Weekly Dose of Space (22/10-28/10)

Weekly Dose of Space (22/10-28/10)


Welcome to Weekly Dose of Space! In this week's newsletter, we'll cover the launches of the week and a crew rotation for China's space station. We'll also look ahead into what to expect next week too!

SpaceX

SpaceX started its week at Starbase, in Boca Chica Texas, with a partial load of Booster 9, with Ship 25 atop, followed by a water deluge test once Booster 9 was detanked. Two days later on the 24th of October, Ship 25 and Booster 9 conducted a Wet Dress Rehearsal up to a believed 10 seconds before liftoff in the event of a real launch. On the 26th of October, Ship 25 was destacked from Booster 9 ahead of what is believed to be a potential arming of the Flight Termination system. The hot-staging ring was also removed temporarily for currently unknown reasons. SpaceX also moved Ship 26 back to the production site on the 27th of October.

There is still currently no publically known date for IFT-2.

Ship 25 atop of Booster 9 during a wet dress rehearsal at Starbase, Texas.
Ship 25 atop of Booster 9 during a wet dress rehearsal at Starbase, Texas.

Launches This Week

October 23rd - Long March 2D with Yaogan 39 Group 04

Launches this week started with a Long March 2D lifting off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The Long March 2D carried the Yaogan 39 Group 04 payloads, which are believed to be reconnaissance satellites, into low Earth orbit.

Long March 2D lifting off from its launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
Long March 2D lifting off from its launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

October 26th - Long March 2F with Shenzhou 17

China launched its sixth crew to its Tiangong space station with the launch of the Shenzhou 17 mission. The Long March 2F rocket lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 03:14 UTC carrying the Shenzhou 17 spacecraft and its crew of three to the Tiangong space station in low Earth orbit. The Shenzhou 17 spacecraft docked at the forward port of the Tianhe module at 09:46 and was greeted by the Shenzhou 16 crew after opening the hatch at 11:34.

The Commander of the Shenzhou 17 crew is Tang Hongbo who is making his second spaceflight. The Operator of the Shenzhou 17 crew is Tang Shengjie who is making his first spaceflight. The System Operator of the Shenzhou 17 crew is Jiang Xinlin who is making his first spaceflight.

Long March 2F during first stage flight carrying Shenzhou 17.
Long March 2F during first stage flight carrying Shenzhou 17.

October 27th - Soyuz 2.1b with Kosmos 2570 (Lotos-S1 #8)

Russia launched a Soyuz 2.1b carrying the Kosmos 2570 (Lotos-S1 #8) payload into low Earth orbit from Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The payload is believed to be part of the Liana constellation for military electronic intelligence.

In Other Space News

Russian EVA on the International Space Station

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko (red stripes) and Nikolai Chub (blue stripes) during their spacewalk.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko (red stripes) and Nikolai Chub (blue stripes) during their spacewalk.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub performed a spacewalk from the Russian segment of the International Space Station on October 25th spending almost eight hours outside. During their spacewalk, the cosmonauts documented the source of the leak on Nauka's backup radiator and isolated the cooling system. However, a bubble of coolant formed on the radiator at the source of the leak requiring the crew to wipe down their suits before continuing.

The two cosmonauts also released a nanosatellite to test a solar sail but the sail failed to deploy on the satellite.

U.S. companies able to launch from Australia

The U.S. State Department announced on October 26th that both countries signed a 'technology safeguards agreement' relating to space launches from Australia. The agreement will allow American launch companies to operate launches from Australian spaceports.

United Launch Alliance targeting late December for Vulcan's first flight

United Launch Alliance announced this week that it is currently targeting no earlier than December 24th, with backup dates in January, for Vulcan's maiden flight. Vulcan's maiden flight will deliver the Astrobotic Peregrine Lunar lander to a trajectory towards the Moon. If successful the launch will also certify Vulcan to launch U.S. national security missions.

What to Expect Next Week

Starbase

With current rumors of IFT-2 launching no earlier than November 6th, Ship 25 and Booster 9 may have their Flight Termination systems armed in the coming days. Ship 26 could make a return to the launch site within the week too.

SpaceX is expected to launch twenty-two more Starlink satellites for its space-based internet constellation from Vandenberg Space Force base in California.

SpaceX is expected to launch yet more Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral Florida.

October 31st - Long March 4C with a to-be-announced payload

A Long March 4C is expected to launch from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center carrying a payload that is yet to be announced.

November 2nd - SpaceShipTwo with Galactic 05

Virgin Galactic is currently expected to launch SpaceShipTwo on a suborbital flight for Galactic 05 for its fifth commercial mission.

SpaceX is expected to launch a Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 40 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying more Starlink satellites for its space-based internet constellation.

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