Not much is happening this week in terms of rocket launches, but of most interest is the launch of the JUICE spacecraft headed for the Jovian system to explore the gas giant Jupiter and its three icy moons. Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto.
Wednesday, April 12
- This week’s first launch will be a SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying several small seats as part of the Transporter-7 rideshare mission. The satellites will be placed in sun-synchronous orbits and will carry out a host of missions of their own. The mission will depart from Vandenberg AFB in California at 6:45 AM UTC. It should be available at SpaceX website To stream live.
Thursday, April 13
- The final launch of the week, and the most exciting, is the launch of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 ECA+ rocket. The launch itself is not special, but the payload. It will launch the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) spacecraft to investigate Jupiter and its three moons. Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa—all have oceans that could harbor life. After launch, which is at 12:15 pm UTC from French Guiana, we will have to wait until July 2031 until the craft reaches our nearest gas giant. Tune in if you want to watch. ESA Web TV at the time of launch.
- The first launch last week was a Falcon 9 carrying the Tranche 0 mission for the Space Development Agency (SDA). The satellites will be used for communication, data and missile warning.
- Next, we saw the first flight of space pioneer Tianlong-2. It launched a low-space science remote sensing satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit.
- Then there was another Falcon 9, this time carrying the Intelsat IS-40e satellite carrying NASA’s Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution instrument.
- Below is a video of the satellite deployment.
- The last launch was from iSpace’s Hyperbola-1 rocket from the Geoquan Satellite Launch Center. This launch was done to test the steps taken after the earlier failed launch.
That’s it for this week, check in next time!