SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.
First in a series
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.
There were 27 orbital launch attempts with 26 successes and one failure during the first quarter of 2021. The United States accounted for nearly half the total with 13 launches behind nine flights by SpaceX.
by Douglas MessierManaging Editor China’s Long March 7A rocket made its first successful flight on Friday, placing a technology verification satellite into orbit nearly a year after the booster failed in its maiden launch. The booster lifted off at 1:51 a.m. from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China. The payload was the Shiyan-9 satellite, which will demonstrate new technologies. A variant of the Long March 7 rocket, the […]
A Chinese Long March 3B booster failed after launch on Thursday, destroying an Indonesian communications satellite and providing a spectacular nighttime light show for residents of Guam as debris burned up in the atmosphere. China’s Xinhua news agency said the Long March 3B’s third stage malfunctioned after launch from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The booster was carrying the Palapa-N1 geosynchronous communications satellite. The spacecraft was owned by Palapa Satelit […]
A Long March 7A booster failed after liftoff from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Monday, destroying a new technology verification satellite known as Xinjishu Yanzheng-6. Official Chinese news media acknowledged the failure of the new booster without providing any details concerning the loss. Very little is known about the lost payload. Long March 7A is an upgraded version of the two-stage Long March 7 booster that was successfully launched […]