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Russia will send astronauts to the International Space Station this week – TWIRL #129

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This week in rocket launch we only have two launches coming up, and for the first time, we’re not even sure what the payload will be. To make up for it, we have a pretty meaty recap section as there were quite a few launches last week.

Sunday, September 10

WHO: China National Space Administration

what: Long March 6a

When: 4:30 AM UTC

where: Launch Complex 9A Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center

Why: The payload for this mission is unknown but it is probably a satellite of some kind.

Friday, September 15th

WHO: Roscosmos

what: Soyuz 2.1a (Soyuz MS-24 / ISS 70S)

When: 15:44 PM UTC

where: Pad 31/6 Baikonur Cosmodrome

Why: Roscosmos will use a Soyuz 2.1a rocket to launch a crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The team consists of Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and Laurel O’Hara. Once the astronauts are on the ISS, the craft will remain attached to the space station for six months to serve as an emergency escape pod.


The first launch we got last week was the Falcon 9 carrying 21 Starlink satellites that are part of Starlink mission 103. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket also touched down on a landing pad so that SpaceX can reuse it in the future.

Next, the Chinese company Galactic Energy performed the first sea launch of the Ceres-1 rocket, which is quite interesting to watch since we don’t usually see boats used as launch pads. The rocket launched four Tianqi satellites into orbit, they will operate as part of the Internet of Things constellation.

Another interesting launch we got last week was the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIA launch vehicle that carried the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM) and the Smart Lunar Exploration Lander (SLIM). It’s interesting because even though we’ve seen this rocket launch before, it’s not too common.

China then launched a Long March 4C aircraft carrying the Yaogan 33 03 satellite. It is a remote sensing satellite that will be used for scientific experimental research, marine and land resource census, agricultural product production assessment, and disaster prevention and mitigation.

Finally, Virgin Galactic made its third commercial space flight. The private passengers who went to the edge of space included Ken Baxter, Timothy Nash, Adrian Reynard and Beth Moses who was the main astronaut guide.

That’s all we have this week, be sure to check back next time!

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