After months of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Arianespace scrubbed back-to-back Vega launch attempts Saturday and Sunday due to unfavorable high-altitude winds over the European-run Guiana Space Center in South America. The Vega rocket is awaiting launch on a rideshare mission carrying 53 small satellites into orbit for 21 customers in 13 countries.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket took off at 1:12 a.m. EDT (0512 GMT) Saturday carrying five payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office, NASA and the University of New South Wales at Canberra in Australia. The launch was the first for Rocket Lab since January due to delays related to the coronavirus pandemic.
SpaceX launched the next group of satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network Wednesday at 9:25 p.m. EDT (0125 GMT Thursday) from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The satellites rode into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage flown on four previous missions, and the booster made a successful fifth landing on a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX conducted a final Launch Readiness Review on Monday ahead of the scheduled liftoff Wednesday of NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Launch remains set for 4:33:33 p.m. EDT (2033:33 GMT) Wednesday, weather permitting.
Five days after launching from Japan, an HTV supply ship arrived Monday at the International Space Station. Capture of the HTV with the station’s robotic arm occurred at 8:13 a.m. EDT (1213 GMT). It’s the last cargo mission to the space station before the arrival of two NASA astronauts on the first crewed U.S. flight to the orbiting research facility since 2011.