Space Rocket Launch Schedule for September 2020: Rocket Lab, Astra Space, SpaceX, and others

3rd Sep 2020
Space Rocket Launch Schedule for September 2020: Rocket Lab, Astra Space, SpaceX, and others

The global space industry seems to be well on its way to recover from the quarantine effects that have come about during the Covid-19 crisis and have ended the rocket launch summer on a positive note. If there were seven launches in June and August, then in July, their number was at all a record – 14. By the end of August, SpaceX marked itself out by launching the Argentine Earth observation satellite “SAOCOM 1B” into orbit with Falcon 9, like a Phoenix reborn from the ashes. Following a failed launch in July, RocketLab, this time, successfully launching its Electron light rocket with Capella Space’s Sequoia radar satellite. September promises to be no less productive since it includes several delayed August launches as well as the planned ones. We will begin our countdown with them.

Delayed August Launches

2th September – Vega Arianespace

The ESA SSMS mission was just a little late by the end of August. It is this launch that opened the show for the space flights of the autumn. On September 2nd, the Vega Arianespace rocket sent a cluster of 46 small satellites into orbit on its Vega rocket from the Kourou launch site in French Guiana. The small satellite launch had been repeatedly postponed since spring, but this time, it seems, everything went according to plan. You can watch the full video here:

11th September – Rocket 3.1 Astra Space

Astra Space has postponed its Rocket 3.1 for the third time this year for various reasons. The August launch from the Kodiak Spaceport in Alaska was cancelled at first due to strong upper level winds and a boat getting lost in the waters, which needed to be released before the two-hour launch window closed. Then the rocket launch was interrupted by problems in the rocket’s liquid cooling system. This time, the company hopes to launch Rocket 3.1 on September 11. The flight will be a test one so that the rocket will fly without a payload.

Glonass M Soyuz 2.1.B Roscosmos

The delayed launch of the new-generation Russian navigation satellite Glonass-K was supposed to then happen in September according to Roscosmos. But it seems to have been postponed again. The reason for the 4th postponement is the unavailability of the device. According to the latest available information, Rocket Soyuz 2.1. will put Glonass into orbit no earlier than October 17th.

So, while some fail, others continue to make one successful small satellites launch after another.

Planned launches in September

3rd September – SpaceX Falcon 9

SpaceX will launch the next 60 satellites of the Starlink network. The Falcon 9 rocket is launched from the KSC LC-39A complex located at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Let’s remind ourselves that this will be the 11th Starlink mission. The 9th and 10th missions were completed on August 7th and 18th. In case of successful completion of 11 missions, the number of satellites deployed for this global Internet network will exceed 700 out of 12 thousand planned.

3rd September – SpaceX Starship

On the same day, Elon Musk’s company plans a test flight of the Starship SN6 spacecraft prototype. The rocket launch will take place at the private SpaceX launch site in Texas, near Boca Chica. As part of the test, “Starship SN6” will rise to a height of 150 metres, after which it will land back at the aerospace centre.

5th September – ULA Delta IV Heavy

United Launch Alliance will launch the secret US National Intelligence Agency NROL-44 satellite. The Delta IV Heavy rocket launches from the SLC-37B Launch Complex located at Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is assumed that the satellite will go into geostationary orbit, at a distance of more than 36,000 kilometres, in the equatorial plane.

Roscosmos Soyuz -2 Gonets

Roscosmos plans to launch several of the latest military communications satellites of the Gonets system into low-earth orbit at the end of September. The small satellite launch is scheduled for a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on approximately September 29th, although the date has not been finally approved.

Electron RocketLab

RocketLab is not going to stop after resuming successful launches. The launch window for the secret STP-27RM mission of the US Air Force Experimental Spacecraft is tentatively scheduled for September 30th. The Electron rocket launches from Rocket Complex 2 on Wallops Island, Virginia. Date subject to change.

Also, India and China are planning launches of their small satellites in September, but their exact dates are still unknown. In any case, China continues to confidently rank second after the United States in terms of the number of successful small satellites launches.

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