Four Upcoming Flights to Anticipate: Starship Launch Awaited along with Three Additional Missions Scheduled for this Week

As space enthusiasts eagerly await the launch of the Starship Integrated Flight Test-2 (IFT-2) from Texas, several other launches have been scheduled for this week. These include a Chang Zheng-2C (CZ-2C) launch from China, Starlink 6-28 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), and Starlink 7-7 from Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California. The Starship IFT-2 is planned to round out the week’s launches.

The first launch of the week took place on November 16 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China. The CZ-2C rocket carried the Haiyang 3-01 ocean observation satellite into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit. The Haiyang satellite is part of a constellation designed to continuously monitor changes in the world’s oceans.

China’s future CZ-2C rockets could potentially launch the Aiji satellite, a joint project between the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and the Egyptian Space Agency. Aiji, also known as MisrSat-2, is an Earth observation spacecraft and represents Egypt’s first foray into complete satellite assembling and integration testing capabilities.

The Siwei Gaojing-3 01/02 satellites use synthetic aperture radar to observe Earth, even in less-than-ideal imaging conditions. They would join two other Siwei Gaojing satellites already in orbit. The Yaogan-32 satellites are remote sensing spacecraft used for military purposes, similar to certain United States and Soviet/Russian satellites.

The highly anticipated Starship IFT-2 launch is currently scheduled for November 18 from the Orbital Launch Pad at Starbase, Texas. This flight will test major improvements in the booster, ship, and launch pad. The Falcon 9 launch of Starlink 6-28 from CCSFS has been delayed multiple times due to weather conditions at the recovery site.

The Starlink 7-7 launch from VSFB is set to take place on the evening of November 17. This would be the seventh launch in the Group 7 series, with all previous launches taking place at VSFB. The Starlink constellation aims to provide global broadband coverage, with over 5,000 satellites already in orbit.

SpaceX is making significant strides in its launch cadence, with plans for up to 144 flights in 2024. The Falcon rocket family has continuously increased its launch frequency through various improvements, including the Block 5 booster and upgraded launch pads and drone ships.

As the spaceflight world eagerly awaits the Starship IFT-2 launch, there are several other exciting launches scheduled for this week. These launches represent significant advancements in Earth observation, global broadband coverage, and the ongoing progress of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket family. With each successful launch, humanity takes another step towards exploring the cosmos and unlocking the mysteries of the universe.