Who’s launching what in January?

The launch schedule for January, hopefully this will be more successful than last month where a few launches were postponed until this month for various reasons.

Join us in Wairarapa
for stargazing

Or, be an armchair astronomer

If you can’t make it to Wairarapa or New Zealand,  learn astronomy online with us and SLOOH. 

Love this photo? Take your own!

Also check out our favourite astrophotography guide

Learn from 
award-winning photographer Alex Conu

There’s a lot of launches happening in January from a range of launch companies and countries. Just like December, things probably won’t go to plan with technical glitches and weather. This month there’s a few radar imaging satellites being launched so looks like we might be able to get Synthetic Aperture Radar pictures a bit cheaper in the future with the competition heating up.

Who’s launching and when? SpaceX, 6 Jan sometime between 2pm and 4pm (NZDT)

What are they launching? They’re launching the Zuma satellite, no other details are available. This was supposed to be launched in 2017 but was held up for various reasons.

Where from? From pad 40 at Cape Canaveral

What’s the rocket? The rocket is SpaceX Falcon 9. The plan is to recover the first stage and reuse it.

Who’s launching and when? CASC in China, sometime in January

What are they launching? The Beijing Space View Technology Company has produced two earth observation satellites that will provide imagery to commercial customers called Super View 1. The satellites are supposed to collect imagery about 0.5m in resolution. They will orbit at 530km and provide panochromatic images as well as images in four bands of blue, green, red and near infrared. This launch will complete the constellation of four earth observation satellites.

Where from? Taiyuan in China

What’s the rocket? Long March 2D (picture below from Wikipedia)

Who’s launching and when? Rocket Lab, sometime in January, delayed from planned launch in Dec 2017

What are they launching? The plan is to launch three CubeSats. Two of the small satellites are for Spire and are weather mapping and for ship tracking. The third satellite is for Planet and its function is Earth imaging.

Where from? Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

What’s the rocket? Electron (picture below from Rocket Lab)

Who’s launching and when? JAXA, sometime during January, was supposed to launch in December but got delayed.

What are they launching? They are launching the TRICOM 1R satellite which is a CubeSat that will receive and forward communications as well as take images. It’s a very small satellite, only 3kgs in weight with 116x116x346mm size dimensions.

Where from? Uchinoura Space Centre, Japan

What’s the rocket? SS-520-5. It’s basically a modified sounding rocket (see picture below from JAXA).

Who’s launching and when? United Launch Alliance, 10 January sometime.

What are they launching? Something they can’t talk about but it’s for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Where from? SLC-6 in Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

What’s the rocket? Delta 4 rocket, in medium 5,2 configuration with two boosters, the rocket being launched is one of the middle ones in very small picture below from United Launch Alliance

Who’s launching and when? Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO on January 11, at 4:58pm (NZDT)

What are they launching? This is a busy launch with two main satellites and a bunch of smaller payloads for various customers. The main payload is an Indian satellite for earth observation called CARTOSAT 2ER. ISRO stated it was the third satellite in the series of CARTOSAT 2, it seems this one could be a replacement for a problem with one of the previous ones. The other interesting satellite on this launch is the NovaSAR-S. This is built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in the UK and uses Synthetic Aperture Radar to produce images of the ground, regardless of weather. With three satellites they will be able to have coverage over the entire globe each day.

Where from? Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharitoka, India

What’s the rocket? PSLV – XL, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

Who’s launching and when? SpaceX, sometime in January

What are they launching? Elon Musk’s Cherry Red Tesla on the new Falcon Heavy rocket. This is the much anticipated test of the rocket that will be the biggest heavy launch rocket available, if all goes well. As for Musk’s car, it will traverse the Solar System in a heliocentric orbit similar to Mars for a few billion years.

Where from? LC39, where Apollo 11 was launched from, at the Kennedy Space Centre.

What’s the rocket? SpaceX Falcon Heavy, basically 3 Falcon 9 cores strapped together (photo tweeted by Elon Musk’s SpaceX).

Who’s launching and when? 17 Jan, 10am to 10:35am (NZDT) by JAXA

What are they launching? Another radar satellite called Asnaro 2. This satellite weighs 570km and will be used to take radar images of 10km swaths.

Where from? Uchinoura Space Centre, Japan

What’s the rocket? Epsilon 3 rocket (image from JAXA)

Who’s launching and when? 19 Jan, 1:40pm to 2:20pm (NZDT) by United Launch Alliance

What are they launching? The fourth Space Based Infrared System satellite for the US military.

Where from? SLC41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, US

What’s the rocket? Atlas 5 rocket (image from Wikipedia)

Who’s launching and when? ISRO, sometime in January

What are they launching? A GSAT 6A. This is an S-band communication satellite with an expected lifespan of 10 years, it has an 6m antenna that will be unfurled in orbit.

Where from? Salish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharitoka, India.

What’s the rocket? Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV 2)

Who’s launching and when? 26 Jan, 11:20am to 12:05pm by Arianespace

What are they launching? This launching two satellites, SES 14 and the Al Yah 13 communications satellites. A NASA payload is also going on the SES 14 to monitor the thermosphere.

Where from? Kourou, French Guiana

What’s the rocket? Ariane 5 (image from http://www.arianespace.com)

Who’s launching and when? 30 Jan, 2 SpaceX Falcon 9s

What are they launching? One satellite for Luxembourg for communications and another radar imager satellite, this time for Spain.

Where from? SLC40 Cape Canaveral, Florida and SLC4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

What’s the rocket? Falcon 9 (image from SpaceX).

Good luck everyone! (Launch information from www.spaceflightnow.com)