Launches

Astrosat blasting off atop a PSLV-XL rocket (Photo courtesy ISRO. All rights reserved)

A few hours ago the Astrosat space observatory was launched on a PSLV-XL rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the flight listed as PSLV-C30 by ISRO, the Indian space agency. After about 22 minutes Astrosat regularly separated from the rocket’s upper stage to enter an orbit close to the equator at an altitude of about 650 kilometers (about 400 miles). Along with it six satellites were launched for customers of different nations: the Indonesian Lapan-A2 microsatellite, the Canadian NLS-14 (EV9) microsatellite and four USA LEMUR nanosatellites.

The Russian spacecraft Progress M-28M blasting off atop a Soyuz U rocket (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago the Progress M-28M spacecraft blasted off on a Soyuz U rocket from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan in a resupply mission to the International Space Station also referred to as Progress 60. Less than ten minutes after the launch, the cargo spaceship regularly separated from the rocket’s upper stage, entered a preliminary orbit and deployed its solar panels and navigation antennas. After recent failures in the launches of cargo spaceships, one hopes that this mission may once again be the routine we had become used to.

The X-37B shuttle blasting off atop an Atlas V 501 rocket starting its OTV-4 mission (Screenshot from ULA webcast)

The mini-shuttle X-37B blasted off atop an Atlas V 501 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The launch seems to have gone well but ULA (United Launch Alliance), which manages it, broadcat the images providing information on the progress of the operations just for a few minutes. That’s because the mission of this spaceplane is carried out by the US Air Force and is partially covered by military secret.