While the U.S. typically leads commercial satellite launches, China almost doubled its private missions in 2022—commercial payloads were 27% of the nation’s launches compared to 16% in 2021. Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. launched five batches of high-resolution imagery satellites for its Jilin-1 constellation and has deployed approximately half of its planned 138 satellites.
Space launch activity continued to grow rapidly in 2022, reaching a new high of 186 orbital launch attempts. Last year was filled with successes and had three fewer failures than 2021, even with 41 more attempts.
A flurry of military and intelligence satellite launches by rival powers this month came as the United States and two dozen partner nations wrapped up the largest global space defense wargame in history.
Russia launched what some leaders have described as a spy satellite for Iran and its own on-orbit snooping satellite Cosmos-2558, which is circling Earth in an orbit conspicuously close to a recently launched U.S. National Reconnaissance Office satellite, a Netherlands researcher confirmed.
Of the 55 commercial launches attempted in 2021, 31 occurred in the United States. Of these, 23 were carried out by SpaceX, all of which were successful. China and Russia each conducted nine commercial launches in 2021. All six Russian launches were conducted on the Soyuz launch vehicle, and all were successful.
The first six months of 2022 saw a record pace of space launches, matching the mark of 75 set in the first half of 1967. And through June 30, the year saw a record pace for successful launches, topping the mark of 70 set in 1984.
The Space economy hit $447 billion in 2021 and the pace of growth was expected to accelerate in 2022.
This interactive chart tracks 2021 launch attempts and shows that commercial launches have become the largest mission sector in the United States.
Seven nations conducted orbital launches in 2021, with China, the United States and Russia continuing a years-long lead in launch activity.
Successful launches soared past annual records in 2021 with 134, beating out the previous record of 128 launches, last met in 1984. Chinese launches grew by. . .
Since Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight around the Earth in April 1961, humans in pioneering new technologies and pushing the limits of what’s considered possible. This year ushered in a new era of human spaceflight when SpaceX became the first . . .