- Parabolic Arc
- September 28, 2023
Sixteen Orbital Launches Conducted in September
There were 16 orbital launches worldwide in September, averaging one liftoff every 45 hours. The month was tied with July for second highest total this year. There were 18 launches in August.
Chinese companies launched eight times, American companies six times, and Europe and Russia conducted one launch apiece. Russia’s launch of a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) was the highlight of the month.
|Date||Launcher – Organization||Payload – Organization||Purpose(s)||Launch Site|
|Sept. 2, 2022||Long March 4C – CASC~||Yaogan 33-02 – CAS+||Earth observation||Jiuquan (China)|
|Sept. 4, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||51 Starlink – SpaceX; SHERPA-LTC2 space tug (Spaceflight Inc.) with Boeing Varuna-TDM payload||Broadband, V-band tech demo||Cape Canaveral (USA)|
|Sept. 6, 2022||Kuaizhou-1A – ExPace||Centispace-1 S3 & S4 – Beijing Future Navigation Technology||Navigation||Jiuquan (China)|
|Sept. 6, 2022||Long March 2D – CASC~||Yaogan 35-05A, Yaogan 35-05B, Yaogan 35-05C – CAS+||Reconnaissance||Xichang (China)|
|Sept. 7, 2022||Ariane 5 – Arianespace||Konnect VHTS – Eutelsat||Geosynchronous communications||Europe’s Spaceport (French Guiana)|
|Sept. 10, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||34 Starlink – SpaceX, BlueWalker 3 – AST SpaceMobile||Broadband, Cell Phone communications||Kennedy (USA)|
|Sept. 13, 2022||Long March 7A – CASC~||ChinaSat-1E – China Satcom||GEO Communications||Wenchang (China)|
|Sept. 15, 2022||Electron – Rocket Lab||StriX-1 – Synspective||Earth observation (SAR)||Mahia Peninsula (New Zealand)|
|Sept. 18, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||54 Starlink – SpaceX||Broadband||Cape Canaveral (USA)|
|Sept. 20, 2022||Long March 2D – CASC~||Yunhai-1 03 – SAST||Meteorology||Jiuquan (China)|
|Sept. 21, 2022||Soyuz-2.1a – Roscosmos||Soyuz MS-22 – Roscosmos||ISS Crew||Baikonur (Kazakhstan)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Delta IV Heavy – ULA||NROL-91 – National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)||Reconnaissance||Vandenberg (USA)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Kuaizhou-1A – ExPace||Shiyan 14, Shiyan 15 – CAST*, SAST^||Technology demonstration, Earth observation||Taiyuan (China)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||52 Starlink – SpaceX||Broadband||Cape Canaveral (USA)|
|Sept. 26, 2022||Long March 2D – CASC~||Yaogan 36-01A, Yaogan 36-01B, Yaogan 36-01C – Chinese Academy of Sciences||Reconnaissance||Xichang (China)|
|Sept. 26, 2022||Long March 6 – CASC~||Shiyan-16A, Shiyan-16B, Shiyan-17 – CAST*, SAST^||Technology demonstration||Taiyuan (China)|
* China Academy of Space Technology (CAST)
^ Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST)
~ China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)
Launches for the year now total 126 when Firefly Aerospace’s successful launch of its Alpha booster on Saturday, Oct. 1 is included. There have been 122 successes and four failures.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) launched four different types of Long March boosters on six occasions. ExPace conducted two launches of its Kauizhou-1A rocket. The boosters launched 16 satellites, including:
- 6 reconnaissance
- 4 technology demonstration
- 2 Earth observation
- 2 navigation
- 1 geosynchronous communications satellite
- 1 meteorology.
Government-owned CASC is the prime contractor for China’s space program. ExPace is a fully-owned subsidiary of state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
Falcon 9’s four Falcon 9 launches carried 191 Starlink broadband satellites and two rideshare payloads into orbit. SpaceX has launched 1,465 Starlink satellites this year on 29 dedicated flights and one Transporter rideshare mission.
One Falcon 9 launched last month carried AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3, a test satellite for a constellation designed to connect directly with unmodified cell phones.
Another Falcon 9 flight carried Spaceflight Inc.’s SHERPA-LTC2 space tug with Boeing’s Varuna-TDM aboard as a hosted payload. Varuna-TDM is testing technology for a planned constellation of communications satellites.
United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV Heavy made its final flight from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The giant booster orbited the NROL-91 satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.
A Rocket Lab launched Synspective’s StriX-1 Earth observation satellite from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. It was the 30th Electron launch and the 150th satellite sent to space by the booster.
Russian and European Launches
Russia launched Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio aboard the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft for a six-month stay aboard ISS. Rubio was the first American astronaut to launch on a Soyuz spacecraft since Mark Vande Hei on Soyuz-18 in April 2021. U.S. astronauts have been flying on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.
