TWIRL 70: A support mission for NASA’s return to the Moon is planned for this week!


This week we have several launches that will carry satellites into space. The most exciting of these will be achieved by Rocket Lab launching NASA’s CAPSTONE CubeSat mission into orbit around the Moon. CAPSTONE is a support mission for NASA’s Artemis program that will bring back men and send the first woman to the Moon. CAPSTONE will test the orbit of the Gateway space station which will eventually circle the Moon.

Tuesday, June 21

This week’s first mission should have taken off last week but was delayed. South Korea will launch the second test flight of its Nuri rocket. It will carry payloads including a performance verification satellite (PVSAT) and several other CubeSats. The launch will take place between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. UTC from the Naro Space Center. It looks like you will be able to connect to the live stream on YouTube.

Wednesday June 22

The second launch of the week is an Ariane 5 ECA+ rocket carrying the MEASAT 3d and GSAT 24 communications satellites into orbit. The MEASAT 3d satellite will perform a number of functions, including providing high-speed broadband communications over Malaysia. The mission will be launched from French Guiana between 21:03 and 22:43 UTC. It will be released on YouTube later today.

Saturday June 25

On Saturday, we have a very familiar launch with SpaceX sending a Falcon 9 into space to deliver Starlink satellites into orbit. These very common launches allow the company to expand its Starlink constellation to provide fast Internet access to more places around the world. The launch doesn’t yet have a scheduled launch time, but check in on SpaceX’s website on June 25 if you want to watch live.

The second and final launch of the week is also scheduled for Saturday. At 09:00 UTC, Rocket Lab will launch an Electron rocket from New Zealand carrying NASA’s CAPSTONE CubeSat mission. The CubeSat will be placed in lunar orbit where NASA can then test the adequacy of the planned orbit for the Gateway space station. The Gateway space station will serve as a springboard for astronauts heading to the lunar surface during this decade. You’ll be able to head over to Rocket Lab’s website to see the launch.

to sum up

The first launch we had this week was a SpaceX Starlink mission. The satellites were launched aboard a Falcon 9, you can see the images below:

Then another Falcon 9 launch, but this time with the SARah 1, an Earth observation satellite that will be operated by the German military.

The final launch was another Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Globalstar-2 communications satellite.

That’s it for this week, let us know in the comments which launch looks the most interesting to you.


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