July ended with an Indian orbital launch, the fifth of the year. It was preceded by another SpaceX success, the fifty-first in seven months!
India in the top four
On July 30, sixteen days after sending the Chandrayaan 3 mission to the Moon, India proceeded to launch an Earth observation radar satellite, DS-Sar, and six microsatellites on behalf of the UK and Singapore, using a PSLV-CA medium launcher operated from the barrier island of Sriharikota, in the southeast of the country.
This was the fifth launch of the year for Isro, the national space agency, which is consolidating its position as the world's fourth-largest player in 2023, behind the United States (57 launches, including 6 from New Zealand), China (30) and Russia (9).
Largest satellite placed in GTO
The day before, SpaceX completed its... 51st orbital mission of the year, placing the EchoStar 24 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, on behalf of the American company EchoStar.
With over 9 tons on the balance at liftoff, EchoStar 24 appears to be the largest satellite in its class ever placed into GTO orbit.
For the occasion, SpaceX used its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle (with two used side stages, successfully recovered at the end of the mission), for the third time this year.
To which we must therefore add 48 Falcon 9 (of which only 3 with new first stages) and an (unsuccessful) attempt at orbital flight of the Starship.
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