2011 in spaceflight

The year 2011 saw a number of significant events in spaceflight, including the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle after its final flight in July 2011, and the launch of China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, in September. A total of 84 orbital launches were conducted over the course of the year, of which 78 were successful. Russia, China and the United States conducted the majority of the year's orbital launches, with 35, 19 and 18 launches respectively; 2011 marked the first year that China conducted more successful launches than the United States.[1] Seven manned missions were launched into orbit during 2011, carrying a total of 28 astronauts to the International Space Station. Additionally, the Zenit-3F and Long March 2F/G carrier rockets made their maiden flights in 2011, while the Delta II Heavy made its last.

2011 in spaceflight
Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the Shuttle Landing Facility on 21 July 2011, completing the final mission of the Space Shuttle programme.
Orbital launches
First20 January
Last28 December
Total84
Successes78
Failures6
Catalogued80
National firsts
Satellite Isle of Man
Rockets
Maiden flightsZenit-3F
Long March 2F/G
Atlas V 541
RetirementsSpace Shuttle
Delta II Heavy
Crewed flights
Orbital7
Total travellers28
EVAs10

Overview of orbital spaceflight

A total of 84 orbital launches were attempted in 2011, with 78 being reported as successful; 80 launches reached orbit. 35 launches were conducted using Russian and former Soviet rockets, whilst China launched 19 rockets, and the United States launched 18. Europe conducted five launches, India and Japan launched three rockets each, and Iran conducted one launch.

Manned launches

Seven manned spaceflights – four Soyuz and three Space Shuttle missions – were launched in 2011, carrying a total of 28 astronauts and cosmonauts into orbit. At the beginning of the year, the Expedition 26 crew was aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The first manned flight of 2011 was STS-133, the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 24 February. STS-133 carried Leonardo, the final American pressurised module of the ISS, for installation. Discovery returned to Earth on 9 March.

On 16 March, Expedition 27 began aboard the ISS with the departure of the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft, which had been docked since October 2010. On 4 April, Soyuz TMA-21 launched to the space station, delivering a further three crewmembers. On 16 May, Space Shuttle Space Shuttle Endeavour launched to the station on its final mission, STS-134, delivering and installing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, before returning to Earth on 1 June. Expedition 28 began aboard the ISS on 23 May with the departure of Soyuz TMA-20, which had been launched in December 2010, and landed in the early morning of 24 May. Three more crewmembers were launched to the space station aboard Soyuz TMA-02M on 7 June.

The final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135, began on 8 July with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, carrying supplies for the ISS aboard the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM). After resupplying the space station, Atlantis returned to Earth, landing at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility at 09:57 UTC on 21 July, and concluding thirty years of Space Shuttle operations. Two days before landing, Atlantis deployed PSSC-2, the last satellite to be launched from a Space Shuttle.

On 29 September, China launched its first space station module, Tiangong-1, which was placed into orbit by a Long March 2F/G carrier rocket flying from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. Although no manned missions to Tiangong-1 were conducted in 2011, the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft, which was launched on 31 October, docked twice with the module to test its systems in preparation for a successful 2012 manned docking.

ISS Expedition 28 ended, and Expedition 29 began, with the undocking of Soyuz TMA-21 on 16 September. The launch of Soyuz TMA-22 did not take place until 14 November, having been delayed by reliability concerns surrounding the Soyuz rocket after an unmanned launch failure in August. A week later, Soyuz TMA-02M undocked, beginning Expedition 30, with the Soyuz spacecraft landing on 22 November. The final manned launch of the year took place on 21 December, when Soyuz TMA-03M was launched to bring a further three crewmembers to the ISS.

Ten spacewalks were conducted in 2011, all of them by ISS or Space Shuttle astronauts. The final spacewalk by a Space Shuttle crew was conducted on 27 May, during the STS-134 mission.

Unmanned exploration

Numerous scientific exploration missions were begun in 2011. In March 2011, the MESSENGER probe became the first artificial satellite of the planet Mercury. In July, the Dawn spacecraft became the first artificial satellite of the asteroid 4 Vesta. The Mars Science Laboratory – at the time, the largest Mars rover ever constructed – was launched in November, conducting a successful landing on Mars in August 2012.[2]

Launch failures

Six orbital launches failed in 2011, four of which failed to achieve orbit and the remaining two reached lower orbits than expected. The first failure occurred on 1 February, when a Rokot with a Briz-KM upper stage placed Kosmos 2470 into a useless orbit, from which it could not recover. The failure was later traced to a software problem on the Briz-KM.

