Ariane 5 lifts off from French Guiana. Credit: Arianespace
There's been a salvo of international space launches since the NASA spacewalk emergency. As far as satellite launches go, the most recent was Thursday's (July 25) launch of an Ariane 5 rocket by the European Space Agency. Lifting off from the site in French Guiana, the rocket placed the 6 and a half ton Alphasat 1-XL satellite into orbit. The Alphasat is a new and larger satellite chassis that will allow ESA to place larger and more powerful communications satellites into space. Along for the ride, was smaller satellite INSAT-3D, a weather satellite for India.
There goes another Atlas 5, from Cape Canaveral AFS. Credit: John Studwell/AmericaSpace.
The Atlas 5 just keeps on going... Saturday July 20 saw the venerable rocket liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida with the Navy's MUOS-2 communications satellite. The launch occurred from Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) after a slight upper winds delay. This was number 2 of a planned series of 5 MUOS satellites. The United Launch Alliance (ULA), which operated the launch for the military, claimed that this was the heaviest satellite taken up by the Atlas 5 so far. ULA has another rocket launch coming up in 3 weeks.
Blastoff of the Long March 4C from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Credit: Xinhua.
China is always busy launching satellites these days. On Saturday July 20, A long MArch 4C rocket carried 3 satellites into space, testing technology for maintenance in space and other experiments. On Monday July 15 a Long March 2C had blasted off, this time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and carried a satellite that included scientific, and possibly military, experiments.