Weekly Space Recap: May 5 – May 11

Here are some of the stories you may have missed in the past week. The week, of course, featured a few Starlink launches, delays to Boeing’s first Crewed Starliner mission, Starship updates, and Polaris Dawn unveiling their new EVA suits.

SpaceX launched 23 Starlink satellites from Florida – SpaceX continued its Starlink constellation buildout, sending 23 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit using Booster 1069 which made its 15th successful flight and is already back and beginning its refurbishment process.

United Launch Alliance delayed the first crewed Starliner mission – ULA delayed the first crewed Boeing Starliner mission due to an upper-stage oxygen release valve that started having issues right when the Crew was being loaded into the capsule. The launch was initially delayed to the 10th but later delayed to no earlier than May 17th as ULA needed to move the rocket back to its integration facility to gain access to the valve to replace it. ULA this afternoon has now delayed the launch to no earlier than May 21st to allow for additional testing.

SpaceX kept up its pace with another Starlink launch – 23 more Starlink satellites joined the constellation after a successful launch from Launch Complex 39A using Booster 1083. It is likely this Booster’s next mission will be very important as it has been assigned the Polaris Dawn crew launch later this Summer.

Starlink satellites began their trip to orbit last week (Credit SpaceX)

Starship fires its engines up at Starbase – Starship 30 began its test campaign as it fired all 6 Raptor engines at sub-orbital pad B. This Starship will likely fly on the 5th Integrated Flight Test, potentially weeks after the 4th flight. This was also the last static fire of a Starship at the launch site, as it was demolished just days after the test. Future Starship testing will occur at the company’s Massey testing facility down the road.

Polaris Dawn EVA suits revealed—SpaceX unveiled the brand new Extravehicular Activity suits that will be used by the Polaris Dawn crew to conduct the first-ever commercial crew spacewalk. The spacewalk will see all four members exposed to the vacuum of space, the most ever at once in the history of spaceflight.

SpaceX launches more Direct-to-Cell capable Starlinks—Twenty Starlinks launched from California, 13 of which are Direct-to-Cell capable, to help eliminate cell dead zones in remote areas.

Dream Chaser Tenacity during testing at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility (Credit Sierra Space)

Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser space plane to be moved to Florida – The Dream Chaser space plane will soon be moved to Florida for integration onto ULA’s Vulcan rocket. This is a vital mission as it will certify Vulcan for government missions, and officials are now pressing the company to either launch this mission or even use a mass simulator if Dream Chaser isn’t ready.

The world also experienced a major Solar storm over the weekend with SpaceX reporting that all of their satellites weathered the storm and are operating nominally.

Questions or comments? Shoot me an email at rangle@teslarati.com, or Tweet me @RDAnglePhoto.

Richard Angle: Launch journalist, specializing in launch photography. Based on the Space Coast, a short drive from Cape Canaveral and the SpaceX launch pads.
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