The Week in Launches: A New Set of Solar Arrays Arrived at ISS

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a Cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying more than 7,700 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies as part of the company’s 36th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on November 26, 2022. (Credits: NASA TV)

SpaceX launched a resupply ship that delivered a new set of solar panels to the International Space Station (ISS) during a week that saw four launches from the United States, China and India.

SpaceX Resupply Mission

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon carried a pair of International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs) in its unpressurized trunk. This is the second of three sets of iROSAs to be sent to the space station; the first was installed in 2021. The new solar panels will provide a 20-30 percent increase in power for space station operations and research.

Rollout solar panels were used on NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, which changed the orbit of the asteroid moon Dimorphos by intentionally crashing into it on Sept. 26. NASA will also use rollout solar panels to power the lunar Gateway, a human-tended station that will orbit the moon.

The Cargo Dragon also carried six CubeSats that astronauts will deploy from ISS.

SpaceX CRS-26 Secondary Payloads

SpacecraftPurposeOrganizationNation(s)
LORIS EducationDalhousie UniversityCanada
MARIOTech demoUniversity of MichiganUSA
ORCASatAdaptive optics calibrationUniversity of VictoriaCanada
petitSat Ionospheric researchNASA GoddardUSA
SPORTTech demoNASA Marshall – INPE*/ITA+USA – Brazil
TJREVERBTechn demoTJHSST~USA
* National Institute for Space Research
+ Technological Institute of Aeronautics
~ Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Source: Wikipedia

More information is available about the CRS-26 mission here.

SpaceX also launched the Eutelsat 10B geosynchronous communications satellite for Eutelsat from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station last week.

Orbital Launches
Nov. 21 – 30, 2022

DateLauncher – OrganizationPayload – OrganizationPurposeLaunch Site
Nov 23Falcon 9 – SpaceXEutelsat 10B – EutelsatGEO ComsatCape Canaveral
Nov. 26PSLV – ISRO*EOS-06 (Oceansat-3) – ISRO*Oceanography + rideshares (see below)Satish Dhawan
Nov. 26Falcon 9 – SpaceXCargo Dragon (CRS-26) – SpaceXISS Resupply + rideshares (see below)Kennedy
Nov. 26Long March 2D – CASC+Yaogan 36-03A, 03B, 03C – CAS#ReconnaissanceXichang
* Indian Space Research Organisation
+ China Aerospace and Science Corporation
# Chinese Academy of Sciences
Source: Wikipedia

Other Launches

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

PSLV Rideshare Payloads

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

A Long March 2D launched the Yaogan 36-03A, Yaogan 03B and Yaogan 03C reconnaissance satellites for the Chinese Academy of Sciences from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock was launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Launches to Date

There have been 166 orbital launches this year, with 160 successes, five failures and one partial failure. The United States continues to lead with 80 launches. SpaceX leads all providers with 54 launches.

Orbital Launches Through Nov. 28

NationSuccessesFailuresPartial FailuresTotalPercentage of Total
United States77218048.2
China53105432.5
Russia21002112.7
India41053.0
Europe30031.8
Iran10010.6
South Korea10010.6
Japan01010.6
Total16051166100

China is in second place with 54 launches, including 53 successes and one failure. The state-owned China Aerospace and Science Corporation has conducted 46 of the nation’s launches. ExPace has successfully launched its Kuaizhou-1A rocket four times, Galactic Energy’s Ceres-1 booster flew twice, and CAS Space conducted a successful maiden flight of its ZK-1A rocket. The lone attempt by i-space to launch its Hyperbola-1 booster ended in failure.

Russia is a distant third with 21 launches. India completed its fifth and final launch of the year last week. Europe’s Arianespace has one launch each of the Ariane 5 and Vega-C rockets scheduled for December.

Iran, South Korea and Japan have launched one rocket apiece.