China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

(more…)

Russia Eyes Advanced Replacement for Soyuz Booster

Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The Russian government owned Sputnik news service reports that officials are eyeing a replacement for the venerable Soyuz launch vehicle within seven years:

The first flying prototype of the new Soyuz-5 carrier rocket could be built by 2022, Alexander Kirilin, general director of Samara-based Progress rocket and space company, said.

“The Soyuz-5.1 is a medium-class carrier rocket with a launch weight of about 270 tonnes,” Kirilin said in an interview with RIA Novosti published Tuesday.

“It could replace the Soyuz-2 carrier rockets in the future,” he added.

Russia’s future Soyuz-5 carrier rocket will be equipped with advanced new engines using ecology-friendly fuel, according to Alexander Kirilin.

“One of the distinguishing features of the Soyuz-5 is the use of liquefied natural gas as fuel,” Kirilin said in an interview with RIA Novosti published on Tuesday.

Read the full story.