Launches

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

The Cygnus spece cargo ship blasting off atop an Antares rocket (Photo NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A little while ago Orbital ATK’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 eighth official mission, called Orbital-8 or simply Orb-8 but also CRS OA-8, to transport supplies to the International Space Station for NASA.

The Sentinel-5P satellite blasting off atop a Rockot vehicle (Photo ESA)

A few hours ago, the Sentinel-5P satellite of the Copernicus / GMES program, blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, on a Rockot with a Briz-KM upper stage rocket. The satellite regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage and after about an hour and a half started sending signals.

The Sentinel-5P – where “P” stands for Precursor – satellite is the first of the Copernicus constellation devoted to atmospheric monitoring. The term Precursor is due to the fact that it’s the forerunner of the future Sentinel-5 satellite and represents a step forward compared to Envisat. It will complement the EUMETSAT’s MetOp meteorological satellites and work in coordination with the Suomi-NPP American mission, which began in 2011 with similar aims.

SpaceX Dragon space cargo ship blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket to start its CRS-12 mission (Image courtesy SpaceX)

A little while ago SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-12 (Cargo Resupply Service 12) mission, also referred to as SPX-12. After just over ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and went en route. This is the 12th mission for the Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station with various cargoes and then return to Earth, again with various cargoes.