TWIRL 98: SpaceX will orbit rival company’s Internet-beaming satellites


TWIRL logo in front of fireworks

This week, we’ll see two launches from SpaceX. The first mission will be Transporter-6, a ride-share mission carrying a satellite to pay customers. The second mission will see the company launch 40 OneWeb satellites into orbit, where they will beam internet to Earth.

Tuesday, January 3

The first launch this week will be from SpaceX, launching a range of small satellites carrying the Falcon 9 as part of a mission called Transporter 6. Like other transporter missions, this is a ride-share so that private interests can launch missions into space at a more affordable cost. One of the payloads is called a methane satellite and is being sent into space for the Bezos Earth Fund and Environmental Defense Fund. The launch should be available to stream on the SpaceX website at approximately 2:56 p.m. UTC, which is when the launch is scheduled. It will depart from Cape Canaveral.

Sunday, January 8

The second and final launch of the week also comes from SpaceX. It will launch another Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral at an unspecified time. It will carry 40 OneWeb satellites into orbit. Interestingly, OneWeb is a competitor of SpaceX because its satellites beam Internet to Earth, similar to Starlink. The mission will be known internally as OneWeb L16 and should be broadcast on SpaceX’s website on launch day.


The first launch last week was a Long March 4B carrying the Gaofin-11 04 Earth observation satellite from China’s Taiwan Satellite Launch Center.

Then, SpaceX launched 54 Starlink satellites aboard the Falcon 9, which, as always, would beam Internet back to Earth.

On the 29th, China launched Long March 3B with the Shiyan-10 02 satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The satellite will test the new technology.

Finally, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 carrying the Israeli satellite EROS C-3 that will perform Earth observation tasks.

That’s it for this week, Happy New Year!


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