The next failure occurred on 4 March, when the payload fairing of a Taurus-XL failed to separate, resulting in the rocket being too heavy to reach orbit. The Glory climate research satellite was lost in the failure, along with the KySat-1, Hermes and Explorer-1 [PRIME] CubeSats. The previous Taurus-XL launch, carrying the Orbiting Carbon Observatory in February 2009, also failed due to the fairing not separating.

No more launch failures occurred until mid-August when, over the space of a week, three consecutive orbital launches failed. On 17 August, a Proton-M/Briz-M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the Ekspress-AM4 communications satellite. In the morning of 18 August, the rocket's upper stage failed to conduct the fourth of five planned burns due to an attitude control system malfunction, leaving the spacecraft in a parking orbit. Later that same day, a Long March 2C launched from Jiuquan carrying the Shijian XI-04 satellite. The second stage vernier engine's mounting suffered a structural failure, resulting in a loss of control, and the rocket failed to reach orbit. Finally, on 24 August, a Soyuz-U carrying the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station suffered a third-stage engine failure and also failed to attain orbit.

The final launch failure of 2011 occurred on 23 December, when a Soyuz-2-1b/Fregat carrying the Meridian 5 satellite failed to achieve orbit due to a third-stage malfunction. Debris fell over Novosibirsk Oblast, with one piece hitting a house; however, no casualties were reported.

In November 2011, Russia's Fobos-Grunt Martian sample return probe launched successfully, but experienced a malfunction post-launch and became stranded in orbit. The spacecraft, which was Russia's first attempt at an interplanetary mission since the 1996 Mars 96 mission, disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean on 15 January 2012.[3][4] China's first Mars probe, Yinghuo-1, which was being carried by the same rocket as Fobos-Grunt, was also lost in the incident.

Launches

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks

January

20 January
12:29:01
Zenit-3F Baikonur Site 45/1 Roscosmos
Elektro-L No.1 Roscosmos Geostationary MeteorologyIn orbitOperational[5]
Maiden flight of Zenit-3F.
20 January
21:10[6]
Delta IV-H Vandenberg SLC-6 United Launch Alliance
USA-224 (KH-11) NRO Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
NRO Launch 49, first Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg.[7]
22 January
05:37:57[8]
H-IIB Tanegashima LA-Y2 JAXA
Kounotori 2 (HTV-2) JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics30 MarchSuccessful
28 January
01:31:41
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress M-09M / 41P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics26 April
13:22:53
Successful
Kedr RKK Energia Low Earth Amateur radio4 January 2012[10]Successful

February

1 February
14:00
Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 VKS
Kosmos 2470 (Geo-IK-2 No.11) VKS Low Earth Geodesy15 July 2013[12]Launch failure
Upper stage malfunctioned due to problems with the flight software,[13] reached lower orbit than planned.
6 February
12:26
Minotaur I Vandenberg SLC-8 Orbital Sciences
USA-225 (RPP) NRO Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational[14]
NRO Launch 66
16 February
21:50[15]
Ariane 5 ES Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Johannes Kepler ATV ESA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics21 JuneSuccessful
24 February
21:53:24
Space Shuttle Discovery Kennedy LC-39A United Space Alliance
STS-133 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics9 March
16:57:17
Successful
Leonardo (PMM)[16] ASI / NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS assemblyIn orbitOperational
ExPRESS-4 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logisticsIn orbitOperational
Manned flight, final flight of Discovery.
26 February
03:07
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2471 (Glonass-K 701) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitSuccessful

March

4 March
10:09:43
Taurus-XL 3110 Vandenberg LC-576E Orbital Sciences
Glory NASA Intended: Low Earth (SSO) Climatology4 MarchLaunch failure
KySat-1 Kentucky Space Intended: Low Earth Technology demonstration
Hermes Colorado Intended: Low Earth Technology demonstration
Explorer-1 [PRIME] Montana State Intended: Low Earth Radiation
All payloads CubeSats except Glory, which would have been part of the A-train constellation. Fairing failed to separate.
5 March
22:46
Atlas V 501 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-226 (X-37B FLT-2) U.S. Air Force Low Earth Technology demonstration16 June 2012
12:48[17][18]
Successful
11 March
23:38
Delta IV-M+ (4,2) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-227 (SDS-3) NRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
NRO Launch 27

