The Upcoming Week in Launches: Artemis I and Some Other Ones

Artemis I rocket rolls out to the launch pad for a wet dress rehearsal on June 6, 2022. (Credit: NASA)

The Wikipedia orbital launch page lists six launches to close out August. The big one, of course, is NASA’s Artemis I mission next Monday. The others, not so momentous but still worth listing.

Disclaimer: This schedule is subject to change without notice. Parabolic Arc takes no responsibility for delays, changes, additions or what have you. And, as always, no wagering.

Tuesday, August 23

Launch Vehicle: Long March 11
Launch Site: Xichang Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
Payload: TBA

Wednesday, August 24

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2D 
Launch Site: Taiyuan Xichang Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: CASC
Payload: TBA

Saturday, August 27

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Vandenberg Space Force Base
Launch Company: SpaceX
Payloads: 46 Starlink broadband satellites
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Sunday, August 28

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Launch Company: SpaceX
Payloads: 53 Starlink broadband satellites
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Monday, August 29

Launch Vehicle: Space Launch System Block 1
Launch Site: Kennedy LC-39B
Launch Window: 8:33-10:33 a.m. EDT (12:33-14:33 UTC)
Launching Agency: NASA
Payloads: Orion spacecraft and 10 secondary payloads
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Artemis I Secondary Payloads

SatelliteOrganizationOrbitPurpose
ArgoMoonItalian Space AgencyHeliocentricSpacecraft will demonstrate capacity of CubeSats to conduct precise maneuvers in deep space by providing detailed images of the SLS’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage 
BioSentinelNASAHeliocentricSpacecraft will use budding yeast to detect, measure, and compare the impact of deep space radiation on DNA repair
CuSP NASAHeliocentricSpace weather measurements
EQUULEUSUniversity of TokyoEarth-moon L26U CubeSat will measure the distribution of plasma around Earth
LunaH-MapNASASelenocentricLunar polar orbiter will search for evidence of frozen water deposits
Lunar IceCubeNASASelenocentricLunar orbiter will search for frozen water deposits
LunIRLockheed Martin SpaceHeliocentricDemonstration technology to collect surface spectroscopy and thermography
Near-Earth Asteroid ScoutNASAHeliocentricTechnology demonstration of solar sail to rendezvous with asteroid
OMOTENASHIJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)SelenocentricSmallest vehicle to attempt lunar lander
Team MilesFluid and Reason, LLCHeliocentricTechnology demonstration of plasma thrusters

Late August       

Launch Vehicle: Kuaizhou 1A
Launch Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Launch Company: ExPace
Payloads: Centispace-1 S3 and Centispace-1 S4 navigation satellites

Rocket Arrives in California for NASA Launch of Polar-Orbiting Satellite

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster is offloaded from its water transport at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California on July 11, 2022, for NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite mission. (Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NOAA PR) — Flight hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket slated to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) has arrived in California. The rocket’s boattail and interstage adapter arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base July 28 for processing ahead of launch. The payload fairings arrived Aug. 8.

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JPSS-2 Weather Satellite Gets its Solar Array Installed

JPSS-2 solar panel deployment. (Credit: NOAA)

GILBERT, Ariz. (NOAA PR) — On July 26, in a clean room at the Northrop Grumman facility in Gilbert, Arizona, NOAA’s JPSS-2 satellite let out several loud pops as each of the five panels of its solar array detached from the body of the satellite and then unfolded, stretching out to its full 30-foot length. Under each panel, an engineer clad in a bunny suit flashed a thumbs up as latches clicked into place. 

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The Past Week in Launches: SpaceX & China Launch Twice, a Soyuz Rideshare and India Falls Short

Small Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off on maiden flight. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the past week, SpaceX launched 98 Starlink satellites, a Chinese commercial launch provider made it three in a row, Russia launched a rideshare mission with an Iranian satellite aboard, and India’s new small satellite launcher fell just short of orbit.

There have been 103 orbital launches worldwide, with 99 successes and four failures.

Let’s take a closer look at the last week in launch.

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Firefly Eyes Mid-September Launch for Second Alpha Mission

Second Firefly Alpha rocket on the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

I’ve been making the rounds in the Utah State University Fieldhouse here in Logan talking with the various companies with booths at Small Satellite 2022 conference. Here is the first of several updates.

The window for Firefly Aerospace’s second attempt to launch its Alpha booster opens on Sept. 11. That flight will be out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket is already on the launch pad at Vandenberg undergoing pre-flight tests.

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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.

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SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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SpaceX Launches 53 Starlink Satellites in Second Flight in Two Days

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on July 24, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launches a fresh batch of 53 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the company’s second launch of Starlink satellites in two days after a Falcon 9 placed 46 satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

It was SpaceX’s sixth launch of July and 20th dedicated Starlink flight of 2022. Elon Musk’s company has launched a record 33 times since Jan. 1 with more than five months left in the year. The company has orbited just under 1,250 payloads.

