A human spaceflight mission and several rocket launches are scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 4, 2022. The Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) launched a satellite towards Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) on Thursday at 8:40 am IST. Aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab launched a spy satellite towards low-Earth orbit on Thursday at 10:30 am IST. A total of five spaceflight launches will be completed by the end of the day.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will be launching its sixth crewed mission and third space tourism flight of 2022 on Thursday. American spacecraft launch services provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the CASC will be launching their individual rockets into space on August 4.
Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon Inventory Satellite (TECIS)
The CASC, the main contractor for the Chinese Space Program, launched the Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon Inventory Satellite (TECIS) towards Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) on Thursday, August 4 at 8:40 am IST.
The satellite was launched as a payload atop the Chinese orbital launch vehicle Long March 4B, from Launch Complex 9 (LC-9), Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, People’s Republic of China. This is the 93rd orbital launch mission of 2022.
It is the 46th mission for the Long March 4B launch vehicle, and the rocket’s first mission of the year.
The Earth Science mission is intended to evaluate forest biomass, detect photosynthetic fluorescence, and measure atmospheric aerosol content. The measurements made by TECIS will contribute to efforts to combat global warming, according to nextspaceflight.com.
The satellite carries four instruments, and will operate in a Sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 506 kilometres. The instruments carried by the satellite are: Multi-Beam LIDAR, Directional Multi-Spectral Camera, Directional Polarization Camera, and Chlorophyll Fluorescence Hyper-Spectral Monitor (SIFIS). It has a mission life of eight years.
Antipodean Adventure (NROL-199)
Rocket Lab’s Antipodean Adventure (NROL-199) mission was launched on August 4 at 10:30 am IST. The NROL-199 mission, also called RASR-4 (Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket-4), is a classified mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), an agency of the United States Department of Defense.
NROL-199 is a spy satellite launched atop a Rocket Lab Electron towards Low-Earth orbit (LEO). The Electron rocket is powered by a liquid-propellant engine named Curie.
The classified NRO mission was launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex-1B, Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand.
The Antipodean Adventure mission is the 94th launch orbital mission of 2022. RASR-4 is Rocket Lab’s 29th mission, and also its sixth mission for the year. Antipodean Adventure is Electron rocket’s 29th mission as well.
NROL-99 is the second of two back-to-back Electron missions for the NRO, according to Rocket Lab. Wise One Looks Ahead (NROL-162) was the first of these missions, and was successfully launched from Launch Complex 1 on July 13, 2022.
The Antipodean Adventure mission has launched a national security payload which is designed, built, and operated by the NRO in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence. The payload was made as part of a broad change of cooperative satellite activities with Australia.
The role of the payload is to provide critical information to government agencies and decision makers monitoring international issues.
The Antipodean Adventure and Wise One Looks Ahead missions are a demonstration of responsive launch under NRO’s RASR contract for launching small satellites through a streamlined, commercial approach. The NROL-199 and NROL-162 missions are the third and fourth missions contracted to Rocket Lab by NRO under the RASR contract, respectively.
In early 2020, NROL-151 (RASR-1) was launched into space on an Electron rocket. The mission was followed by the launch of RASR-2 on an Electron rocket in June 2020.
The SBIRS GEO-6 mission is scheduled to launch on August 4 at 3:59 pm IST. The United Launch Alliance will be launching the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The satellite will be launched atop an Atlas V 421 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, USA.
According to nextspaceflight.com, Atlas V will fly to the east as it heads to a geostationary transfer orbit. People living in central Florida can watch the launch just before sunrise, and can expect a spectacular view.
The SBIRS GEO-6 mission is the 95th orbital launch attempt of 2022. It is the ULA’s 152nd mission, and the launch service provider’s fifth mission of the year. SBIRS GEO-6 is Atlas V’s 95th mission, and its fifth mission for the year. SBIRS GEO-6 is the sixth SBIRS missile detection and early warning satellite for the US Space Force’s Space System Commands (SSC), according to the ULA.
The SBIRS spacecraft is equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors meant to protect the US 24/7. As ballistic missile threats proliferate around the world, the spacecraft will continue to serve as the “tip of the spear” for global missile warning, according to the ULA. The infrared sensors are meant to collect data that allow the US military to support ballistic missile defence, detect missile launches, increase situational awareness on the battlefield, and expand technical intelligence gathering.
SBIRS GEO-6 is built by Lockheed Martin, and is an enhanced space vehicle. It will ensure improved spacecraft power, propulsion, and electronics, and provide greater resiliency against growing threats.
The SBIRS is a consolidated system intended to meet the US’ infrared space surveillance needs through the first two to three decades of the 21st century, and is considered one of the highest priority space programmes of the nation, according to Lockheed Martin. The system uses infrared surveillance to provide early missile warning for the US military, and includes a combination of satellites and hosted payloads in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), and ground hardware and software.
According to NextSpaceflight, the SBIRS program is designed to provide key capabilities in the areas of missile warning, missile defence, and battlespace characterisation through satellites in GEO, HEO, and ground-based data processing and control. The ground software of SBIRS integrates infrared sensor programmes of the United States Air Force with new infrared sensors.
The launch can be watched live on the official YouTube channel of ULA.
Blue Origin’s NS-22
Blue Origin’s NS-22 is a suborbital spaceflight mission slated to launch on August 4, at 7:00 pm IST. The New Shepard spacecraft’s 22nd mission to space will carry Coby Cotton, Vanessa O’Brien, Mário Ferreira, Sara Sabry, Clint Kelly III, and Steve Young.
The crew will be launched into space aboard the RSS First Step spacecraft atop the New Shepard 4 (NS4) rocket. The lift-off will take place from Launch Site One, West Texas, Texas, USA.
After the powered performance by New Shepard’s booster, the NS-22 crew will experience roughly three minutes of weightlessness. After this, the capsule will begin to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere. Once the capsule is in low atmosphere, the parachutes will be deployed. The capsule will make a soft landing in the Texas desert.
NS-22 is Blue Origin’s 22nd mission and its third mission this year. It is also the 22nd mission to be conducted using the New Shepard rocket.
The launch of Blue Origin’s NS-22 mission will be streamed live on the official YouTube channel of the space firm.
Experimental Spacecraft Launch
The Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) will be launching an experimental spacecraft to space on August 4 at 10:00 pm IST. This is the CASC’s second mission for the day.
The Chinese reusable experimental spacecraft (CSSHQ), the first Chinese reusable spacecraft, was launched on September 4, 2020, atop a Long March 2F rocket. On September 6, 2020, CSSHQ successfully returned to an airbase at Lop Nur, a former salt lake located in the eastern fringe of the Tarim Basin in Northwest China.
On August 4, 2022, the same spacecraft is scheduled to be launched atop a Long March 2F rocket from Site 901 (SLS-1), Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China, according to NextSpaceflight.
The mission is the 96th orbital launch attempt of 2022. It is the 18th mission to be conducted by Long March 2F, and is the rocket’s second mission this year.
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