July 2021 Rocket Launch Schedule

9th Jul 2021
Rocket Lab 18th launch

The rocket launch schedule for July 2021 looks to be one of the biggest in years, with some high-profile figures in the space industry departing Earth for the first time. Richard Branson will be the first to take off with a Virgin Galactic launch on 11th July, just beating rival entrepreneur Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight scheduled for 20th July. So, let’s start from the beginning with rocket launches in July 2021.

11th July: Virgin Galactic Unity 22 Mission Launch

Virgin Galactic Spacecraft
Virgin Galactic – Unity 22

With weather permitting, Virgin Galactic is planning for the twenty-second launch of its VSS Unity spacecraft on 11th July, hence the mission title “Unity 22”. It will be the firm’s fourth spaceflight and the very first to include founder Sir Richard Branson onboard. The VSS Unity will be attached to a VMS Eve carrier plane that will take the craft to an altitude of 50,000 feet. At this point, the VSS Unity will detach and fire its engines to travel into suborbital space. As the first celebrity mission of the July rocket launch schedule, perhaps Branson will take some pleasure in knowing that he topped Jeff Bezos in the race to go to space.

15th July: Russian Proton Rocket Launch

ROSCOSMOS – Proton

Followers of the ISS news might find this to be a fascinating event in the July rocket launch schedule. On 15th July, ROSCOSMOS will launch a Proton rocket from its Baikonur Cosmodrome located in Khazakstan, for a mission to the ISS. Flights such as these are a regular occurrence to help transport essential supplies as well as resources like fuel, air, and water to the ISS. This mission differs significantly, however. The Proton rocket will be transporting the Nauka lab module, the largest permanent addition to the ISS, for over a decade. The project has been the subject of a severely troubled development, so it will be fascinating to see the project finally take off. The module is scheduled to dock with the ISS on 23rd July.

20th July: Blue Origin’s New Shepard Launch

Blue Origin New Shepard
Blue Origin – New Shepard

Perhaps the most high-profile of the rocket launches in July 2021, the 20th of the month, will see Blue Origin’s New Shepard craft take to the skies with company founder and Amazon creator Jeff Bezos aboard. The rest of the passenger list will be comprised of Bezos’ brother Mark, crew members, and a mystery passenger who won a $28 million bid to join the flight in what will be the first instance of commercial space tourism.

27th July: Ariane 5 ECA Launch

Arianespace – Ariane 5

French rocket firm Arianespace will launch their Ariane 5 ECA rocket from the Guiana Spaceport in French Guiana. The rocket will be transporting Eutelsat Quantum and Star One D2 communication satellites into Low Earth orbit.

30th July: Starliner OFT-2 Launch

Boeing Starliner OFT – 2

The Orbital Flight Test 2 mission will launch a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on 30th July. Onboard the rocket will be Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner unmanned craft that will attempt to dock at the ISS. It’s expected that the mission fares better than its predecessor that suffered a launch failure in December 2019.

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