The world is setting a new record for orbital launches this year. Let’s look at where things stand as we head into December.
Orbital Launches, 2022
The number of launches has accelerated throughout the year from eight in January to a high of 23 in October. There have been a total of 168 launches, with 162 successes, five failures and one partial failure. There has been an orbital launch every two days on average.
Orbital Launches by Nation, 2022
|Nation||Successes||Failures||Partial Failures||Total||Percentage of Total|
+ Includes Soyuz launch from French Guiana
U.S. companies have launched 80 times with 77 successes, two failures and a partial failure. China has launched 55 times with a single failure, followed by Russia with 22 successful launches. The rest of the world has combined for 11 flights, exactly half of Russia’s total.
Orbital Launches by Company/Agency, 2022
|Company/ Organization||Nation||Successes||Failures||Partial Failures||Total|
|China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.||China||47||0||0||47|
|Russian Strategic Rocket Forces||Russia||10||0||0||10|
|United Launch Alliance||USA||8||0||0||8|
|Indian Space Research Organisation||India||5||0||0||5|
|Korea Aerospace Research Institute||South Korea||1||0||0||1|
|Russian Aerospace Force||Russia||1||0||0||1|
|Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps||Iran||1||0||0||1|
+ Includes Russia Soyuz ST-B from French Guiana
^ Maiden launch of ZK-1A rocket
SpaceX has launched 54 times, which is one fewer than China’s entire output. The number of successful launches are the same because a Chinese company, i-space, suffered a launch failure. SpaceX has launched Falcon 9 rockets 53 times and Falcon Heavy once.
Six American companies and NASA have combined for 26 launches. Rocket Lab is in second place with nine launches followed by United Launch Alliance with eight. Astra Space launched three times with only one success. Northrop Grumman and Virgin Galactic launched two times apiece, while NASA and Firefly Aerospace have completed one launch apiece.
The government-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. has successfully launched its Long March family of rockets 47 times. China’s other eight launches were conducted by four companies.
- ExPace, a wholly owned subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), launched its Kuaizhou-1A small-satellite booster four times.
- Galactic Energy, a private company, conducted two launches of its Ceres-1 rocket.
- CAS Space, which is partially owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, launched the ZK-1A rocket on its maiden flight.
- i-space, a private company, failed in its only attempt to launch the Hyperbola 1 rocket.
Crewed Orbital Flights, 2022
|March 18, 2022||Soyuz-2.1a||Soyuz MS-21||ISS crew||Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, Sergey Korsakov|
|April 8, 2022||Falcon 9||Crew Dragon||ISS Ax-1||Michael Lopez Alegria, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe|
|April 27, 2022||Falcon 9||Crew Dragon||ISS Crew-4||Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, Samantha Christoferetti|
|June 5, 2022||Long March 2F||Shenzhou-14||Station crew||Chen Dong, Liu Yang, Cai Xuzhe|
|Sept. 21, 2022||Soyuz-2.1a||Soyuz MS-22||ISS crew||Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, Frank Rubio|
|Oct. 5, 2022||Falcon 9||Crew Dragon||ISS Crew-5||Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, Anna Kikina|
|Nov. 29, 2022||Long March 2F||Shenzhou-15||Station crew||Fei Junlong, Deng Qingming, Zhang Lu|
It’s been a busy year in human spaceflight with two permanently crewed space stations in orbit that have been visited by 24 individuals from seven nations.
The Axiom-1 mission made history by becoming the first fully private flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Former astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria flew American Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe to the orbiting laboratory. It is the first of a series of planned flights to ISS by Axiom Space.
Boeing flew its CST-100 Starliner on an automated flight test to ISS in May. The six-day mission ended with a landing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The successful flight paved the way for a flight test with astronauts next year.
China completed assembly of its first permanent space station with the launch of the Wentian and Mengtian science modules in July and October, respectively. Six taikonauts are currently occupying the station as the Shenzhou-14 and Shenzhou-15 crews conduct the first handover. (The station was left empty after the first and second crews returned to Earth.)
Launches by Location, 2022
|Launch Site||Country||Successes||Failures||Partial Failure||Total|
|Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport||USA||2||0||0||2|
|Mojave Air and Space Port||USA||2||0||0||2|
|East China Sea||China||1||0||0||1|
|Naro Space Center||South Korea||1||0||0||1|
|Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska||USA||1||0||0||1|
|Shahrud Missile Test Site||Iran||1||0||0||1|
* Includes launch of one Russian Soyuz ST-B rocket
Florida remains the busiest location in the world with 52 launches — 35 flights from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and 17 more from the adjoining Kennedy Space Center. Vandenberg Space Force Base in Florida is having a particularly busy year with 14 flights. U.S. launch provider Rocket Lab set a new record for launches from New Zealand with nine flights.
The Jiquan Satellite Launch Center leads all Chinese spaceports with 22 flights. There have been 13 launches from Xichang, 12 from Xichang and six from Wenchang. China also launched the Long March 11H from platforms in the East China Sea and Yellow Sea.
The Plesetsk Cosmodrome has hosted 13 Russian launches. Seven launches were conducted from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz rockets were also launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East and Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.