SpaceX Successfully Launches Starlink Group 6-10: A Roundup

Last week, the number of orbital launches decreased significantly compared to the previous week, with only three launches taking place. The majority of these launches were Chinese Starlink launches. This brings the total number of orbital launch attempts in 2023 to 128. If this pace continues, we can expect over 200 orbital launches by the end of the year. Additionally, SpaceX is on track to launch nearly 100 times in 2023 if their current cadence continues.

On August 14th, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) successfully launched five commercial ship/traffic automatic identification system tracking satellites. These microsatellites will be used by the Chinese government to track and monitor ships and commercial vehicles in the area. This launch marked the 22nd launch of the Kuaizhou 1A rocket and the fourth launch of 2023 for CASIC.

SpaceX’s only Starlink mission of the week took place on August 16th. The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket launched 22 Starlink v2 Mini satellites into orbit. The booster supporting this mission, B1067-13, has previously supported multiple missions, including CRS-22, Crew-3, Turksat 5B, and more. After liftoff, the first stage of the rocket successfully landed on SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport droneship, A Shortfall of Gravitas. This marked the 180th Falcon 9 flight with a flight-proven booster.

The last launch of the week was by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. They launched an unknown payload atop a Chang Zheng 4C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Although it is speculated that the payload is the Gaofen-12 04 satellite, this has not been confirmed by Chinese authorities.

Overall, last week’s launches were dominated by Chinese missions, with CASIC and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation taking the spotlight. SpaceX’s Starlink mission added to their growing constellation of satellites in orbit. With the pace of launches set to continue, we can expect to see more exciting missions in the coming weeks.