Launches

Blogs about launches of satellites, space probes, manned spacecraft.

The Long March 3B rocket blasting off starting the Chang'e 4 mission (Photo courtesy Xinhua)

It was night in China when a rover and a lander were launched on a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center starting the Chang’e 4 mission. After about half an hour, lander and rover, after successfully separating from the rocket’s third stage entered the orbit where they’ll start the series of maneuvers that will bring them en route to the Moon.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft starting its CRS-16 mission blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-16 (Cargo Resupply Service 16) mission, also referred to as SPX-16. After just over ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and went en route. This is the 16th mission for the Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station with various cargoes and then return to Earth, again with various cargoes.

The Falcon 9 rocket Blasting off for its SSO-A SmallSat Express mission (Image courtesy SpaceX)

It was morning in California when SpaceX started a new record mission with the launch from the Vandenberg base of a Falcon 9 rocket whose first stage was on its third flight. Everything worked well, including the third controlled landing. In the meantime, the second stage brought a group of 64 small satellites into orbit and within about half an hour they were put into a Sun-synchronous orbit, hence the name SSO-A SmallSat Express mission. For SpaceX it was the 19th mission of the year, passing the 18 completed in 2017.

The Cygnus John Young cargo spacecraft blasting off atop an Antares rocket (Image NASA TV)

A little while ago Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft blasted off atop an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), part of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) on Wallops Island. After about nine minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage went en route to its destination. This is its tenth official mission, called NG-10 but also CRS NG-10, to transport supplies to the International Space Station for NASA.