Upcoming Launches: SpaceX Plans Three Starlink Missions, India to Conduct Crew Abort System Test

SpaceX and India are gearing up for a busy period in spaceflight with multiple missions scheduled. SpaceX is planning to launch three Falcon 9 rockets carrying Starlink payloads, while India is preparing for the first test flight of its Gaganyaan crew-capable spacecraft.

The first Falcon 9 mission, called Starlink 6-23, is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will carry a batch of 22 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit. The satellites will initially be placed in a 293 by 284-kilometer orbit and will then raise their orbits to a higher altitude. The Falcon 9 booster for this mission will land on SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) named Just Read the Instructions.

The second Falcon 9 launch, known as Starlink 7-5, will take place from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It will deploy 21 Starlink satellites into a low-Earth orbit. Unlike the previous mission, these satellites will be placed in a different orbit with a higher inclination angle of 53 degrees to the Equator. The Falcon 9 booster for this mission will land on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You.

The final scheduled Starlink launch for this week is Starlink 6-24, which will also take off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. It will carry another batch of 22 Starlink satellites to a low-Earth orbit inclined 43 degrees to the Equator. The booster for this mission will land on A Shortfall of Gravitas, which will have returned from a previous mission.

Once these three launches are completed, a total of 5,330 Starlink satellites will have been launched, with approximately 4,970 remaining in orbit. These satellites play an important role in providing global broadband coverage.

In parallel with SpaceX’s missions, India is making significant progress in its space program. The country is aiming to become the fourth nation to launch humans into space from its own soil using an indigenous spacecraft. The Gaganyaan crewed spacecraft is undergoing its first flight test, which involves mounting an uncrewed test capsule atop a GSLV Mk. 2 L40 booster. The rocket will reach an altitude of around 11-17 kilometers before a test abort is called. Following this, the launch escape system will be tested, and if successful, the capsule will descend under parachutes for a splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.

These upcoming missions highlight the continued advancements in space exploration and satellite technology. SpaceX’s Starlink missions contribute to improving global connectivity, while India’s Gaganyaan program brings the nation closer to achieving human spaceflight capabilities. As space agencies and private companies continue to push boundaries, we can expect more exciting developments in the near future.

[Lead Image: Falcon 9 launches after sunset on the Starlink 6-22 mission. Credit: Sawyer Rosenstein for NSF]

[Article Source: NASASpaceFlight.com]