The Year in Launches in Five Tables

The final Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. (Credit: ULA)

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
Through November

MonthSuccessesFailuresPartial FailuresTotal
Source: Wikipedia

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
Through November

NationSuccessesFailuresPartial FailuresTotalPercentage of Total
United States*77218047.6
South Korea10010.6
* Includes Rocket Lab launches from New Zealand
+ Includes Soyuz launch from French Guiana
Source: Wikipedia

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
Through November

Company/ OrganizationNationSuccessesFailuresPartial FailuresTotal
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.China470047
Russian Strategic Rocket ForcesRussia100010
Rocket Lab*USA9009
United Launch AllianceUSA8008
Indian Space Research OrganisationIndia5005
Astra SpaceUSA1203
Galactic EnergyChina2002
Northrop GrummanUSA2002
Virgin OrbitUSA2002
CAS Space^China1001
Korea Aerospace Research InstituteSouth Korea1001
Russian Aerospace ForceRussia1001
Islamic Revolutionary Guard CorpsIran1001
* Launches conducted from New Zealand
+ Includes Russia Soyuz ST-B from French Guiana
^ Maiden launch of ZK-1A rocket
Source: Wikipedia

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.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a Cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying more than 7,700 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies as part of the company’s 36th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on November 26, 2022. (Credits: NASA TV)

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
Through November

DateLaunch VehicleSpacecraftPurposeCrew
March 18, 2022Soyuz-2.1aSoyuz MS-21ISS crewOleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, Sergey Korsakov
April 8, 2022Falcon 9Crew DragonISS Ax-1Michael Lopez Alegria, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe
April 27, 2022Falcon 9Crew DragonISS Crew-4Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, Samantha Christoferetti
June 5, 2022Long March 2FShenzhou-14Station crewChen Dong, Liu Yang, Cai Xuzhe
Sept. 21, 2022Soyuz-2.1aSoyuz MS-22ISS crewSergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, Frank Rubio
Oct. 5, 2022Falcon 9Crew DragonISS Crew-5Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata, Anna Kikina
Nov. 29, 2022Long March 2FShenzhou-15Station crewFei Junlong, Deng Qingming, Zhang Lu
Source: Wikipedia

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.

The 11-person crew aboard the station comprises of (clockwise from bottom right) Expedition 67 Commander Tom Marshburn with Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, Sergey Korsakov, Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer; and Axiom Mission 1 astronauts (center row from left) Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe, Larry Conner, and Michael Lopez-Alegria. (Credits: NASA)

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
Through November

Launch SiteCountrySuccessesFailuresPartial FailureTotal
Cape CanaveralUSA342035
MahiaNew Zealand9009
Kourou*French Guiana4004
Satish DhawanIndia4105
Mid-Atlantic Regional SpaceportUSA2002
Mojave Air and Space PortUSA2002
East China SeaChina1001
Naro Space CenterSouth Korea1001
Pacific Spaceport Complex — AlaskaUSA1001
Shahrud Missile Test SiteIran1001
Yellow SeaChina1001
+ Russian launches under lease agreement
* Includes launch of one Russian Soyuz ST-B rocket
Source: Wikipedia

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.