Launch Week(ish) Ahead: Private Lunar Mission, New Tiangong Crew, RS1 Launch Redo, ISS Resupply Flight & More

RS1 rocket at the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska. (Credit: ABL Space Systems)

SpaceX will launch a private mission to land on the moon for a Japanese company, China will send a new crew to its space station, and ABL Space Systems hopes the third time is a charm for its RS1 rocket as a busy month comes to a close.

Ten launches are scheduled for the next eight days from five different nations through Nov. 29. The list includes four launches from the United States, three from China, and one each from French Guiana, India and Russia.

Orbital Launches
Nov. 21 – 30, 2022

DateLauncher – OrganizationPayload – OrganizationPurposeLaunch Site
Nov. 21RS1 – ABL SpaceVariSat 1A, 1B – VariSatTech demoPSC – Alaska
Nov 21Falcon 9 – SpaceXEutelsat 10B – EutelsatGEO ComsatCape Canaveral
Nov. 22Falcon 9 – SpaceXCargo Dragon (CRS-26) – SpaceXISS Resupply + rideshares (see below)Kennedy
Nov. 24Long March 2D – CASC+Yaogan 36-03A, 03B, 03C – CAS#ReconnaissanceXichang
Nov. 25Vega C – ArianespacePléiades Neo 5, Pléiades Neo 6 – Airbus Defence and SpaceEarth observationKourou
Nov. 25Long March 11 – CASC+Centispace 1-S7, S8 – Beijing Future Navigation TechnologyNavigationXichang
Nov. 26PSLV – ISRO*EOS-06 (Oceansat-3) – ISRO*Oceanography + rideshares (see below)Satish Dhawan
Nov. 27Soyuz-2.1b – RVSN RF~GLONASS-M 761 – VKS&NavigationPlesetsk
Nov. 28Falcon 9 – SpaceXHakuto-R, Rashid, Lunar Flashlight – Various (see below)Lunar lander, rover, orbiter – Various (see below)Cape Canaveral
Nov. 29Long March 2F – CASC+Shenzhou 15 – CMSA^Tiangong crewJiuquan
* Indian Space Research Organisation
# Chinese Academy of Sciences
+ China Aerospace and Science Corporation
^ China Manned Space Agency
~ Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation
& Russian Aerospace Forces
Source: Wikipedia

Two launches are planned for later today and one for Tuesday. ABL Space Systems will attempt to launch its RS1 rocket on its maiden flight from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska after two unsuccessful attempts last week.

ABL Space has a launch window that last from 1:00 – 4:00 AKST (5:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST/22:00 – 01:00 UTC). The company will not webcast the launch.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Eutelsat 10B geosynchronous communications satellite for Eutelsat. The launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida is scheduled for 9:57 p.m. EST (02:57 UTC on Tuesday).

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port during an orbital sunrise. (Credit: NASA TV)

SpaceX is also scheduled to launch a Cargo Dragon vehicle to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday at 3:54 p.m. EST (20:54 UTC).

SpaceX CRS-26 Secondary Payloads

LORISEducationDalhousie UniversityCanada
MARIOTech demoUniversity of MichiganUSA
ORCASatAdaptive optics calibrationUniversity of VictoriaCanada
petitSatIonospheric researchNASA GoddardUSA
SPORTTech demoNASA Marshall – INPE*/ITA+USA – Brazil
* National Institute for Space Research
+Technological Institute of Aeronautics
Source: Wikipedia

The CRS-26 mission will also carry six CubeSats for deployment from the space station.

Hakuto-R lander (Credit: ispace)

A Private Lunar Mission

Rashid lunar rover (Credit: Wikieditsfxj)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch ispace’s Hakuto-R lander to the moon on Nov. 30 at 3:39 a.m. EST (08:39 UTC). The lander will carry 30 kg (69 lb) of commercial and government payloads to the moon, including:

  1. United Arab Emirates’ Rashid lunar rover
  2. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) transformable lunar robot
  3. NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. test module for a solid-state battery
  4. Mission Control Space Services Inc.’s artificial intelligence (AI) flight computer
  5. Multiple 360-degree cameras from Canadensys Aerospace
  6. Music disc with the song “SORATO” performed by Japanese rock band Sakanaction, an original supporter of Team HAKUTO during Google Lunar XPRIZE
  7. Panel engraved with the names of Team HAKUTO crowdfunding supporters during Google Lunar XPRIZE.

Rashid is a collaboration of the UAE Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre. The rover is equipped with a microscopic camera, a thermal imaging camera and a Langmuir probe that will study lunar plasma in an attempt to discover why moon dust is sticky.

Japan’s transformable robot is designed to move across the surface to gather data for the design of a pressurized crewed rover. The robot was jointly developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), TOMY Company, Sony Group Corporation and Doshisha University.

NASA’s Lunar Flashlight orbiter will use a laser to search for water ice in permanently shadowed areas of the moon.  The6U CubeSat was developed by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, Marshall Space Flight Center and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Falcon 9 Lunar Mission

Hakuto-RLunar lander ispaceJapan
RashidLunar roverUAESA*/MBRSC+UAE
Transformable robotLunar roverJAXA^Japan
Lunar FlashlightLunar orbiterNASAUSA
* UAE Space Agency
+ Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre
^ Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Source: Wikipedia

There’s more information about the mission here.

Chinese space station after assembly. (Credit: CASC)

New Tiangong Crew

China is scheduled to launch three taikonauts for a six-month mission aboard Tiangong space station on Nov. 29. The as-yet unidentified crew of Shenzhou 15 will be the fourth crew to occupy the orbiting laboratory.

The taikonauts will join the current crew of Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe for the first handover of the station. Tiangong was left empty for periods of time after the missions of the first and second crews were completed.

Dong, Yang and Xuzhe were launched aboard Shenzhou 14 on June 5. They will return to Earth in early December after six months in space.

China has two launches scheduled this week. On Nov. 24, a Long March 2D is set to launch the Yaogan 36-03A, Yaogan 03B and Yaogan 03C reconnaissance satellites for the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The launch will be conducted from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The following day, a Long March 11 is scheduled to launch the Centispace 1-S7 and Centispace 1-S8 navigation satellites from Xichang for the Beijing Future Navigation Technology.

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

Other Launches

The Vega C rocket will make its second flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on Nov. 25. The Pléiades Neo 5 and Pléiades Neo 6 satellites will complete Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation constellation. Vega_C was successful on its maiden flight in July.

An Indian PSLV booster will launch the EOS-06 (Oceansat-3) oceanography satellite on Nov. 26. The mission will include five secondary payloads.

PSLV Rideshare Launch

EOS-06 (Oceansat-3)OceanographyISROIndia
Astrocast (4)Internet of ThingsAstrocastSwitzerland
BhutanSat (INS-2B)Tech demoBhutan DITT*Bhutan
Pixxel TD-1 AnandEarth observationPixxelIndia
Thybolt 1, 2Tech demoDhruva SpaceIndia
* Bhutan Department of IT and Telecom
Credit: Wikipedia

A Soyuz-2.1b booster is scheduled to launch the GLONASS-M 761 navigation satellite from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Nov. 27.