SpaceX Launches
January – July 24, 2022

SpacecraftSatellite Type(s)Customer(s)Number of LaunchesSatellites/ Payloads/Crew
StarlinkBroadbandSpaceX201,013
Transporter-3, -4, -5Multiple RideshareMultiple3204
Crew-4, Axiom-1Human SpaceflightNASA, Axiom Space22
Crew-4, Axiom-1Human SpaceflightNASA, Axiom Space–*8
Cargo Dragon 2ISS ResupplyNASA11
BeaverCube, CapSat-1, CLICK A, D3, JAGSAT, TUMnanoSatTechnology Demonstration, EducationERAU Daytona Beach, MIT, The Weiss School, University of South Alabama, Technical University of Moldova–^6
Globalstar FM15, Nilesat-301, SES-22Commercial CommunicationsGlobalstar, Nilesat, SES33
USA-328, 329, 330, 331UnknownU.S. Department of Defense+4
NROL-87, Intruder 13A, Intruder 13BReconnaissance, Electronic IntelligenceNational Reconnaissance Office23
SARah-1ReconnaissanceBundeswehr (German Military)11
COSMO-SkyMed 2nd-generationEarth Observation (civilian/military)Italian Space Agency11
331,246
* 8 astronauts launched on Crew-4 and Ax-1 missions
^ 6 CubeSats flown on Cargo Dragon 2 to be deployed from ISS
+ Secondary payloads on Globalstar FM15 launch

SpaceX has launched 1,013 Starlink satellites this year and 2,911 spacecraft overall, with 2,620 satellites still working.

SpaceX Sets New Record with 32nd Launch of the Year

Falcon 9 launches Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched for the 32nd time on Friday, setting a new record for a calendar year with more than five months left in 2022.

On Friday, July 22 at 10:39 a.m. PDT, Falcon 9 launched 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

This was the fourth flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched NROL-87, NROL-87 and SARah-1.

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.

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SpaceX Launches 46 Starlink Satellites from Vandenberg

Falcon 9 rises above the marine layer with 46 Starlink satellites after launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on July 10, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

On Sunday, July 10 at 6:39 p.m. PT, Falcon 9 launched 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

SpaceX has now launched 2,805 Starlink satellites, with 2,518 still operating, according to Jonathan’s Space Report.

This Falcon 9 first stage booster previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and three Starlink missions.

SpaceX to Launch 46 Starlink Satellites on Sunday From California

Falcon 9 payload shroud. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Mission Update

SpaceX is targeting Sunday, July 10 for a Falcon 9 launch of 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The instantaneous launch window is at 6:39 p.m. PT (01:39 UTC on Monday, July 11), and a backup opportunity is available on Monday, July 11 at 6:39 p.m. PT (01:39 UTC on Tuesday, July 12).

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and three Starlink missions. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

You can watch the live launch webcast starting about 5 minutes before liftoff. 

216 SPCS Enables CFSCC Mission, Assures Access to Space Through Spectrum Warfare

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Esmeralda Sanchez Avila, 216th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) radio frequency transmission specialist, looks over an the large multi-band antenna (LMA) June 22, 2022, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. Sanchez Avila has been with the 216 SPCS since 2018 and maintains the weapons systems through preventative maintenance inspections, antenna mobility checks, system cleanliness, and all the pieces of the LMA are working properly. (Credit: U.S. Space Force/Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman)

By Tech. Sgt. Luke Kitterman
Combined Force Space Component Command

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. – One element of warfare that is not always in the limelight but easily touches all warfighting domains is the electromagnetic spectrum. At Vandenberg Space Force Base, there resides an Air National Guard squadron that works regularly with the Combined Force Space Component Command (CFSCC) in its mission to deliver combat relevant space capabilities to combatant commanders.

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SpaceX Completes Hat Trick with 3 Launches in 36 Hours

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX completed a hat trick over the weekend with three satellite launches from different coasts in 36 hours.

Elon Musk’s company wrapped up a busy weekend when a Falcon 9 booster launched the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:27 a.m. EDT.

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SpaceX Conducts Second Launch in Less Than 24 Hours, Third Scheduled for Sunday Morning

SpaceX conducted its second launch in less than 24 hours on Saturday morning when a Falcon 9 carried a German reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The rocket lifted off at 7:19 a.m. PDT (10:19 a.m. EDT) with the Airbus-built SARah synthetic aperture radar satellite for the German military from a fog-shrouded launch pad. SpaceX ended its webcast early prior to satellite deployment at the request of the customer.

The Falcon 9’s first stage booster, launching for the third time, touched down at Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg. It was SpaceX’s 125th recovery of an orbital class booster.

It was the second Falcon 9 flight in just over 22 hours. On Friday, SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:08 p.m. EDT (9:08 a.m. PDT).

It was a record 13th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and now 10 Starlink missions. The stage landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX will wrap up a busy weekend on Sunday morning with a Falcon 9 launch of the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite at 12:27 a.m. EDT (04:27 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will be the 26th launch of the year for SpaceX.

You can watch the live launch webcast for the launch starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.