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.
|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 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|
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.