Weekly Dose of Space (5/5-11/5)

Weekly Dose of Space (5/5-11/5)


Welcome back to Weekly Dose of Space! Last week saw six launches worldwide, with a fifty-fifty split between the U.S. and China. This week also saw the latest lunar exploration mission enter lunar orbit along with auroras heading south due to a rare phenomenon. As always, we'll also look ahead to the launch schedule worldwide for next week.

SpaceX

This week at Starbase started on the 7th when the Ship static fire stand was moved from the Massey's test site to the production site. A few hours later Ship 30 performed a partial fuel load alongside testing of the launch site's fuelling systems. Not long after that, Ship 26 was lifted onto the Ship static fire stand in the production site.

In the early hours of the 8th, Ship 26 was taken from the production site to the Massey's test site atop of the Ship static fire stand. The 8th also saw Ship 30 fire up all six of its engines on suborbital Pad B for a static fire test ahead of the fifth flight of Starship-Super Heavy, the fourth flight is still yet to happen.

Ship 30 during its six-engine static fire. ©SpaceX
Ship 30 during its six-engine static fire. ©SpaceX

On the 10th, Ship 30 was lifted off of suborbital Pad B ahead of being transported back to the production site. A few hours later Ship 30 was rolled from the launch site back to the production site. That evening, Booster 11 was rolled out from the production site to the launch site.

Early in the morning of the 11th, Ship 31 also left the production site and headed to the Massey's test site. The 11th also saw Booster 11 being lifted onto the orbital launch mount for testing. Ship 29 was also moved to the launch site at the very end of the week, where it is now waiting to be stacked atop of Booster 11.

Launches This Week

SpaceX once again started the launches this week with a Falcon 9 carrying twenty-three Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40, in Florida. The booster for this mission was B1069 making its fifteenth flight and successfully landing downrange on the drone ship 'Just Read The Instructions'.

Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 for Starlink Group 6-57. ©SpaceX
Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 for Starlink Group 6-57. ©SpaceX

May 7th - Long March 6C on its debut flight

The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology debuted its new Long March 6C launch vehicle from Launch Complex 9A at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center carrying four payloads into a sun-synchronus orbit. For more on the Long March 6C and its first launch click here.

The Long March 6C Y1 vehicle during first-stage flight.
The Long March 6C Y1 vehicle during first-stage flight.

SpaceX launched another twenty-three Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit at of Falcon 9 from Florida, this time from Launch Complex 39A. The booster for this mission was B1083 making its third flight and successfully landing on the drone ship 'A Shortfall Of Gravitas' downrange.

Falcon 9 during first-stage flight for Starlink Group 6-56. ©SpaceX
Falcon 9 during first-stage flight for Starlink Group 6-56. ©SpaceX

May 9th - Long March 3B/E with Smart SkyNet 1A & 1B

Another rocket launched from China this week with a Long March 3B/E flying from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center to medium Earth orbit. The two Smart SkyNet satellites will test communications technologies in space before launching more satellites later in the year. For more on the launch and payloads click here.

The Long March 3B/E Y97 vehicle lifting off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.
The Long March 3B/E Y97 vehicle lifting off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Another Falcon 9 launched during the week with it delivering twenty Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4E, in California. The booster for this mission was B1082 making its fourth flight and successfully landing downrange on the drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You'.

Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 4E for Starlink Group 8-2. ©SpaceX
Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 4E for Starlink Group 8-2. ©SpaceX

May 11th - Long March 4C with Shiyan-23

The Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology launched a second rocket during the week with a Long March 4C lifting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center to a sun-synchronus orbit. The payload was Shiyan-23 which is believed to be operated by the Chinese military.

The Long March 4C Y50 vehicle lifting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
The Long March 4C Y50 vehicle lifting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

In Other Space News

Chang'e 6 enters lunar orbit!

The Moon as seen by ICUBE-Q. ©China National Space Administration/SUPARCO
The Moon as seen by ICUBE-Q. ©China National Space Administration/SUPARCO

Chang'e 6 has become the latest spacecraft to enter lunar orbit after successfully completing a braking burn on May 8th at 02:12 am Universal Coordinated Time. In lunar orbit, the spacecraft will perform a few more burns to place it in the optimal orbit for the lander's descent, and later for rendevous and docking between the orbiter and ascent module.

The Chang'e 6 spacecraft also deployed the ICUBE-Q CubeSat from Pakistan in lunar orbit on May 8th. The ICUBE-Q spacecraft will search for ice on the surface using its two optical cameras to image the lunar surface. Reportedly, ICUBE-Q was jointly developed by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Pakistan's Institute of Space Technology.

The Chang'e 6 lander aims to land and collect samples from the southern side of the Apollo Basin, at 43.0°S 154.0°W, sometime in mid to late May. If all goes according to plan the samples are expected to touch down safely on Earth no earlier than June 25th in China's Inner Mongolia region. For more about the Chang'e mission and other international payloads click here.

Solar storm causes auroras to head south

An aurora seen in Weimar, Germany, near midnight. ©CFP
An aurora seen in Weimar, Germany, near midnight. ©CFP

Auroras, sometimes referred to as 'the northern lights', were spotted as far south as Florida on May 10th after a series of coronal mass ejections from the Sun. These coronal mass ejections lead to a series of warnings being issued from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center and China's National Center for Space Weather with it being classified as an 'extreme' geomagnetic storm.

The storm is harmless to almost all people on Earth along with those in low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station and Tiangong Space Station. It did however cause some interference with electrical and radio systems in Earth's atmosphere while disrupting satellites directly in the path of the coronal mass ejection.

Cosmic Store launches!

Some products that can be found on our store! (note: a portion of the proceeds go to various non-profit organizations)

Saturday was a big day for us, as we released our store! There are a bunch of cool products on there, such as posters, patches, notebooks, and some Cosmic Nxws branded apparel! But, we wanted to do more, so a portion of all proceeds go to various non-profit organizations, helping young minds and women across the globe pursue a career in STEM! There is a lot more to expect from this store, with new products rolling out in the coming days! So stay tuned and keep up to date with our twitter for more information.

To help show our love for all the people who read our weekly space recaps, use this discount code: CNWDOS! and get 15% off your order!

What to Expect Next Week

Starbase

With Booster 11 at on the orbital launch mount, and Ship 29 next to it at the launch site, its likely that we could see a wet dress rehearsal with both vehicles soon. This is one of the last tests ahead of the fourth flight. SpaceX still believes that they can launch the fourth flight test of Starship-Super Heavy this month but they are still going through the process of a mishap investigation into the previous flight with the Federal Aviation Administration.

SpaceX is believed to be planning to launch another batch of Starlink satellites atop of Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 40. The booster is believed to be B1073 making its fifteenth flight where it will land downrange on a drone ship.

Another Falcon 9 is believed to be launching a day later from Space Launch Complex 4E carrying more Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit. The booster is currently unknown but it is believed to be aiming to land on the drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You' downrange.

May 17th - Atlas V with Starliner Crewed Flight Test

United Launch Alliance is expected to launch Boeing's Starliner spacecraft into low Earth orbit carrying astronauts Barry Wilmore and Suni Williams onboard. The mission is the first crewed test flight of the Starliner spacecraft, and its second trip to the space station.

Yet another Falcon 9 is believed to be targeting a launch next week, currently the booster and launch pad for the mission are unknown. It is still believed that the booster will land downrange on a drone ship.

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