With the success of the Long Match five flights, the world’s space launch missions this year have all come to an end. According to statistics, including a pre-launch explosion in Iran, a total of 103 space launches were conducted worldwide in 2019. That’s down from 114 in 2018, but it’s the second year in a row that the number of space launches worldwide has passed 100. Looking further ahead, the last time the number of global space launches over 100 is 1990. There were 121 launches worldwide that year, including 79 for the unbroken Soviet Union, 27 for the United States and five for China.
Of those 103 launches, China accounted for 34, Russia 25 (including three soyuz launches in Kourou), the United States 21, Europe 6 (excluding the Soyuz’s 3 launches in Kourou), India 6, New Zealand 6, Iran 3 and Japan 2. It should also be noted that the launch in New Zealand was made using an “electronic” rocket from Rocket Labs, which has dual New Zealand and United States citizenship. The launches carried a total of 505 payloads, of which 190 were cubic stars and other small satellites weighing less than 10 kg.
Including Iran’s pre-launch explosion, there have been six launches worldwide this year (3 in Iran, 2 in China, one in Europe) and one partial failure (Russia). These failures resulted in the scrapping of six payloads.
Of the 114 launches in 2018, China accounted for 39, the United States 31, Russia 20 (including three soyuz launches in Kourou), 8 in Europe (excluding the Soyuz’s 3 launches in Kourou), India 7, Japan 6 and New Zealand 3. There were two launch failures and one partial failure throughout the year.
As can be seen, China, the United States, Europe, Japan and India all reported a different degree of reduction in the number of launches compared to 2018, while Russia and New Zealand increased. Iran, which did not launch in 2018, made three attempts in 2019, all of which ended in failure (including a pre-fire explosion).
The U.S. has 21 launches a year, 10 fewer than the previous year. Of those 21 launches, Space Exploration accounted for 13, including the Falcon 9 for 11 and the Heavy Falcon two times. The company completed 21 launches in 2018 and 18 in 2017. The move of Starlink’s low-track broadband constellation to a dense network is likely to lead to a significant increase in the number of launches by 2020. Shortwell, the company’s president and chief operating officer, said earlier this month that the company could conduct 35 to 38 launches next year, including 14 or 15 non-Starlink network launches.
Rocket Lab’s 2020 launch could be further accelerated in the hot small delivery market. After the opening of the new launch site in Virginia this month, the company announced that work on a second launch pad would begin at the original New Zealand launch site. The company plans to launch once a month in 2020, which will eventually lead to weekly launches, according to the company’s chief executive. To speed up the launch, the company is also trying to recycle and reuse the first stage of the rocket.
It can be expected that, with many new models of rockets, especially small delivery projects into the test flight and activation phase, coupled with a number of Constellation project network deployment, the global space launch activities will become more active after 2020, the number of launches will break 100 or will lose suspense from, The necessity and urgency of space traffic management will arouse high concern.
In other words, there are many measures of strength and level, and the number of launches is only one of the best summary and comparison, but it does not accurately reflect the whole picture. The lead in the number of launches is certainly a “good thing”, but improving rocket launch capability and technology level, to meet the needs of the present and future development is the fundamental “big thing”.