Arianespace launched the Konnect Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS) for Eutelsat from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. It was the company’s third launch of a European rocket and fourth launch overall from the South American launch site in 2022. Arianespace conducted the launch of a Russian Soyuz ST-B rocket earlier in the year.
Launches by Spaceport
Florida remained the world’s busiest launch site last month with a total of four launches by SpaceX. The company conducted three launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and one from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. A total of 43 launches have been conducted from the adjoining spaceports.
ULA launched a Delta IV Heavy from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Thirteen launches have originated from the Golden State this year, including 11 from Vandenberg and two from the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Launches by Spaceport
|Launch Site||Country||Launch Vehicle(s)||September Launches||Launches YTD|
|Cape Canaveral||United States||Falcon 9||3||28|
|Jiuquan||China||Kuaizhou-1A, Long March 2D, Long March 4C||3||17|
|Taiyuan||China||Kuaizhou-1A, Long March 6||2||10|
|Xichang||China||Long March 2D||2||10|
|Wenchang||China||Long March 7A||1||4|
|Kennedy||United States||Falcon 9||1||13|
|Vandenberg||United States||Delta IV Heavy||1||11|
|Europe’s Spaceport||French Guiana||Ariane 5||1||4|
China conducted three launches from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center last month, with the Taiyuan and Xichang spaceports hosting two launches apiece. Another flight was conducted from Wenchang.
Rocket Lab has now equaled its record of seven Electron launches in a calendar year from Mahia. All launches this year have been successful. The company’s record in 2020 included six successes and one failure.
Launches by Booster
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched four times, bringing its total to 43 for the year. Long March 2D launched three times, with ExPace’s Kuaizhou-1A lifting off twice.
Launches by Booster
|Launch Vehicle||Company/Organization||Country||September Launches||Year to Date|
|Falcon 9||SpaceX||United States||4||43|
|Long March 2C, 2D, 2F||China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)||China||3||15|
|Soyuz 2.1a, 2.1b, ST-B||Arianespace, Roscosmos, Russian Aerospace Force (VKF), Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation (RVSN RF)||Russia||1||12|
|Long March 4C||China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)||China||1||8|
|Electron||Rocket Lab||United States||1||7|
|Long March 6||China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)||China||1||2|
|Long March 7, 7A||China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)||China||1||2|
|Delta IV Heavy||United Launch Alliance (ULA)||United States||1||1|
The two Kaiuzhou-1A flights doubled the total launches of the small-satellite booster for the year. The booster has a record of 16 successes and two failures.
Kaiuzhou-1A can place 300 kg (661 lb) into low Earth orbit, 250 kg (551 lb) into a 500-km ( 311-mile) high sun synchronous orbit (SSO), or 200 kg (441 lb) into a 700 km (435-mile) high SSO.
Launches by Nation
U.S. companies have accounted for 50 percent of the 126 launches conducted through Oct. 1. SpaceX has conducted 43 of the 63 American launches this year, followed by Rocket Lab with seven and United Launch Alliance with six.
China is in second place with 42 launches. The United States and China account for 105 launches or 83.33 percent of all orbital attempts in 2022.
Orbital Launches by Nation
Jan. 1 – Oct. 1 2022
|Nation||Successes||Failures||Total||Percentage of Total||Notes|
|United States||61||2||63||50||Includes Rocket Lab Electron launches from New Zealand; 2 Crew Dragon and 1 Cargo Dragon flights to ISS; CST-100 Starliner flight to ISS; first successful launch of Firefly Alpha; final flight of Rocket 3.3 (failure)|
|China||41||1||42||33.33||Crew, cargo and module launches to space station; Reusable Experimental Spacecraft flight; successful maiden flights of Long March 6A and ZK-1A boosters|
|Russia||13||0||13||10.3||Includes 1 Soyuz ST-B launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana conducted by Arianespace; 1 Soyuz crew and 2 Progress freighters to ISS; 1 successful maiden flight of Angara 1.2|
|Europe||3||0||3||2.4||Successful Vega-C maiden flight, 2 Ariane 5 launches|
|India||2||1||3||2.4||2 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle flights; Small Satellite Launch Vehicle maiden launch (failure)|
|Iran||1||0||1||0.8||Qased launch vehicle|
|South Korea||1||0||1||0.8||First successful launch of domestically produced orbital launch vehicle (Nuri)|
Russia has launched 13 times, accounting for 10.3 percent of the global total. Europe and India have launched three times apiece, and Iran and South Korea once each.
Japan has yet to launch this year. It is scheduled to launch an Epsilon rocket with eight satellites aboard on Thursday, Oct. 6 from Uchinoura Space Center.