2013


2013 – India Launch, Payload

India conducted ## successful orbital launches in 2013, all using its indigenously designed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The ## flight, in February 2013, carried a French oceanography satellite along with a selection of microsatellites. The ## flight took place in July 2013, lofting an Indian navigation satellite into orbit.

Read More


2013 – Japan Launch, Payload

Japan successfully conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, placing a variety of payloads into orbit for domestic customers. In 2013, Japan also signaled that it intends to compete in the global commercial market.

Read More


2013 – Europe Launch, Payload

Europe conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, all of which were successful. The majority of these flights were made by Europe’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle, which deployed communication satellites as well as the fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) carrying cargo and fuel to the ISS.

Read More


2013 – China Launch, Payload

China’s launch rate in 2013 fell by ##% compared to the previous two years, when China set a national record for number of orbital launches. Of China’s ## orbital launch attempts in 2013, ## were successful and deployed a variety of military, civil, and crewed spacecraft. 

Read More


2013 – Russia Launch, Payload

Russia retained its position as the world’s most prolific orbital launch provider in 2013, a position that it has maintained since 2005. Although the Soviet Union was an extraordinarily prolific launcher, the difficulties caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union significantly curtailed Russian space activities for several years. Russia conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, of which ## were complete successes, ## total failure, and ## partial failure.

Read More


2013 – U.S. Launch, Payload

The United States had a relatively busy year in 2013, with a total of ## orbital launches, all of which successfully placed their payloads into orbit. This was consistent with the U.S. average annual rate of ## to ## launches per year over the past decade. The United States was the world’s second-most prolific launch country in 2013, a place it has historically occupied behind Russia, but one that it lost to China in 2011 and 2012. A slower Chinese launch tempo, combined with the ramping up of ISS resupply flights by the Falcon 9 and Antares rockets, were the main drivers behind the decrease in Chinese launch rates and increase in U.S. launch rates. 

Read More


2013 – Orbital Launch Reports and Forecasts

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.

Read More


2013 – China Launch, Human

China continued steady development of its crewed space program in 2013 with the launch of the Shenzhou 10 mission. Shenzhou 10 carried three taikonauts into LEO and docked with the Tiangong-1 space station prototype, where taikonauts spent two weeks conducting experiments and practicing docking maneuvers between the two craft. This was the longest Chinese space mission, and it also featured the second female taikonaut. At this stage in its space program, China is developing the techniques and technologies necessary for a more permanent presence in space, and hopes to begin construction of a multi-module space station by the end of the decade.

Read More


2013 – Russia Launch, Human

Russia operates the only crewed vehicle currently serving the ISS, and is expected to retain that monopoly through 2018, when the first flights of the new NASA-supported commercially developed vehicles are slated to begin. Russia’s current crewed spacecraft is the Soyuz, a vehicle that made its first flight in 1967 and has been upgraded several times in the ensuing 45 years. Advances in construction techniques and computer technology have resulted in a craft that is more maneuverable, lighter, and has a greater carrying capacity than earlier versions. 

Read More


2013 – U.S. Launch, Human

In 1962, the United States became the second nation after the Soviet Union to successfully orbit a crewed spacecraft. For thirty years, from 1981 to 2011, the crewed orbital vehicle of the United States was the Space Shuttle. However, following the Shuttle’s retirement and its subsequent final flight in July 2011, the United States has been without a crewed orbital launch capacity. This space transportation gap is expected to last until 2018. 

Read More