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OneWeb Resumes Launches with First Indian Launch, SpaceX Hits 3 Milestones

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 23, 2022
GSLV Mk III rocket lifts off with 36 OneWeb satellites on Oct. 23, 2022. (Credit: ISRO)

OneWeb satellites were launched into orbit for the first time since February in a major success for India’s space program. SpaceX hit a trio of milestones in a single launch. And Russia launched twice, including the first flight of the year from the nation’s newest and least used spaceport.

Early this morning India time, a GSLV Mk III rocket lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre with 36 OneWeb satellites aboard. It was the first launch of OneWeb satellites since February as the company continues to build out its 658-satellite broadband constellation. The launch brings the number of satellites launched to 462 satellites.

Orbital Launches
Oct. 16 – 23

DateLauncher – OrganizationPayload – OrganizationPurposeLaunch Site
Oct. 20, 2022Falcon 9 – SpaceX54 Starlink – SpaceXBroadbandCape Canaveral
Oct. 21, 2022Soyuz-2.1v – RoscosmosMKA №1 (Kosmos 2561), MKA №1 (Kosmos 2561) – VKS*Tech demoPlesetsk
Oct. 23, 2022GSLV Mk III – ISRO^36 OneWeb — OneWebBroadbandSatish Dhawan
Oct. 23, 2022Soyuz-2.1b – RoscosmosGonets-M 23, M24, M25; Skif-D – Gonets Satellite System, RoscosmosCommunications, Tech DemoVostochny
* Russian Aerospace Forces
^ Indian Space Research Organisation

All previous OneWeb satellites had launched by 13 Russian Soyuz boosters. The remaining spacecraft were due to launch on six Soyuz rockets this year. The contract was terminated after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

OneWeb has secured two Indian GSLV Mk III launches. The company will also launch satellites on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

It was only the fifth GSLV Mk III launch since the booster’s maiden flight in December 2014, and the first mission in more than three years. The booster has been successful in its three orbital launches and one suborbital flight.

GSLV Mk III is India’s largest rocket, and it is capable of placing 10,000 kg (22,046 lb) into low Earth orbit or 4,000 kg (8,818 lb) into geostationary transfer orbit.

Falcon 9 lifts off with 54 Starlink satellites on Oct. 20, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Hits Milestones

SpaceX reached multiple launch milestones when a Falcon 9 booster lifted 54 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit on Thursday. Milestones included:

  • 48th Falcon 9 launch of 2022, a new record for a single launch vehicle type
  • 100th SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • more than 3,500 Starlink satellites launched into orbit.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said the company is aiming for 60 launches this year and 100 launches next year.

Russian Launches

Russia launched three Gonets communications satellites and the Skif-D satelite aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. It was the first launch of the year from the nation’s new(ish) spaceport in Russia’s Far East.

Skif-D is a demonstration satellite focused on demonstrating broadband satellite service as part of the Sfera constellation.

A Soyuz-2.1v booster launched the MKA №1 (Kosmos 2561), MKA №1 (Kosmos 2561) satellites from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Russia did not disclose the nature of the spacecraft, but they might be designed to inspect other spacecraft already in orbit.

Scheduled Launches

The next two weeks will be busy ones for the International Space Station and China’s Tiangong space station with multiple launches headed for the two orbiting launches.

Scheduled Launches
Oct. 26 – Nov. 6 2022

DateLauncher – OrganizationPayload – OrganizationPurposeLaunch Site
Oct. 26Soyuz-2.1a — RoscosmosProgress MS-21 — RoscosmosISS resupplyBaikonur
Oct. 28Falcon 9 – SpaceX52 Starlink – SpaceXBroadbandVandenberg
Oct. 31Falcon Heavy – SpaceXUSSF-44 – U.S. Space ForceVarious (see below)Kennedy
Oct. 31Long March 5B — CASC^Mengtian — CMSA+Space station moduleWenchang
Nov .1Atlas V – ULAJPSS-2, LOFTID – NOAA, NASAMeteorology, Tech DemoVandenberg
Nov. 4Long March 3B/E – CASCChinaSat-19 – China SatcomGEO ComsatXichang
Nov. 6Antares – Northrop GrummanCygnus NG-18 (S.S. Sally Ride)ISS Resupply – RideshareWallops
Nov. 6Long March 7 – CASC^Tianzhou 5 – CMSA+Station Resupply – RideshareWenchang
^ China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
Source: Wikipedia

Astronauts aboard ISS will receive Russia’s Progress MS-21 and North Grumman’s Cygnus NG-18 (S.S. Sally Ride) resupply ships.

China will send the Mengtian science module to Tiangong. The launch will mark the initial completion of China’s first permanent space station. China will also launch the Tianzhou 5 resupply ship to the orbiting facility.

SpaceX will launch the Falcon Heavy rocket for the fourth time on a mission for the U.S. Space Force. It will be the first Falcon Heavy launch since June 2019.

An United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V will launch the JPSS-2 weather satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Nov. 1. A secondary payload is NASA’s LOFTID inflatable heat shield demonstration mission.

Falcon Heavy
USSF-44 Mission
Oct. 31, 2022

  • LDPE-2 — U.S. Space Force — Geosynchronous space tug
  • LINUSS Chase (LINUS-A1) — Lockheed Martin Space — Geosynchronous satellite servicing technology demonstration
  • LINUSS RSO (LINUS-A2) — Lockheed Martin Space– Geosynchronous satellite servicing technology demonstration
  • United States — TETRA-1 — U.S. Space Force — Geosynchronous technology demonstration

Cygnus NG-18 (S.S. Sally Ride)
ISS Resupply
Nov. 6, 2022

  • PearlAfricaSat-1 – Uganda – Earth observation
  • SeaLion – Old Dominion University/U.S. Coast Guard Academy – Communication
  • TAKA – Kyushu Institute of Technology – Earth observation
  • UtProSat-1 – Virginia Tech – Communication
  • ZIMSAT-1 – Zimbabwe – Earth observation

SeaLion and UtProSat-1 are part of the Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) mission and will be deployed from the second stage of the rocket. The other satellite will be deployed from the International Space Station.

Tianzhou 5
Space Station Resupply
Nov. 6, 2022

  • CAS-10 (XW-4) CAMSAT – Amateur radio
  • Macao Science 1 Macau University of Science and Technology – South Atlantic Anomaly observation
  • Gaoxin-1 – TBA – TBA
  • Lianli – Dalian University of Technology – TBA
  • Shengxi Jishu Yanzheng – TBA – Technology demonstration
  • Zhixing-3A – Beijing Smart Satellite Technology – Earth observation

Orbital Launches for 2022

The world is just two flights short of the 146 launched attempted last year when there were 135 successes, 10 failures and one partial failure.

The United States continues to lead the world with 70 launches on the strength of SpaceX’s 48 successful flights of the Falcon 9.

Orbital Launches
Through Oct. 23, 2022

NationSuccessesFailuresPartial FailuresTotal
United States672170
South Korea1001

China is in second place with 46 launches, followed by Russia with 18. India leapfrogged Europe with its fourth launch of the year, although only three of those flights were successful.

2 responses to “OneWeb Resumes Launches with First Indian Launch, SpaceX Hits 3 Milestones”

  1. lopan says:

    Looking forward to their crew capsule test launch, and the first human flight. ISRO is odd, and that’s a good thing.

  2. Robert G. Oler says:

    bet they are loving the cash

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