Weekly Dose of Space (7/1-13/1)

Weekly Dose of Space (7/1-13/1)


Welcome to Weekly Dose of Space! This week hasn't slowed down and saw two debut flights from two different countries! This week also had interesting news from NASA, JAXA, and Lockheed Martin. We'll also look ahead to the next week of launches.

SpaceX

SpaceX's teams at Starbase continued to remove and disassemble one of the water tanks at the 'orbital tank farm' at the start of the week.

Ship 30 was spotted rolling to the production site on the 10th from the Masseys test site after it was believed to have undergone testing. Booster 12 was seen undergoing 'cryo-testing' at Masseys the following day, the 11th. Later on the 11th Ship 32 was spotted heading to the 'rocket garden'.

Teams were also spotted starting construction on what is believed to be a flame trench at the Masseys test site.

Launches This Week

SpaceX kicked off another week of launches sending another batch of Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The booster for this mission was B1067 making its sixteenth flight and landing on the drone ship 'A Shortfall Of Gravitas' downrange.

Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41. ©SpaceX
Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40. ©SpaceX

January 8th - Vulcan-Centaur with Peregrine Mission One

At 07:18 am on the 8th of January, United Launch Alliance's Vulcan-Centaur rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41, at Cape Canaveral in Florida, for the first time ever! The rocket delivered Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander to its desired orbit for its first trip to the Moon.

Vulcan-Centaur lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41. ©United Launch Alliance
Vulcan-Centaur lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41. ©United Launch Alliance

January 9th - Long March 2C with the Einstein Probe

On the 9th of January, a Long March 2C lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center carrying the Einstein Probe to a 600-kilometer low Earth orbit.

The Einstein Probe is a science mission by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the European Space Agency as well as the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, based in Germany.

A Long March 2C lifting off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center carrying the Einstein Probe. ©Ling Siqin/Xinhua
A Long March 2C lifting off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center carrying the Einstein Probe. ©Ling Siqin/Xinhua

January 11th - Kuaizhou 1A with Tianxing-1-02

A Kuaizhou 1A lifted off from the Jiquan Satellite Launch Center on the 11th of January. The rocket was carrying the Tianxing-1-02 satellites to a sun-synchronous orbit to perform 'spatial environment measurements'.

Kuaizhou-1A lifting off from its launchpad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
Kuaizhou-1A lifting off from its launchpad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

January 11th - Gravity-1 for its maiden flight

OrienSpace conducted the maiden flight of its Gravity-1 launch vehicle on the 11th of January. The launch vehicle lifted off from its sea launch platform at 13:30 pm, Beijing Time, off the coast of Haiyang, located in the Shandong province.

The rocket also carried three Yunyao-1 weather satellites into low Earth orbit.

Gravity-1 during first-stage flight. ©OrienSpace
Gravity-1 during first-stage flight. ©OrienSpace

January 12th - H-IIA with IGS Optical 8

The 12th of January saw a H-IIA rocket lift off the Tanegashima Space Center flying to sun-synchronous orbit with the IGS Optical 8 satellite. IGS Optical 8 spacecraft is an optical reconnaissance satellite operated by the Japanese military.

H-IIA lifting off from its launchpad at the Tanegashima Space Center. ©Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
H-IIA lifting off from its launchpad at the Tanegashima Space Center. ©Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Another Falcon 9 launched on the 14th but from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, in California. The launch carried twenty-two Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit. The booster for this mission was B1061 making its eighteenth flight and landed downrange on the drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You'.

This launch normally wouldn't have been included but launched successfully during the writing process of the newsletter.

Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 4E. ©SpaceX
Falcon 9 lifting off from Space Launch Complex 4E. ©SpaceX

In Other Space News

1000th F-35 built by Lockheed Martin

An F-35C in flight. ©Lockheed Martin
An F-35C in flight. ©Lockheed Martin

Defense titan Lockheed Martin has recently completed construction of the one-thousandth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter airframe. This milestone comes as the company is currently in the middle of 'Tech Refresh-3', TR-3, of the F-35.

When Lockheed Martin was asked about the 1000th F-35 by The Warzone they answered the following:

"We continue to produce F-35s at rate and have jets in various stages of the final production process. Once these jets receive the necessary TR-3 hardware and final TR-3 software is available, they will continue through the production process, including parking, until they are delivered."

As of January 2024, the F-35 fleet has flown for over seven-hundred and seventy-three thousand hours and only lost ten airframes in accidents.

JAXA's Martian moon mission delayed to 2026

A render of JAXA's MMX spacecraft near Mars. ©JAXA
A render of JAXA's MMX spacecraft near Mars. ©JAXA

Announced just before Christmas last year via social media, JAXA's 'Martian Moons Exploration' is no longer targeting fiscal year 2024 and has been delayed to fiscal year 2026.

No reason for the delay was given by JAXA or the Japanese government.

If you would like to find out more about the mission you can find out more here.

NASA and Lockheed Martin unveil the X-59

NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft sat on a runway. ©Lockheed Martin
NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft sat on a runway. ©Lockheed Martin

NASA and Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works revealed the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Aircraft on the 12th of January. The X-59 is designed to gather data at supersonic speeds and potentially pave the way for a new generation of commercial aircraft.

The X-59 is planned to fly later this year at speeds of 925 miles per hour, or roughly Mach 1.4. The aircraft will perform several test flights at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works before it eventually gets transferred to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

What to Expect Next Week

Starbase

Hardware is still being prepared for Starship's third flight with SpaceX believing they will receive regulatory approval in February. SpaceX believes they will be hardware-ready for the flight by the end of the month.

Falcon 9 is expected to deliver twenty-three more Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit early on the 14th of January from Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The booster is likely to be B1073 making its twelfth flight and landing downrange on one of SpaceX's drone ships.

January 17th - Long March 7 with Tianzhou 7

A Long March 7 is expected to launch from Wenchang Space Launch Site on the 17th of January. The rocket will carry the Tianzhou 7 spacecraft to low Earth orbit to perform the sixth cargo delivery mission to the Tiangong Space Station.

January 17th - Falcon 9 with Axiom-3

SpaceX is expected to launch Axiom Space's third mission to the International Space Station. The mission will carry Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Alper Gezeravci, and Marcus Wandt aboard Crew Dragon Freedom.

The crew are expected to spend eight days aboard the International Space Station.

January 18th - Electron for 'Four Of A Kind'

Rocket Lab is expected to launch Electron from Launch Complex 1B on the Mahia Peninsula, in New Zealand. Electron is believed to be carrying four 'space situational awareness' satellites for NorthStar Earth and Space.

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