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

The Past Week in Launches: SpaceX and CASC Orbit Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on Aug. 19, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a relatively quiet week for launches with by SpaceX and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) both conducting one flight apiece.

SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Friday. The company has launched 3,108 Starlink satellites with 2,809 spacecraft working, according to Jonathan’s Space Report.

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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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Geespace Successfully Launches First Nine Satellites

Geely Future Mobility Constellation satellites (Credit: Geespace)
  • Inaugural launch for an expected 240 satellite constellation, with first phase of 72 satellites expected to be completed by 2025.
  • Geely Future Mobility Constellation to provide services for autonomous driving, logistics, drone navigation, mapping and other fields
  • Sustainably developed satellites leave no debris after designed operating lifespan
  • GeeSAT-1 is China’s first modular, high-resilience, high-performance, mass-produced satellite

XICHANG, China, June 2, 2022 (Geespace PR) — Geespace, a wholly owned subsidiary of Geely Technology Group* and China’s first privately owned developer, operator, and mass producer of low-orbit commercial satellites, has successfully launched its first nine satellites into low earth orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

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China Launches Seven Satellites

China successfully launched six Galaxy Aerospace Yinhe Hantian-2 communications satellites to test technology for a large Internet constellation as well as a remote sensing satellite on Saturday.

The launch of the seven satellites aboard a Long March 2C booster was conducted at 2:01 p.m. Beijing time from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province.

Galaxy Aerospace’s six Yinhe Hantian-2 satellites are designed to provide 5G Internet service at up to 40 Gbps. They are designed to test technologies for a future constellation that will include 144 satellites.

The Xuanming Xingyuan remote sensing spacecraft is a 6U CubeSat built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology for SpaceWish.

The launch on Saturday was China’s fifth of 2022. It was the 410th launch in the Long March rocket series.

China Launches Communications & Technology Demonstration Satellites

Kuaizhou-1A rocket lifts off on Nov. 25, 2021. (Credit: CASIC)

China placed communications and technology demonstration satellites into orbit in separate launches on Thursday and Friday. The successful missions marked the 46th and 47th launches by China in 2021, with 45 successes and two failures.

On Friday, a Long March 3B rocket launched the ChinaSat-1D communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The geosynchronous satellite will be used for military communications.

The spacecraft and the launch vehicle were build by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

On Thursday, a Kuaizhou-1A solid-fuel booster launched the Shiyan 11 satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The rocket’s builder, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., did not disclose the purpose of the technology demonstration spacecraft.

The Kuaizhou-1A small-satellite launcher has a record of 12 successes and one failure.

Launch 2020: China’s Space Program Continued to Surge with a Number of Firsts

Long March 3B lifts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. (Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Group)

China’s surging space program showed no sign of slowing down last year as it tied its own launch record and moved ahead with ambitious space missions and a set of new launchers.

China compiled a record of 35 successes and four failures in 2020. That matched the number of launch attempts made in 2018, a year that saw 38 successes and a single failure.

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Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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Long March 2C Launches 3 Surveillance Satellites, Civilian Data Relay Spacecraft

A Long March 2C booster launched three Yaogan 30-07 surveillance satellites and a commercial data relay satellite on Friday. The launch was conducted from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 2:11 a.m. local time.

The three Yaogan 30-07 satellites will be primarily used for electromagnetic environment detection.

The fourth satellite Tianqi 12, a data relay satellite owned by Beijing-based Guodian Gaoke. The spacecraft is part of the company’s Apocalypse Internet of Things constellation.

The launch also featured some technology focused on returning the payload fairing, according to a press release about the mission from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Group.

“In this mission, the rocket fairing is equipped with an altimeter combination to measure the height change and some attitude information during the separation of the fairing and re-entry into the atmosphere, and continue to promote the parachute-based fairing debris landing zone control technology, to provide a reference for the subsequent design and improvement of the rocket landing zone control plan,” the press release said.

It was is the 369th flight of the Long March rocket series.

Quarterly Launch Report: US in the Lead Thanks to SpaceX

A Falcon 9 lifts off with 60 Starlink satellites on March 11, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.

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Long March 3B Launches Communication Technology Test Satellite

Long March 3B rocket lifts off. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 23:36 on February 4, the Long March 3B carrier rocket lifted the communication technology test satellite No. 6 into the sky frm the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Subsequently, the satellite was successfully sent into the predetermined orbit, and the launch mission was a complete success.

