It may be Christmas time but that doesn’t mean rockets stop launching! This week, we have two launches from SpaceX and one from China. While some of the payloads are a bit interesting, there are no major launches this week such as manned launches.
Wednesday, December 28
The first mission of the week will see SpaceX launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Block V2 will launch the first batch of Starlink satellites into polar low Earth orbit. These upgraded Starlink satellites are significantly larger than their predecessors, weighing around 600 kg, and are more capable. The launch should be available for viewing. SpaceX website on the day. It is scheduled to launch at 9:45 AM UTC.
Thursday, December 29
The second launch of the week will be another SpaceX Falcon 9. Instead of Starlink satellites, the mission will send the EROS C3 Earth observation satellites into space where they will image the Earth. They are being launched for ImageSat International, an Israeli remote sensing company. This mission will also be streamed. SpaceX website And it is scheduled to launch at 6:58 am UTC.
Friday, December 30
The final mission of the week will see China launch a Long March 3B/E carrying two BeiDou navigation satellites into orbit. It is not certain but they could replace some of the aging satellites that China launched earlier. If you have a smartphone, there’s a good chance it will connect to these two satellites when they come online to give you positioning data. Smartphones also connect to US GPS satellites, European Union’s Galileo satellites and Russia’s GLONASS satellites. The mission is scheduled to launch at 6 AM UTC.
We just got a Vega C launch last week that took the Pleiades Neo 5 and 6 satellites into sun-synchronous orbit. Apparently, there was a problem with the second stage so the mission could not reach its intended orbit.
That’s all we have for this week, check in next time and Merry Christmas!