Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
Japan Launches Optical Data Relay Satellite

A H-2A rocket launched Japan’s first Optical Data Relay Satellite with laser communications capabilities on Sunday from the Tanegashima Space Center. The civilian-military spacecraft will relay data from Japan’s optical and radar-imaging Information Gathering Satellites as well as JAXA’s scientific spacecraft. JAXA’s Laser Utilsing Communication System (LUCAS) will use infrared technology to transmit data between the spacecraft and the ground. The H-2A rocket lifted off at 4:25 p.m. local time […]

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  • November 29, 2020
Japan Launches Reconnaissance Satellite

A H-2A rocket launched $272 million reconnaissance satellite for the Japanese government on Sunday. The booster lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan carrying the Information Gathering Satellite Optical 7 (IGS-Optical 7) spacecraft. The satellite will replace IGS-Optical 5, whose five-year on-orbit lifetime is expiring this year. The spacecraft was launched in 2015. It was Japan’s first launch of 2020 and the 35th success in a row […]

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  • February 9, 2020
Falcon 9 Launch Delayed Until Wednesday

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been delayed until Wednesday, Feb. 21. The launch had been previously scheduled for Feb. 16 and Feb. 18. The primary payload is the Paz satellite for Hisdesat of Spain. The spacecraft will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage. Elon Musk’s company will also launch […]

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  • February 17, 2018
China Launches Beidou Satellites, SpaceX Preps for Busy Launch Week

A Chinese Long March 3B booster successfully orbited two Beidou navigational satellites on Monday. The flight, which took off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, was the seventh orbital launch by China in 2018, leading all nations thus far. SpaceX also conducted a static fire of a Falcon 9 booster on Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket is set to launch Hisdesat’s Paz satellite on Saturday […]

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  • February 13, 2018
China Launches Satellite to Look for Signals of Earthquakes

China launched a satellite that will search for signals that could help scientists to predict earthquakes on Thursday. The China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite will study electromagnetic signals in Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere to determine if they can be used to predict earthquakes. The Chinese-led mission is being conducted in cooperation with Italy. The spacecraft was launched aboard a Long March 2D booster from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. It was the […]

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  • February 3, 2018
SpaceX Ruled Roost in 2017, Boosting U.S. to No. 1 in Global Launches

Falcon 9 carries the Dragon cargo ship into orbit. (Credit: NASA TV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX had a banner year in 2017, launching a record 18 times and helping to propel the United States to the top of the global launch table with a perfect 29-0 record. The U.S. total made up 32.2 percent of 90 orbital launches worldwide, which was an increase over the 85 flights conducted in 2016.

The 29 American launches were a leap of seven over the 22 flights conducted the previous year. This is the highest number of American orbital launches since the 31 flights undertaken in 1999. However, that year the nation’s launch providers suffered four failures whereas they were perfect in 2017.


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  • January 2, 2018
SpaceX to Close Out U.S. Launch Year on Friday

Heads up, SoCal! SpaceX is set to close out the year with a night launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday. The The Falcon 9 booster with 10 Iridium Next communications satellite is set to take off at 5:27 p.m. PST. It will be the company’s 18th launch attempt of the year and the 29th for U.S. launch providers. The SpaceX mission is one of six launches set for […]

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  • December 21, 2017
Launch Crews 3-for-3 Today

Launch crews in the United States, China and Japan are celebrating successful flights to start a busy launch week. China got things started by launching the Venezuelan Remote Sensing Satellite aboard a Long March 2D rocket from Jiuquan. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 followed up with an early morning launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The flight included the 17th successful landing of a Falcon […]

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  • October 9, 2017
SpaceX to Launch Comsats From Vandenberg on Busy Monday

Early risers in Southern California will be able to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch 10 Iridium Next communication satellites on Monday morning. The flight from Vandenberg is set to take off at 5:37 a.m. PDT (8:37 a.m. EDT/1237 GMT). The SpaceX mission will be the second of three launches planned for Monday and Tuesday. China is scheduled to launch a remote sensing satellite for Venezuela and Japan is planning […]

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  • October 8, 2017
Busy Stretch of Launches Coming Up

There is a busy schedule of launches for the rest of the month. Nine launches are on tap, including seven in the next week. SpaceX is planning three flights this month, including launches from Florida and California within two days next week. October 7 Atlas V Payload: NROL-52 reconnaissance satellite Launch time: 0759 GMT (3:59 a.m. EDT) Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida October 9 Long March […]

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  • October 6, 2017