China Launches 2 Beidou Satellites as Busy Launch Period Begins

China launched two more Beidou global navigation satellites on Saturday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The state-run Xinhua news agency said the launch aboard a Long March 3B aboard the Long March 3B booster was a success.

Not everyone was cheering the successful launch: the spent booster crashed into a village down range.

Three of the four Chinese spaceports launch over land. The Chinese government established the launch sites inland fearing a hostile foreign power might knock out coastal facilities.

For people living downrange of these launch sites, reusable boosters that touch down gently at designated locations can’t come soon enough.

The Chinese launch kicked off a busy period in which seven additional launches are scheduled in six countries through Dec. 4.

November 25

Soyuz 2-1v
Payload: Unspecified (Defense)
Launch Time: Approximately 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT)
Launch Site: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

UPDATE: LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY (NOV. 26)

Long March 4C
Payload: Unknown (Possibly Defense)
Launch Time: Approximately 6:50 p.m. EST (2350 GMT)
Launch Site: Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China

UPDATE: LAUNCH DELAYED

November 26

Ariane 5
Payloads: Inmarsat 5 F5 & TIBA communications satellites
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Launch Window: 4:08-5:53 p.m. EST (2108-2253 GMT)

UPDATE: LAUNCHED SUCCESSFULLY

November 26/27

PSLV
Cartosat 3 mapping satellite
Launch Time: 10:58 p.m. EST on Nov. 26 (0358 GMT on Nov. 27)
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, India

November 28

Electron
Payloads: ALE-2 microsat, 6 PocketQube picosats
Launch Window: 2:56-4:22 a.m. EST (0756-0922 GMT)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

ALE-2 is a Japanese satellite that will create an artificial meteor shower.

December 1

Soyuz
Payload: Progress 74P International Space Station resupply ship
Launch Time: 6:29 a.m. EST (1129 GMT)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

December 4

Falcon 9
Payload: SpaceX CRS 19 Dragon International Space Station resupply ship
Launch Time: 12:51 p.m. EST (1751 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida