The coming week is poised to be an exciting one for rocket lovers, with no less than seven launches planned in the next seven days. It’s also the week when when finally get to see what NASA’s Artemis Moon suits will look like.
Terran 1, Electron, Falcon 9, these are a few of our favorite things. These rockets are all poised to take to the skies this week, but whether they’ll all get a chance to fly remains an open question.
Third time is hopefully the charm for Relativity’s 3D-printed rocket
Relativity Space aborted its second launch attempt of Terran 1 on Saturday, setting the stage for a third attempt later this week, possibly Thursday. The Calfornia startup is seeking to do what no private company has ever done before, which is to successfully send a rocket to orbit on its first attempt. Also unique is the rocket’s propellant and composition; the methane-fueled rocket is primarily constructed with 3D-printing technology.
Artemis Moon suit reveal
This is the week we finally get to lay our eyes on the Moon suits that NASA astronauts will be wearing during the planned Artemis 3 mission to the lunar surface, currently scheduled for no earlier than late 2025. It’s almost impossible to believe, but these are the first Moon suits to be designed and built since the Apollo era, so we’re understandably excited. We’re also expecting to be impressed given what NASA has previously said about them. The Extravehicular Mobility Units, or xEMUs, are being developed by Axiom Space in partnership with NASA. The big reveal is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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SpaceX Cargo mission to the ISS
A Falcon 9 rocket packed with 5,800 pounds of cargo and other supplies is scheduled to lift off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Known as the SpaceX CRS-27 mission, the NASA-chartered delivery includes supplies, equipment, and science experiments for the crew. One of the more notable science experiments going up is a collaboration between the National Center for Translational Sciences at the NIH and the ISS National Lab to study tissue chips that mimic human organs. The Crew Dragon will stay docked at the ISS for one month, after which time it will return with research and return cargo.
Multi-continent launches from Rocket Lab
Rocket Lab is preparing for back-to-back launches from sites in the United States and New Zealand. The company’s “Stronger Together” mission looks to take flight no earlier than Tuesday, with an Electron rocket slated to blast off from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The rocket will attempt to deliver two commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites for Capella Space.
“The Beat Goes On” mission looks good to go on Wednesday at its launch complex in New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula. For this mission, the Electron rocket will attempt to deliver two Earth-observation satellites for BlackSky. a SpaceFlight Inc. subsidiary.
More Falcon 9 launches
A SpaceX Falcon 9 is slated to deliver SES-18 and SES-19, a pair of communication satellites built by Northrop Grumman, on Friday evening, with the rocket departing from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. In addition, the company will add to its impressive Starlink constellation with the scheduled launch of another satellite batch on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. ET. The Falcon 9 will take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Related story: New Image Is Our First Look at SpaceX’s ‘Mini’ Starlink in Orbit
To date, SpaceX has launched 4,053 Starlink satellites to space, of which 3,709 are currently functional, according to statistics kept by Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell.
NASA will speak to the press about the new budget
President Joe Biden announced his new budget for fiscal year 2024 this past Thursday, and “it will allow NASA to continue exploring the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all through Artemis, the Mars Sample Return mission, and other efforts,” the space agency said in a statement. A press briefing is planned for Monday at 1:00 p.m. ET, during which NASA officials will say more on the topic and field questions from reporters.
Mystery China launch
On Wednesday, a Chinese Long March 11 will launch from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center with an unknown payload.
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