TWIRL 82: ABL Space Systems prepares to launch its RS1 rocket for the first time


With the failed Space Launch System launch in the rearview mirror, it’s time to focus on other missions due to launch in the coming week. We’ll have a few launches from SpaceX and Rocket Lab, which we’re pretty used to, but new this week is ABL Space Systems. It’s a private American company that has developed a rocket called RS1 that’s described as simple, gimmick-free, capable of large-scale production, and capable of rapid launches that can be executed in hours, not months.

monday september 12

The first launch of the week is SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying 54 Starlink satellites, designated as Starlink Group 4-34. The mission is scheduled to lift off at 2:15 a.m. UTC from Cape Canaveral and will be streamed live on the SpaceX website. The expansion of the Starlink constellation with this launch will result in the expansion of Starlink coverage.

tuesday september 13

On Tuesday, ABL Space Systems will launch the RS1 rocket on its maiden flight. It’s unclear if the company will stream the launch live on its website, but it’s a notable launch as it’s RS1’s maiden flight. The mission is designated as Demo-1 and will carry two CubeSats for OMNITEQ called VariSat 1A and 1B. Hopefully this mission manages to get off the ground as it has suffered numerous delays since Q3 2020.

Wednesday September 14

The final launch comes from Rocket Lab, which will launch an Electron rocket carrying the StriX 1 satellite. In true Rocket Lab fashion, the company gave the launch the original name “The Owl Spreads Its Wings.” Describing the StriX 1 satellite, its manufacturer Synspective said:

“The StriX satellite can target data with a ground resolution of 1-3m, single polarization (VV) and a swath width of over 10-30km. … StriX-1 is our first pre-commercial satellite for large-scale commercial expansion. This is in anticipation of the production and operation of more satellites in the future, with improved batteries and faster downlink speeds to capture more data and meet the needs of a wide range of customers, from government to the private sector.

to sum up

The first launch last week was a Falcon 9 carrying Starlink satellites, you can see that launch and the first stage return as it lands here.

Next, a Kuaizhou-1A launched from China carrying the CentiSpace-1 S3/S4 test satellites.

On Tuesday, China launched three Yaogan-35 Earth observation satellites using a 2D Long March.

Finally, on Wednesday, an Ariane 5 launched the Eutelsat Konnect VHTS satellite, which will provide high-speed internet in Europe.

That’s all we have this week, be sure to check it out next time.


Comments are closed.