A Busy Summer in Space

Commentary by Michael Mackowski

As the summer temperatures rise, activity at the planet’s space launch sites is also heating up. Here are just a few of the more interesting missions planned over the rest of the year. I do not list commercial or science missions unless it involves a new vehicle. Half of this list are in the next three months and are notable since they are related to crews going to orbit or commercial space developments. I have highlighted ISS-related flights in blue.  It looks like a lot of traffic there.

Date Provider Launcher Payload Launch site Comments
Sept 5 SpaceX Falcon 9 Cassiope Vandenberg First satellite payload
July 27 Russia Soyuz Progress 52P Kazakhstan ISS resupply
Aug 3 Japan H-2B H-2 Transfer Vehicle Tanegashina, Japan ISS resupply
Sept 12 Orbital Antares Cygnus 1 Florida COTS demo to ISS
Sept SpaceX Falcon 9 SES 8 comsat Florida
Sept 25 Russia Soyuz Soyuz ISS-36S Kazakhstan ISS crew rotation
Oct SpaceX Falcon 9 Thaicom 6 comsat Florida
Nov SpaceX Falcon 9 Orbcomm Florida
Nov 7 Russia Soyuz Soyuz ISS-37S Kazakhstan ISS crew rotation
Nov 20 Russia Soyuz Progress 53P Kazakhstan ISS resupply
Dec 8 Orbital Antares Cygnus 2 Florida CRS-1 ISS resupply
Dec 9 SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-3 Dragon Florida 3rd resupply mission
2014 SpaceX Falcon Heavy Demo

It will be especially interesting to see how the commercial transportation providers perform. Orbital Sciences has their first Antares/Cygnus mission to the International Space Station coming up next month and SpaceX has several commercial launches set. SpaceX will also be flying a Falcon 9 with upgraded rocket engines which will be very important for their future plans.

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