Electron and PSLV Missions to Expand Constellations

Kleos Scouting Mission (Credit: Kleos Space)

Rideshare provider to deploy nine spacecraft for customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire on next two missions

SEATTLE – October 14, 2020 – Spaceflight Inc., the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will execute two launches on two different continents in a matter of weeks; one aboard a Rocket Lab Electron and the other on NewSpace India Limited’s (NSIL) PSLV. For both missions, Spaceflight arranged the launch and is providing mission management and rideshare integration services for its customers Canon Electronics, Kleos Space and Spire.

(more…)