During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.
Ambitious launch schedules typically go awry when a rocket suffers a catastrophic failure that takes months to investigate and implement modifications to ensure the same accident doesn’t happen again. In the majority of cases, the failures involve a machine launching a machine. All that can be replaced, albeit at substantial cost.
Russia’s ambitious launch plans for 2022 fell apart due to a far more momentous and deadly action: the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision ruptured cooperation with the West on virtually every space project on which it was safe to do so. The main exception was the International Space Station (ISS), a program involving astronauts and cosmonauts that would be difficult to operate safely if Russia suddenly withdrew (as it indeed threatened to do).
Due to the invasion, Western partners canceled seven launches of foreign payloads in less than a month. The cancellations put Russia even further behind the United States and China in launch totals this year.
It was a busy first half of 2022 that saw 77 orbital launches with 74 successes and three failures through the 182nd day of the year on July 1. At a rate of one launch every 2 days 8 hours 44 minutes, the world is on track to exceed the 146 launches conducted in 2021.
A number of significant missions were launched during a period that saw more than 1,000 satellite launched. SpaceX flew the first fully commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing conducted an orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, China prepared to complete assembly of its space station, South Korea launched its first domestically manufactured rocket, and Rocket Lab sent a NASA mission to the moon.
PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Ministry of Defense PR) — On Saturday, February 5, at 10:00 (Moscow time) from the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Plesetsk Cosmodrome) in the Arkhangelsk Region, the combat crew of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces successfully launched a Soyuz-2.1a medium-class launch vehicle with a spacecraft in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — For the third year in a row, Roscosmos ensured trouble-free launches of spacecraft from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes. Russia has achieved the best indicators of accident-free launches in 5 years (about 97 percent) among the leading space powers (Russia, USA, China).
As of the end of 2021, 25 launches of space rockets were carried out, including 14 launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, 5 launches from Vostochny, 5 from Plesetsk and 1 from the Guiana Space Center.
PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — The space forces of the Russian Aerospace Forces held on Monday, December 27, 2021, the third test launch of the Angara-A5 heavy carrier rocket with the overall mass model of the payload from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the Russian Defense Ministry reported. A few minutes later, the orbital block separated from the third stage. Further insertion of the orbital block into the target geostationary orbit will […]
PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia, 25 November 2021 (Ministry of Defence PR) — Launched today at 4:9 a.m. (Moscow time) from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, the Soyuz-2.1B medium-class launch vehicle successfully put the spacecraft into orbit at the set time in the interests of the Russian Defence Ministry. All pre-launch operations and the launch of the Soyuz-2.1B space rocket (SR) took place in normal mode. The means of the […]
PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — The Aerospace Forces successfully launched the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The launch of the carrier rocket and the insertion of the Pion-NKS 1 naval intelligence satellite into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode. This is reported by the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
For Russia, 2020 was a mixed year in terms of launch. Once the world’s leader in sending payloads into space, the nation finished a distant third behind the United States and China with only 17 orbital flights. That figure was eight below the 25 launches in 2019, and Russia’s lowest number of the 21st century. The U.S. and China finished with 44 and 39 launch attempts, respectively.
On the bright side, 2020 was the second year in a row in which Russia did not experience a launch failure. That streak came after more a decade during which the Russian launch industry was plagued with multiple fmishaps.
SpaceX has announced that it is delaying the launch of its Transporter-2 rideshare mission that had been scheduled for Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to allow the launch team to make some additional checks. Reports say the new launch date will be no earlier than Monday, June 28. Transporter-2 will deploy about 90 satellites into a sun synchronous orbit (SSO). The flight follows on the heels of the […]