The communication technology test satellite No. 6 was developed by the Eighth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Limited. It is mainly used for satellite communications, radio and television, data transmission and other services, and conducts related technical test verification.

The Long March 3B carrier rocket used for this launch belongs to the “Gold Medal Rocket” Long March 3A series and was developed by the First Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Group.

This mission is the 360th launch of the Long March series of carrier rockets.

Long March 3B Launches Tiantong-1 03 Communications Satellite

Long March 3B rocket lifts off with Tiantong-1 03 satellite. (Credit: Zhang Yiyi)

BEIJING (CASC PR) — At 00:25 on January 20, the Long March 3B carrier rocket ignited and lifted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and then sent the Tiantong-1 03 satellite into the scheduled orbit. The launch mission was a complete success.

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Long March 11 Launches Scientific Satellites on 11th Flight

A Chinese Long March 11 rocket launched the Gravitational Wave High-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM) mission on Thursday.

Long March 11 lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 4:14 a.m. The two GECAM satellites were placed in their intended orbits,  according to a press release from Long March 11’s developer, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).

The GECAM satellites, which each weigh 163 kg, are designed to detect the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational waves. The data will aid scientists in their studies of black holes and neutron stars.

Long March 11 is now 11-for-11 since its maiden launch in September 2015. Nine flights have originated from land, the other from an ocean platform. The four-stage, solid-fuel booster can launch payloads weighing 700 kg into low Earth orbit and 500 kg into sun synchronous orbit.

The launch was the 355th launch of the Long March series of rockets.

Upgraded Long March 3B Launches Gaofen 14 Satellite

Long March 3B booster launches Gaefen 14 Earth observation satellite on Dec. 6, 2020. (Credit: CALT)

BEIJING (CALT PR) — On Dec. 6 at 11:58 a.m., the Long March 3B successfully launched the Gaofen 14 remote sensing satellite into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

There are two major changes in the Long March 3B rocket that performed the mission: the fairing has been increased by 900 mm; and it will perform the low-orbit launch mission for the first time.

The Gaofen 14 satellite launched this time has a relatively taller size. In order to meet the needs of the mission, the fairing of the rocket was 900 mm [35.4 inches] higher than the previous 4.2-meter [13.78-foot] diameter fairing.

The height of the fairing has changed the shape of the rocket. The total length of the rocket is 58 meters [190.3 ft].

The first low-orbit launch mission

In the past, Long March 3B rockets were used to perform high-orbit launch missions, including geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO orbit) and medium earth orbit (MEO orbit). This launch is the first low-orbit launch mission of Long March 3B rocket, namely sun synchronization. Orbital mission (SSO orbit).

To this end, a lot of changes have been made to the software part of the rocket control system, and the flight software code has been rewritten by about 30%, including the addition of guidance control in the first-level flight segment, the use of “4 yuan” for attitude control throughout the entire process, and use of the third-level.

In addition to iterative guidance and control, the purpose is to adapt to changes in the launch orbit. This launch means that the Long March 3B rocket has both high and low orbit launch capabilities, which improves the orbital adaptability of the Long March 3B rocket.

This mission was the 354th launch of the Long March series rocket.

The Long March 3B carrier rocket successfully launched the Gaofen 13 Satellite

BEIJING (China Aerospace Science and Technology Group PR) — At 0:57 on October 12, at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, the Long March 3B carrier rocket lifted the Gaofen 13 satellite into the sky. The satellite then entered the scheduled orbit, and the launch mission was a complete success.

The Gaofen 13 satellite was developed by the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is a high-orbit optical remote sensing satellite. It is mainly used for land surveys, crop yield estimation, environmental governance, weather warning and forecasting, and comprehensive disaster prevention and mitigation. Provide information services for the construction of the national economy.

The Long March 3B carrier rocket for this launch mission was developed by the Fifth Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology Group. The rocket launch test team has done a lot of work in improving the reliability of the rocket, de-tasking products, and optimizing the pre-launch preparation process.

For this mission, the Long March 3B carrier rocket has carried out the most technological state change in recent years — 16 first-flight technologies have been updated, mainly involving satellite fairings, on-arrow pressurized transport systems, and three-stage rocket igniter, laser inertial group data, etc.

This launch is the 349th launch of the Long March series of carrier rockets.