The primary week of September will see solely 4 orbital launches and a single sub-orbital crewed launch. SpaceX will begin the week off with its Starlink Group 6-12 mission. China will then launch two back-to-back missions with the Ceres-1S and Chang Zheng 4C. Virgin Galactic will then launch its fourth crewed mission of 4 months with Galactic-03. Lastly, China will finish the week with a Chang Zheng 6A launch.
Beginning off the week, SpaceX will try to launch its first Starlink mission from Launch Complicated 39A (LC-39A) in over six months on Sunday, Sep. 3, at 7:25 PM EDT (23:25 UTC). Falcon 9 will launch 21 Starlink v2 Mini satellites to a 284 by 293-kilometer low-Earth orbit, inclined 43.00 levels.
This launch will take the Starlink constellation to 4,704 satellites in orbit, of which 3,963 are of their operational orbits. General, SpaceX may have launched 5,048 Starlink satellites, of which 344 have been deorbited both for testing functions or for on-orbit failures.
The booster supporting this mission, B1073-10, first flew on the Starlink Group 4-15 mission in Could 2022. Since then, it has supported SES-22, Starlink Group 4-26, Starlink Group 4-35, HAKUTO-R Mission 1, Amazonas Nexus, CRS-27, Starlink Group 6-2, and Starlink Group 5-11.
Following liftoff, the booster will try to land on SpaceX’s restoration vessel Simply Learn the Directions, which was quickly rotated following the launch of the Starlink Group 6-11 mission, which occurred on Aug. 27. SpaceX’s multi-purpose restoration ship Doug will present drone ship assist for this mission and can try to get well each fairing halves from the water roughly 45 minutes after liftoff.
As typical on East Coast Starlink missions, Falcon 9 will conduct two burns of its higher stage, deploying the 21 satellites 65 minutes after launch.
This mission marks the second Starlink mission from LC-39A of 2023. As compared, SpaceX’s Area Launch Complicated 40 on the Cape Canaveral Area Drive Station has launched 21 Starlink missions this 12 months and Area Launch Complicated 4 East at Vandenberg Area Drive Base has seen 12. As a result of three Falcon Heavy launches and 5 Dragon launches to date in 2023, LC-39A has been present process near-constant pad conversions.
Outbound and down.
Falcon 9, Dragon Endurance, and a brand new crew of 4 climb into the celebrities & onwards to humanity’s best outpost: the ISS.
— Max Evans (@_mgde_) August 26, 2023
For Falcon Heavy missions, groups should take away the aspect rainbirds, make adjustments to the response body to assist the propellant loading of three boosters, make adjustments to the transporter erector, and alter the pad’s countdown software program to deal with the completely different automobile, in a course of that takes roughly two weeks in each instructions.
Moreover, for Dragon launches, SpaceX should modify the highest of the transporter erector, eradicating the fairing airconditioning and provide strains for Dragon. This course of is faster than pad conversions for Falcon Heavy, however nonetheless provides roughly every week to pad turnaround occasions.
For these causes, LC-39A has launched considerably fewer missions this calendar 12 months than SpaceX’s different pads. Regardless of this, Starlink Group 6-12 will mark SpaceX’s 62nd Falcon launch of 2023 — surpassing the corporate’s 2022 file of 61 orbital launches in a 12 months. If SpaceX’s launch cadence stays roughly fixed for the remainder of the 12 months, the corporate is anticipated to succeed in roughly 95 launches, together with Starship.
Ceres-1S | The Little Mermaid
On Tuesday, Sep. 5, at 09:40 UTC, the Ceres-1S rocket will launch 4 web satellites into low-Earth orbit for China. This launch will happen from the Maritime launching platform, which will probably be stationed within the Yellow Sea. This can mark each the primary maritime launch of the Ceres-1 rocket and the primary personal Chinese language launch from a sea platform.
The Ceres-1S is a four-stage rocket that stands 19 meters tall with a fairing diameter of 1.4 meters. The automobile can place as much as 400 kilograms right into a low-Earth orbit. This mission will mark its fifth mission of 2023 and ninth general.
A day later, China will try to launch its Chang Zheng 4C rocket from Web site 9401 on the Jiuquan Satellite tv for pc Launch Middle, in China. Liftoff is scheduled for 18:18 UTC on Sep. 6. The launch automobile, launch time, and payload are all extremely unsure, and will change.
The Galactic-03 mission is Virgin Galactic’s third business mission utilizing the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity spacecraft. The mission, which can present passengers with a couple of minutes of weightlessness and unbelievable views of Earth, is ready to launch on Sep. 8, with a at present unknown drop time. This can mark SpaceShipTwo’s seventeenth mission and fifth of 2023.
The spacecraft will probably be carried to round 45,000 ft by provider plane VMS Eve earlier than being launched and igniting its hybrid rocket engine. This engine, burning liquid nitrous oxide and strong rubber, will burn for round 60 seconds, taking the spacecraft to an altitude of roughly 80 kilometers.
Rewatch our stream right here: pic.twitter.com/zwsJkEQ0yr
— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) August 10, 2023
Crew members for this mission bought their tickets as early as 2005 and the total crew has not been introduced. VSS Unity will probably be piloted by Nicola Pecile and Michael Masucci — veterans of the corporate. The astronaut teacher is Colin Bennett and the mothership VMS Eve will probably be piloted by pilots Jameel Janjua and Kelly Latimer.
Galactic-03 will mark Virgin Galactic’s fourth spaceflight in 4 months, with Galactic-02 having simply flown 29 days previous to launch on Aug. 10.
Chang Zheng 6A | Unknown Payload
Ending the week off, China will try to launch a Chang Zheng 6A from Launch Complicated 9A on the Taiyuan Satellite tv for pc Launch Middle in China. Liftoff is scheduled for 04:40 UTC on Sep. 9. Nonetheless, the launch automobile, payload, and launch time are nonetheless unsure, and will change.
(Lead picture: Credit score: Falcon 9 returning the port following the Starlink Group 6-11 mission. Credit score: Max Evans for NSF)