A Long March 2C rocket launched three Yaogan Weixing-30 Group-5 remote sensing satellites into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Friday. The satellites are believed to be for military reconnaissance.
The booster included grid fins that are similar to the ones that SpaceX uses to guide the first stage of its Falcon 9 booster to landings on land and at sea. The Chinese appear to be experimenting with controlled descent and moving toward reusable first stages.
That would be good news for people living down range from China’s interior launch sites. Boosters fall uncontrollably from the sky and land near villages and towns.
China completed the first orbital launch of 2019 on Thursday as a Long March 3B booster orbited the Zhongxing-2D communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China.
The Chang’e 4 robotic probe is expected to land on the South Pole–Aitken basin on the silver sphere’s far side sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, according to information from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, a major contractor of the country’s lunar exploration programs.
The State-owned conglomerate previously said that the spacecraft would fly 26 days before landing on the lunar surface.
Chang’e 4 was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket on Dec 8 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province to fulfill the world’s first expedition on a lunar region that never faces the Earth.
The lander includes the following payloads:
landing and terrain cameras;
a low-frequency spectrometer;
a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
a panoramic camera;
a lunar penetrating radar system;
a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched last year.
The following is a list of launches for the remainder of November based on Spaceflightnow.com’s Launch Schedule. The list includes two launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and one launch apiece from Xichang in China, Kourou in French Guiana, and Satish Dhawan in India.
Please check Spaceflightnow’s launch page regularly because launches tend to slip on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday has been postponed five or six days so engineers can conduct additional checks of the booster. The first stage is being flown for the third time.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B — SUCCESS Payload: 2 Beidou navigation satellites Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Xichang, China
Launch Vehicle: Vega Payload: Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite Launch Time: 8:42 p.m. EST on 20th (0142 GMT on 21st) Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana Webcast: http://www.esa.int
Launch Vehicle: PSLV Payload: HySIS hyperspectral imaging satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India Webcast: https://www.isro.gov.in/
Launch Vehicle: Delta 4-Heavy Payload: NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Spaceflight, Inc. SSO-A rideshare mission Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: http://www.spacex.com
This flight will deploy more than 70 spacecraft from approximately 35 different organizations.
China set a new national record for the number of launches in a calendar year.
A Long March 3B booster lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center with two Beidou navigation satellites bound for medium Earth orbit. It was the 23rd successful launch of the year with no failures.
To date, China has launched six boosters with 11 Beidou satellites aboard in 2018. The navigation satellite system, which is similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System and Europe’s Galileo constellation, will eventually have 35 satellites in orbit.
China’s launch total for 2018 is expected to be in the low to mid-30’s.
The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.
There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)
At least 10 launches are planned worldwide this month. The launches include crew and cargo missions to the International Space Station and the first commercial flight of Rocket Lab’s Electron booster. Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL will launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) from the Marshall Islands on June 14.
China got June off to a successful start on Saturday with the launch of the Gaofen-6 remote sensing satellite aboard a Long March 2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
SpaceX is up next, with an early morning launch on Monday morning. A Falcon 9 is set to launch the SES 12 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The four-hour launch window opens at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT). The company has no plans to recover the previously used first stage.
The current launch schedule is below. View updates here.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 2D Payload: Gaofen 6 remote sensing satellite Launch Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China Outcome: Success
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
China successfully launched the Chang’e-4 relay satellite to the Earth-moon L2 Lagrange point on Sunday. The spacecraft, which is named Queqiao, was lofted into space aboard a Long March 4C booster from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
The satellite will relay data for the Chang’e-4 lunar rover and lander, which is set for launch late this year from Xichang. The rover will explore the South Pole-Aitken Basin as part of the first mission to explore the far side of the moon. The flight will also feature a lunar orbiter.
Sunday’s launch included two microsats that will conduct astronomical observations from deep space.
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.
The world’s launch providers have been extremely busy in the first quarter of 2018, with 31 orbital launches thus far. This is more than one third of the 90 launches conducted last year.
China leads the pack with 10 successful launches. The United States is close behind with a total of nine launches with one failure. The tenth American launch is scheduled for Monday afternoon from Florida.
SpaceX successfully launched 10 Iridium Next satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday morning.
Iridium-NEXT satellites 41-50 were successfully deployed from the booster’s second stage about an hour after the launch at 7:13 a.m. PDT. It was the fifth batch of 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites that SpaceX has orbited using three different first stage boosters.
It was a successful week for launches around the world.
On Tuesday, SpaceX conducted its 50th launch of the Falcon 9 rocket. The booster orbited the 30W-6 communications satellite for Hispsat of Spain from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida. At 6 metric tons, it was the heaviest geosynchronous satellite ever launched by SpaceX.
On Friday, a Soyuz booster roared off the pad in French Guiana to deliver four O3b F4 communications satellites for SES. It was the third successful launch of Russia’s workhorse Soyuz rocket this year.