NEXT LAUNCH – SpaceX, Falcon Heavy, ViaSat-3 Americas & Others
Starship maiden orbital launch attempt
On Apr. 20, SpaceX conducted the maiden launch of Starship, the most powerful rocket in history. The main objective of clearing the launch tower was achieved and Starship even made it to max-Q before losing control and being destroyed by the FTS. SpaceX considers this launch successful because much data were gathered for improving future missions.
SpaceX launches Crew-6 mission
On Mar. 6, SpaceX successfully launched the Crew-6 mission. Crew Dragon Endeavour with four astronauts arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on March 3, after a nominal docking.
Rocket Lab launches from U.S. soil for the first time
On Jan. 24, Rocket Lab successfully launched the Electron rocket from the Launch Complex-2 (LC-2) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia rocket and reached orbit with three satellites.
Falcon Heavy launches USSF-67 mission
On Jan. 15, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched for the first time in 2023 with two payloads for the Space Force deployed directly into geostationary orbit (GEO) from LC-39A.
Virgin Orbit fails on first mission from the UK
On Jan. 9, Virgin Orbit attempted to launch the first rocket from the UK to orbit. The mission Start Me Up failed sometime during the second stage burn.
Vega-C fails on its first operational mission
On Dec. 20, Arianespace Vega-C failed during its first operational mission which was set to carry Pléiades Neo 5 and 6 Earth-observation satellites to SSO orbit.
Orion splashes down after a successful Artemis I mission
On Nov. 11, the Orion spacecraft reentered Earth’s atmosphere and landed under parachutes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California at 112:40 PM EST (17:40 UTC) ending the 25.5-day Artemis 1 uncrewed test flight.
Announcement of dearMoon crew
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa unveiled the 8 crew members who will fly to the moon on SpaceX’s Starship as part of the dearMoon project. The creator of ‘Everyday Astronaut’ is among the eight.
SLS launches Orion to the Moon
On Nov. 16, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) took flight on its debut launch and sent the Orion spacecraft to the Moon. The world’s most powerful and long-awaited rocket aims to return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.
Falcon Heavy launches USSF-44 mission
On Nov. 1 SpaceX launched the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. After more than three years long break, it took a US Space Force contracted classified payload and at least one rideshare satellite to geostationary orbit
Astra fails to deliver cubesats for NASA to orbit
On Sunday, June 12, Astra’s LV0010 vehicle lifted off from LC-46 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. After a nominal first stage flight and stage separation, the upper stage Aether engine shut down and placed the payload in a suborbital trajectory.
Starliner successfully docks with ISS
After launching from SLC-41 on an Atlas V rocket, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft successfully docked to ISS. This marks a significant milestone for Starliner before crewed spaceflights.
Rocket Lab catches booster with a helicopter
On Monday, May 2, Rocket Lab successfully launched and recovered an Electron booster with a helicopter for the first time during the “There and Back Again” mission.
SpaceX launches Crew-4 to ISS
On Wednesday, April 27, SpaceX launched the fourth SpaceX Commercial Crew rotation mission to the International Space Station. Falcon 9 first stage B1067 launched and landed for its fourth time while Crew Dragon Freedom flew for the first time.
Axiom-1 mission launches to ISS
On Friday, April 8, 2022, SpaceX launched the first ever private crewed mission to ISS. Crew Dragon Endeavour, which flew on its third mission, will stay docked for 8 days before returning the crew back to Earth.
SLS rolls out to LC-39B ahead of Artemis 1 rehearsal
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket was moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building to LC-39B on Thursday evening, March 17 using the crawler transporter for the wet dress rehearsal testing before launching on Artemis 1 mission.
Electron launches from a new launch pad
Rocket Lab launched the Electron rocket from a new launch pad LC-1B. The new launch pad is located next to LC-1A in Mahia, New Zealand.
Starbase has hosted the first update and overview of the Starship program since 2019. Ship 20 was stacked onto Booster 4 using the catching arms for the first time before the event.
Falcon 9 launches Italian Earth observation satellite
SpaceX launched the CSG-2 mission for the Italian Space Agency after four days of delays due to unfavorable weather and a ship that violated range prior to the launch attempt. The first stage landed at LZ-1 during its third flight.
SpaceX Falcon 9 launches third rideshare mission and lands booster at LZ-1
On January 13, 2022, SpaceX launched its second orbital launch of the year, Transporter-3 which is the third dedicated rideshare mission operated by SpaceX. 105 satellites were delivered to a 525-kilometer altitude Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Booster 1058 launched for the tenth time and then landed on Landing Zone 1.
James Webb Space Telescope fully deploys
On January 8, 2022, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) successfully deployed the starboard wing of its primary mirror completing the critical deployment sequence.
Ariane 5 launches James Webb Space Telescope
European Ariane 5 launched the most powerful space telescope at 12:20 UTC from the ELA-3 launch complex at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. JWST is currently traveling toward the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 2 (L2).
Blue Origin launches NS-19
Blue Origin launched a crew of six people on board a New Shepard rocket on Saturday, December 11 from the West Texas facility. This was the first time New Shepard launched six people to suborbital space.
Falcon 9 launches IXPE x-ray observatory
NASA and SpaceX have successfully launched Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) space observatory from LAC-39A in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 1:00 a.m. EST (06:00 UTC).
ULA launches STP-3 mission
United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas V rocket on its fifth and final mission of 2021. STP-3 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Test Program flew to geosynchronous Earth orbit on an Atlas 5 551 with five strap-on solid boosters.
SpaceX launches DART spacecraft
SpaceX has launched NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirect Test) mission onboard Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. DART is the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards.
Astra reaches orbit on the fourth attempt
Smallsat launch startup Astra Space successfully launched the Rocket 3 to orbit following three previous failed attempts. After SECO, a signal simulating payload deployment was received by the upper stage at T+8 minutes 40 seconds.
SpaceX launches Crew-3 mission to ISS
SpaceX and NASA have successfully launched four astronauts to the International Space Station on the Crew-3 mission. Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station Nov. 11, less than 24 hours after its launch from Florida.