Issue No. 196

The Orbital Index

Issue No. 196 | Nov 30, 2022

🚀 🌍 🛰

Artemis I update.

Orion watching the Earth set behind the Moon.

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SpaceX hits 52. This week, a Falcon 9 launched an ISS resupply mission—on board what SpaceX says is the final new Cargo Dragon they plan to build were two more iROSA roll-out solar arrays, some CubeSats to be chucked out the station’s airlock, as well as plant growth and astronaut blood analysis experiments. With this CRS-26 launch, SpaceX broke its goal of launching one Falcon 9 per week in 2022—it was the 52nd Falcon 9 to fly in 2022 and, coincidentally, the 52nd mission to launch from the Florida coast this year. Last month, Falcon 9, which is on a streak of 158 successful launches since the Amos-6 RUD, also became the single vehicle with the most launches in a year, beating out the Soyuz-U which launched 47 times (including two failures) in 1979. Falcon Heavy added one additional launch to the tally and, with up to 11 more F9s before the new year, the company could end up as much as doubling its previous record of 31 launches from 2021. A cherry on top would be an orbital launch for Starship—Booster 7, with 8 and 9 waiting in the wings, is scheduled to conduct its long-awaited 33-engine static fire this week—although the likelihood of a launch happening in December seems faint due to the need for an FAA launch license.


News in brief. CAPSTONE has completed its series of maneuvers and is in its target near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) around the Moon, testing out the planned orbit for Gateway Russia launched the final GLONASS-M navigation sat For only the sixth time, we spotted an asteroid in space before it impacted the Earth—seven minutes later, the 1 meter-wide 2022 WJ1 streaked across the sky over Lake Ontario A Falcon 9 launched Eutelsat-10B to GEO, a comms sat which required expending the first stage—SpaceX’s oldest F9, in service since 2018 China plans to use its space station’s robotic arm to assemble a space-based solar power test satellite by 2028 China launched a Yaogan-36 EO satellite on a Long March 2D Terrestrial 3D-printing-for-construction company ICON won a $57M NASA SBIR Phase III award to continue development of their Project Olympus 3D lunar regolith printing system German startup Polaris’s 3.5-meter-long spaceplane demonstrator built for the German Armed Forces took its first flight An Indian PSLV took nine satellites to SSO—the primary payload was the 1-ton ocean-monitoring Oceansat-2, joined by four Astrocast IoT demonstrators, an EO camera tech demo from startup Pixxel, two amateur radio satellites, and a small EO satellite from Bhutan South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol announced plans for a domestic space agency—Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA)—with proposed lunar and Martian missions Shenzhou-15 took three Chinese astronauts to Tiangong, its first crew rotation where both crews are onboard the station at once.

Shenzhou-15 heading to Tiangong.


A recent Hubble image shows two galaxies connected by a luminous bridge of stars and dust known as a ‘tidal tail’. This pair is part of the trio, known as Arp 248 or Wild’s Triplet, and is cataloged in the well-named Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies.

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