Upcoming Launches: Rocket Lab’s Return to Flight; SpaceX’s Triple Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX, along with Rocket Lab, Russia, and China, has a busy week of launches ahead. Starting the week off, SpaceX will be launching a Falcon 9 carrying another batch of Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Florida. This will be followed by another Falcon 9 launch on Friday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Rocket Lab will also be returning to flight on Friday with its “The Moon God Awakens” mission after a previous mission failed to reach orbit. Russia is expected to launch a Soyuz 2.1b with the Arktika-M n°2 satellite on Saturday, and SpaceX will finish off the week with a Falcon 9 launch carrying the Ovzon-3 satellite on Sunday.

The first SpaceX launch of the week will take place on Thursday night, with 23 Starlink V2 mini satellites set to be launched on a Falcon 9 from SLC-40. The booster assigned to this mission will be B1081-3, which had a quick 32-day turnaround after launching the CRS-29 resupply mission to the International Space Station in November.

On Thursday, China will also be launching its reusable spaceplane into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Very little is currently known about this spaceplane, but it’s believed to be based on the United States’ X-37B.

Rocket Lab’s return to flight will take place on Friday with its “The Moon God Awakens” mission. This mission comes after a previous mission ended in failure due to an electrical arc in the power supply system. The mission will carry the QPS-SAR-5 satellite for the company iQPS, which is a small synthetic aperture radar satellite weighing approximately 100 kilograms.

Later on Friday, SpaceX will launch another batch of Starlink satellites from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The booster being used for this mission is currently unknown, but it is expected to land on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

Also on Friday, China will launch a Chang Zheng 5 rocket with an unknown payload from the Wenchang Space Launch Site. This will be the sixth launch of the regular Chang Zheng 5 configuration.

On Saturday, the private Chinese aerospace company i-Space is expected to launch its Hyperbola-1 rocket with an unknown payload. This launch will take place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Russia will be launching a Soyuz 2.1b rocket on Saturday as well, carrying the Arktika-M n°2 remote sensing and emergency communications satellite. This satellite is designed to monitor high-latitude areas of Earth and weighs approximately 2100 kilograms.

Finishing off the week on Sunday, SpaceX will launch another Falcon 9 from SLC-40, this time carrying the Ovzon-3 satellite into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). Ovzon-3 is a Swedish geostationary satellite and is the first privately funded geostationary satellite built by the country.

Overall, it will be a busy week for space launches, with multiple companies and countries sending rockets into space. SpaceX, Rocket Lab, Russia, and China will all have missions throughout the week, contributing to the ever-growing presence of satellites and space technology in orbit around Earth.