Orbital Payload Launch
Orbital Launch Reports and Forecasts
The orbital space launch industry continued to evolve during 2017. The overall 2017 global launch attempt number, 91, nearly matched the global space launch industry’s . . .
After many years of conducting launch operations in more or less the same way, the orbital launch industry is experiencing substantial changes on some fronts. In December 2015, one U.S. company was the first to successfully conduct an orbital launch of satellites, then have the space launch vehicle’s (SLV’s) first stage return and land safely on the ground…
2013 was a fairly typical year for the global orbital launch industry, with ## launch attempts—slightly higher than the 2009–2013 average of ##. Of the ## orbital launch attempts in 2013, ## were successful. A launch is considered successful if its payload is deployed in an orbit that allows it to successfully complete its mission.
Global launch activity in 2012 was similar to activity during the previous five years in both the total number and the balance between commercial and non-commercial payloads. Throughout 2012, there were ## orbital launch attempts, all but ## of which were fully or partially successful.
From the launch of the Sputnik satellite on October 4, 1957, through the end of 2008, approximately ## orbital launches have occurred. These missions carried some ten thousand satellites, experiments, probes, landers, and other spacecraft on trajectories ranging from Earth orbit to missions beyond our solar system.
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The activities of three nations were responsible for nearly ##% of all of the world’s orbital SLV launches in 2015. Russia alone carried out ##% of the global orbital space launches, followed by the United States with a little more than ##%, and China with ##%. Compared to 2014, the number of orbital payload launches in 2015 dropped by ## to ##.
The table below shows each spacefaring nation’s space launch vehicle platforms active in the current year. Launch tracking and launch system information relies on various primary and government sources. The current year’s launch reliability shows the number of successful launches over the number of total launches for the year.
Orbital launch activity increased by ##% in 2011, rising to ## launches from a total of ## in 2010. Continuing a trend that began in 2004, Russia was the nation that conducted the most launches, with a total of ##. China followed with a total of ## launches, conducting ## more ## than the United States.
Launch vehicles can be grouped into two categories. The first consists of vehicles that can propel their payloads fast enough at a sufficient altitude to achieve orbit. A launch vehicle that is unable to place a payload in orbit, but can still carry a payload into space, is referred to as a suborbital launch vehicle.