SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.
First in a series
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.
Galactic Energy recently raised an additional 150 million yuan ($21.68 million) for the development of its Ceres 1 launch vehicle.
The latest funding round for the private Chinese launch provider was led by Puhua Capital and Huaqiang Capital and included six other investors, the company said. The round brings the total amount raised to 300 million yuan ($43.36 million).
Ceres 1 is a four-stage rocket designed to place payloads weighing 350 kg (772 lb) into low Earth orbit and 230 kg (507 lb) into sun synchronous orbit. The booster has a liquid upper stage atop three solid-fuel stages.
Galactic Energy said it aiming for a flight test of the new booster in the first half of this year. Engineers have completed test firings of the first three stages, the company added.