Weekly Dose of Space (15/10-21/10)

Weekly Dose of Space (15/10-21/10)


Welcome to Weekly Dose of Space! In this week's newsletter, we'll cover the launches of the week and a major human spaceflight test from India. We'll also look ahead into what to expect next week too!

SpaceX

Despite no known date for IFT-2, work continued at Starbase with Ship 25 being stacked back onto Booster 9 where it stayed until the following day when it was destacked. A few days later Ship 26 performed a preburner test of one of its Raptor engines. The next day, the full stack was back, with Ship 25 being placed atop of Booster 9 once again. A few hours later Ship 26 performed a single-engine static fire to simulate a de-orbit burn according to SpaceX.

SpaceX had a very standard week with Falcon 9 this week. Speaking of, let’s go over the launches this week!

Launches This Week

October 15th - Long March 2D with Yunhai-1-04

The launches for this week started with a Long March 2D lifting off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center carrying the Yunhai-1-04 satellite. The satellite was delivered to sun-synchronous orbit where it will detect environmental elements in the atmosphere and ocean as well as for disaster prevention and reduction.

Long March 2D lifting off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
Long March 2D lifting off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center ©CNSA

As to be expected, SpaceX launched twenty-two Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida to build out its space-based internet service. The booster for this mission was B1062 making its sixteenth flight and landing downrange on the drone ship 'Just Read The Instructions'.

Falcon 9 lifting off from SLC-40 in Florida.
Falcon 9 lifting off from SLC-40 in Florida ©SpaceX

October 21st - Gaganyaan Abort Test

India took the next major step in its human spaceflight program on the 21st of October with the launch of Gaganyaan TV-D1. The mission had the capsule perform an abort 11.7 kilometers up at 889 miles per hour where it separated from the booster. Gaganyaan's launch escape system carried the capsule up to 17 kilometers where it was released at a speed of 370 miles per hour. After deploying its drogue chutes and then main parachutes the capsule splashed down roughly 10 kilometers from its launch site, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

Gaganyaan TV-D1 lifting off from Satish Dhawan Space Center.
Gaganyaan TV-D1 lifting off from Satish Dhawan Space Center ©ISRO

SpaceX launched twenty-one more Starlink to end out the week with this launch coming from Space Launch Complex 4E in California. The booster for this flight was B1061 making its sixteenth flight and landing on the drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You' downrange.

Falcon 9 lifting off from SLC-4E in California.
Falcon 9 lifting off from SLC-4E in California ©SpaceX

Rounding out the last SpaceX mission this week, SpaceX launched another starlink mission onboard the Falcon 9. The booster for this mission was B1080, and it was the boosters fourth reflight. Launched from SLC-40, 24 V2-mini satellites were sent to LEO. After landing on A Short Fall of Gravitas, this mission marked the 164th consecutive successful Falcon recovery.

Booster 1080 lifts off for the fourth time! ©SpaceX

In Other Space News

US Launch providers ask for regulatory changes

During a hearing for the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee on October 18th industry officials from launch providers requested reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration’s launch licensing process. The industry is requesting doubling the budget for the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space transportation office, which was 37.9 million dollars for 2023, assuming the additional funding and resources go to the office's licensing work. SpaceX's Bill Gerstenmaier, vice president of build and flight reliability, warned the following during the hearing;

“When we have regulatory delays, such as we’re facing right now, that slows down developmental test flights and ultimately slows down our support to NASA and slows down our support for what we need to do to return humans back to the surface of the moon again,” – “A continuous delay in each and every test flight adds up and, eventually, we will lose our lead and we will see China land on the moon before we do.”

PLD Space declares its first launch a success

During a briefing on October 20th, company executives of PLD Space said the launch of Miura 1 on October 7th met all of their set objectives and demonstrated technology for the in development Miura 5 rocket. Miura 1 was originally going to fly to a height of eighty kilometers but instead flew to forty-six kilometers and further downrange to avoid the rocket falling back onto land in the event of failure. Despite being unable to recover the rocket after it splashed down, Raul Torres, PLD Space chief executive and launch director, said the following;

“The engine behavior was excellent. We are very confident in this,” – “The reality is that the rocket has done what it was supposed to do.”

What to Expect Next Week

Starbase

It's believed that testing will continue with Ship 26 with potentially another static fire with more than one engine. There is potential for a possible Wet Dress Rehearsal with Ship 25 being atop of Booster 9 once again

SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 carrying more Starlink satellites to its space-based internet constellation.

October 23rd - Long March 2D with a to-be-announced payload

A Long March 2D is expected to launch on the 23rd of October with a thirty-minute launch window. The payload is currently unknown but is likely to be a Yaogan satellite.

October 26th - Long March 2F with Shenzhou 17

Shenzhou 17 is expected to launch on the 26th of October carring three taikonauts to the People's Republic of China's space station where they will stay for up to one hundred and eighty days. The crew is yet to be announced at the time of writing.

SpaceX is expected to launch another Falcon 9 carrying even more Starlink satellites to its space-based internet constellation.

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