2021 November Rocket Launch Schedule Sets to break 2020 Record4th Nov 2021
Already in October, the launch companies could break last year’s record for launches (114), but they fell short, stopping at 106; however, the November rocket launch schedule may yet help break the 2020 record. Of the 33 planned missions, only 12 took place, including one suborbital and one partially successful orbital. If on 13th October, the second tourist flight of Blue Origin took place in normal mode, then on 21st October, the South Korean Nuri (KSLV-2) rocket, although it reached an estimated orbit of 700 km, was unable to deploy a test payload.
Among other significant events of the last month, we note the launch of the Russian Soyuz 2.1b Fregat rocket with the next batch of OneWeb satellites and the Japanese H-IIA with the QZS 1R navigation satellite. Notably, not a single private rocket flew in October as SpaceX and Rocket Lab rescheduled their missions.
According to nextspaceflight.com, a total of 21 launches are expected in November, of which 12 are still in TBD status. As usual, Orbital Today will tell you about the most interesting ones. So, let’s get ready to rumble!
2021 November rocket launch schedule: Confirmed Launches
Nov 03 Space X Falcon 9 Block 5 | SpaceX Crew-3
Traditionally, SpaceX opens up the list of November rocket launches. Crew-3 is SpaceX’s third crew change mission for the ISS. It will be attended by NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Mathias Maurer. The Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA on Wednesday 3rd November at 05.10 UTC.
Nov 05 Astra Rocket 3 | STP-27AD2
The distressful Astra Space will try to carry out its next mission without failure, something which it has been unable to do so far. As a reminder, all four test launches of Rocket 3 had various problems, and the first launch for the US Space Force on 28th August ended with a loss of payload due to malfunctions in the first stage engine. This time, Astra Space will make another attempt for the US Space Force. Rocket 3 will launch with LP-3B, Pacific Spaceport Complex, Kodiak, Alaska. The payload will be an integral part of the rocket’s second stage.
Nov 07 JAXA Epsilon PBS | Rideshare
In its 5th mission since September 2013, the JAXA Epsilon lightweight 3-stage solid-propellant rocket will launch a rideshare payload – nine Japanese small satellites with a total mass of 337 kg to SSO. The launch traditionally takes place from the Uchinoura Space Center, Japan. For more accurate payload placement in the required circular orbit, the rocket will use the optional 4th CLPS (Compact Liquid Propulsion Stage) liquid stage using hydrazine.
Nov 11 & 27/ Rocket Lab Electron/Curie | Black Sky 10, 11, 12, 13
For various reasons, Rocket Lab has already postponed the launch of Earth Observation satellites for the Black Sky constellation four times. This time, the missions “Love At First Insight” and “A data with Destiny” are scheduled for 11th and 27th November respectively, and should launch from the company’s site on the Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand.
Interestingly, the “Love At First Insight” mission has been labelled “Splashdown.” A helicopter will track the return of the Electron’s first stage for the first time, marking an important event in November rocket launches and Rocket Lab’s tech progress. After splashdown in the ocean, the stage will be retrieved by a special ship and transported back to the Rocket Lab production facility for analysis.
Nov 15 Arianespace Vega | CERÉS 1, 2 & 3
The light rocket Arianespace Vega by the European Space Agency will send an electronic reconnaissance mission to SSO, consisting of three satellites CERES (Capacité de REnseignement Électromagnétique Spatial), developed by the French military. This will be Vega’s 20th mission and hopefully the 18th success. The launch will traditionally take place from the ESA Guiana Space Center near Kourou in South America.
November 2021 rocket launches in TBD status
TBD Nov SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 – Starlink 4 missions
Traditionally, we expected SpaceX to fire at least two Starlink global Internet satellites launches in October. However, the company has taken some time-out and, apparently, is going to catch up on its October respite. A total of four Starlink launches are planned, but the exact dates have not been confirmed so far. If all of the launches take place, the Starlink LEO constellation will be replenished with another 240 satellites. As a reminder, the constellation already has 1,687 of them, and more than 12,000 devices are planned in total.
TBD Nov Virgin Orbit LauncherOne | STP-27VPB
Virgin Orbit is planning its 4th launch in Q4 2021, so there is at least a 50% chance that it will take place in November. As part of the STP-27VPB mission, the Cosmic Girl-LauncherOne air-launch system is to deliver three CubeSats to demonstrate the technology on LEO. Cosmic Girl will launch from Mojave Air and Space Port, California, USA.
As a reminder, Virgin Orbit is part of the Virgin Group owned by British billionaire Richard Branson and is currently the only private company using air-launch technology for commercial missions. The modified Boeing aircraft, nick-named by Branson after one of the songs of his favourite band Jamiroquai, raises the LauncherOne light rocket attached to its wing to an altitude of 33 thousand feet, after which the rocket undocks and launches into a predetermined orbit. Air launch does not require a launchpad. Cosmic Girl can take off from any airfield servicing heavy transport aircraft.
TBD Nov LandSpace China ZhuQue-2 | Demoflight
The November rocket launch schedule ends with a demonstration mission of the first Chinese liquid-propellant rocket ZhuQue 2 from the private company LandSpace. The mid-range rocket runs on liquid oxygen and methane and can carry 4 tonnes to a 200 km LEO and 2 tonnes to a 500 km SSO. The payload has not yet been disclosed, but it is already known that ZhuQue 2 will launch to SSO from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China.
Such interesting space launch events await us in November. Hopefully, the November rocket launch schedule will go without failures and delays, and the 2020 record with its 114 launches will finally be broken!