Small Satellite Launch Schedule for August 2020

18th Aug 2020
rocket launch

The end of summer 2020 is going to be the most productive for small satellites launches. The number of small satellites in orbit is growing and even Covid-19 cannot influence this.

Technological development let us not only increase the number of important tasks done by man-made satellites, but it made it possible to reduce their size and price. As a result, satellites became more accessible to private companies and organizations. The number of satellites in orbit increased by one quarter for the last year, and small satellites and CubeSats take the lion’s share of all commercial launches.

The Coronavirus pandemic did not interfere with this rapid development of the industry. The companies offering satellite launch services managed to regroup and gradually return to the usual rate of production.

Read on to find out who plans the launches of small satellites in the month of August. The spacefight calendar shows that this month is going to be an eventful one.

Crew Dragon SpaceX

Though SpaceХ is not send the Crew Dragon into orbit but has just successfully returned from it, we could not forget about this historical event. On August 2, at 19.48 UTC, the first manned mission SpaceX Demo-2 successfully ended. The Crew Dragon spacecraft capsule with two astronauts aboard managed to parachute and landed at the Gulf of Mexico. The crew was met and saved by the rescue boat Go Navigator. It’s worth remembering that Crew Dragon became the first private space ship to dock with ISS and deliver not only people but also cargo.

 Rocket 3.0 Astra Space

Astra Space has been projecting rocket propulsion systems since 2005. For example, Astra Space developed the plane for air-launch of launch vehicles, placing CubeSats on Low Earth Orbit in 2014. In 2018 the company made two test launches of launch vehicles Rocket 1.0 and 2.0, that were partially successful. In the following March, they had to transfer the commercial launch of Rocket 3.0 with three smallsats aboard twice for technical reasons. As the company Twitter says, the next try was planned on August 6-7. This time Rocket 3.1 is going to fly without any useful cargo. The launch place is Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex.

Souyz 2.1.B Roscosmos

The launch of the Russian navigation satellite of the new generation GLONASS-K has been regularly postponed since March due to production delays. The reason was the lack of imported parts, as their delivery was stopped due to sanctions. The next attempt to launch the satellite with the help of Soyuz 2.1b from Plesetsk Cosmodrome was planned on the 6th of August. Though, the launch has been delayed with the status TBD (to be determined) again. GLONASS-K is the third generation of satellites, forming the Russian equivalent of the American GPS navigation system and the Chinese Beidou.

SAST China Long March 2D

China is not going to lag behind in the space race of the month either. On the 6th of August the light missile Long March 2D, also well-known as Chang Zheng, has launched the fourth satellite Gaofen 9 from Jiuquan Cosmodrome. Gaofen – is a high-resolution series of Chinese satellites with earth remote sensing. They were developed and built according to the program of China High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS).

Arianespace Vega

At the end of August, the European company Arianespace is going to check-into the race. Their rocket Vega will launch the Proof of Concept for Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) with 50 microsatellites, nanosats, and CubeSats for commercial and institutional clients. The ESA project was financed and was planned to launch a year ago but was postponed a few times for different reasons. Among the reasons were the coronavirus pandemic and harsh weather conditions.

Small satellite launch in August was also planned by American company Rocket Lab, India, and Iran, but the dates are «to be determined».

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