April

4 April
22:18:20[19][20]
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-21 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 27/2816 September
03:59:39
Successful
9 April
20:47:04
Long March 3A Xichang LC-3 CNSA
Compass-IGSO3 CNSA IGSO NavigationIn orbitOperational
14 April
04:24
Atlas V 411[21] Vandenberg SLC-3E United Launch Alliance
USA-229 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINTIn orbitOperational
USA-229 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINTIn orbitOperational
NRO Launch 34
20 April
04:42[22][23][24]
PSLV Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
Resourcesat-2 ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
YouthSat ISRO / MGU Low Earth (SSO) EducationIn orbitOperational
X-Sat CREST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
22 April
21:37[25][26][27]
Ariane 5 ECA[28] Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Yahsat 1A Yahsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
New Dawn[29] Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitPartial spacecraft failure
New Dawn's C-Band antenna failed to deploy.
27 April
13:05:21
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress M-10M / 42P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics29 October
13:00:31
Successful

May

4 May
17:41:33[30]
Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Meridian 4 VKS Medium Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
7 May
18:10
Atlas V 401 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-230 (SBIRS-GEO 1) U.S. Air Force Geosynchronous Missile defenseIn orbitOperational
16 May
12:56
Space Shuttle Endeavour Kennedy LC-39A United Space Alliance
STS-134 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics1 June
06:35
Successful
AMS-02[16] NASA Low Earth (ISS) Cosmic-ray observatoryIn orbitOperational
ExPRESS-3 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logisticsIn orbitOperational
Manned flight, final flight of Endeavour.
20 May
19:15[31]
Proton-M/Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Telstar 14R Telesat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitPartial spacecraft failure
Second solar panel failed to deploy due to tangled cable[32]
20 May
20:38[33]
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
ST-2 SingTel / Chunghwa Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
INSAT-4G/GSAT-8[35] ISRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

June

7 June
20:12:45
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-02M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 28/2922 November
02:26
Successful
10 June
14:20
Delta II 7320 Vandenberg SLC-2W United Launch Alliance
SAC-D CONAE / NASA Low Earth (SSO) OceanographyIn orbitOperational
Final scheduled flight of Delta II 7300 series; spacecraft carrying NASA's Aquarius instrument.
15 June
09:14[36]
Safir-1A Semnan LP-1 ISA
Rasad 1 ISA Low Earth Earth observation6 July 2011Successful
20 June
16:13[37]
Long March 3B Xichang LC-2 CNSA
ChinaSat 10 China Satellite Communications Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
21 June
14:38
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress M-11M / 43P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics1 September
10:21:41
Successful
27 June
16:00[38]
Soyuz-U Plesetsk Site 16/2 VKS
Kosmos 2472 (Kobalt-M No.7) VKS Low Earth Reconnaissance24 OctoberSuccessful
30 June
03:09
Minotaur I MARS LP-0B Orbital Sciences
USA-231 (ORS-1) ORSO Low Earth Earth observation12 March 2018[40]Successful

July

6 July
04:28[41]
Long March 2C Jiuquan SLS-2 CNSA
Shijian XI-03 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
8 July
15:29
Space Shuttle Atlantis Kennedy LC-39A United Space Alliance
STS-135 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics21 July 2011
09:57
Successful
Raffaelo MPLM NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logisticsSuccessful
PSSC-2 U.S. Air Force Low Earth Technology demonstration8 DecemberSuccessful
Manned flight, final flight of Atlantis and of Space Shuttle programme.
11 July
15:41[42][43]
Long March 3C Xichang LC-2 CNSA
Tianlian I-02 (1B) CNSA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
13 July
02:27[44][45]
Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Baikonur Site 31/6 Starsem
Globalstar M081 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M083 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M085 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M088 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M089 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M091 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
15 July
11:18
PSLV-XL Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
GSAT-12 ISRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
15 July
23:16
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
SES-3 SES World Skies (July–September)
SES S.A. (September—)
Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
KazSat-2 JSC KazSat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
16 July
06:41
Delta IV-M+ (4,2) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-232 (GPS-IIF-2) U.S. Air Force Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
18 July
02:31[46]
Zenit-3F Baikonur Site 45/1 Roscosmos
Spektr-R (RadioAstron) Roscosmos High Earth Radio astronomyIn orbitSuccessful
26 July
21:44[47]
Long March 3A Xichang LC-3 CNSA
Compass-IGSO4 CNSA IGSO NavigationIn orbitOperational
29 July
07:42[48]
Long March 2C Jiuquan SLS-2 CNSA
Shijian XI-02 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational

August

5 August
16:25[49]
Atlas V 551 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
Juno NASA Jovicentric Jupiter orbiterIn orbitOperational
6 August
22:52[50]
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Astra 1N SES Astra (August–September)
SES S.A. (September—)
Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
BSAT-3c / JCSAT-110R BSAT / JSAT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
11 August
16:15[51]
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-2 CNSA
Paksat-1R SUPARCO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
15 August
22:57[52]
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-2 CNSA
Hai Yang 2A CAST Low Earth (SSO) OceanographyIn orbitOperational
17 August
07:12[53]
Dnepr Dombarovsky Site 13 ISC Kosmotras
Sich-2 NKAU Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
NigeriaSat-2 NASRDA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
NigeriaSat-X NASRDA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Rasat TÜBİTAK Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
EduSAT GAUSS Srl Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
AprizeSat-5 exactEarth Low Earth (SSO) CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
AprizeSat-6 exactEarth Low Earth (SSO) CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
BPA-2 Hartron-Arkos Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitSuccessful
17 August
21:25[54]
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 Khrunichev
Ekspress AM-4 RSCC Intended: Geosynchronous
Achieved: GTO
Communications25 March 2012Launch failure
Briz-M upper stage failed before the planned fourth burn. An insufficient time slot was allocated for re-setting the gyroscopes of the upper stage control system before launch, which led to loss of adequate attitude control in flight.[55]
18 August
09:28[56]
Long March 2C Jiuquan SLS-2 CNSA
Shijian XI-04 CNSA Intended: Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration18 AugustLaunch failure
Failed to reach orbit. Second stage's vernier engine support structure failed in flight, led to loss of attitude control.[57]
24 August
13:00[58]
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress M-12M / 44P Roscosmos Intended: Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics24 AugustLaunch failure
Third stage engine failure 325 seconds after launch due to the gas generator fuel supply pipeline being blocked by contaminants.[59]

September

10 September
13:08:52[60]
Delta II 7920H Cape Canaveral SLC-17B United Launch Alliance
GRAIL-A (Ebb) NASA Selenocentric Lunar orbiter17 December 2012
22:28:51[61]
Successful
GRAIL-B (Flow) NASA Selenocentric Lunar orbiter17 December 2012
22:29:21[61]
Successful
Final launch of Delta II Heavy, final Delta II launch from Cape Canaveral, and last launch from SLC-17.
18 September
16:33[62]
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-2 CNSA
Chinasat-1A China Satcom Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
20 September
22:47
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 81/24 Khrunichev
Kosmos 2473 (Garpun #1) VKS Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
21 September
21:38
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Arabsat 5C Arabsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
SES-2 SES S.A. Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
23 September
04:36:50
H-IIA Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
IGS Optical 4 CSICE Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitSuccessful[63]
24 September
20:18
Zenit-3SL Ocean Odyssey Sea Launch
Atlantic Bird 7 Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
27 September
15:49
Minotaur IV+ Kodiak LP-1 Orbital Sciences
TacSat-4 U.S. Air Force Highly elliptical Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
29 September
13:16:03[64]
Long March 2F/G Jiuquan SLS-1 CNSA
Tiangong-1 CNSA Low Earth Space station2 April 2018
00:16[65]
Successful
Maiden flight of Long March 2F/G, first Chinese space station.
29 September
18:32[66]
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
QuetzSat 1 SES Satellite Leasing Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Intended for lease to QuetzSat.

October

2 October
20:15
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2474 (Glonass-M 742) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
5 October
21:00
Zenit-3SLB Baikonur Site 45/1 Land Launch
Intelsat 18 Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
7 October
08:21
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-2 CNSA
Eutelsat W3C Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
12 October
05:31
PSLV-CA Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
Megha-Tropiques[67] ISRO / CNES Low Earth ClimatologyIn orbitOperational
SRMSAT SRM Low Earth ClimatologyIn orbitOperational
Jugnu IITK Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
VesselSat-1 Luxspace Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
19 October
18:48
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
ViaSat-1 ViaSat-IOM / ManSat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
21 October[68][69]
10:30
Soyuz ST-B / Fregat-MT Kourou ELS Arianespace
Galileo IOV 1 ESA Medium Earth Navigation / Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Galileo IOV 2 ESA Medium Earth Navigation / Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
First Soyuz launch from Kourou.
28 October
09:48:01
Delta II 7920-10 Vandenberg SLC-2W United Launch Alliance
NPP NASA / NOAA Low Earth MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
E1P-U2 Montana State Low Earth RadiationIn orbitOperational
RAX-2 University of Michigan Low Earth AuroralIn orbitOperational
M-Cubed University of Michigan Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
DICE-1 Space Dynamics Laboratory Low Earth Magnetospheric researchIn orbitOperational
DICE-2 Space Dynamics Laboratory Low Earth Magnetospheric researchIn orbitOperational
AubieSat 1 Auburn University Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
30 October
10:11
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress M-13M / 45P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics25 January 2012Successful
Chibis-M (RS-39) IKI Low Earth Ionospheric research15 October 2014Successful
31 October
21:58:10
Long March 2F Jiuquan SLS-1 CNSA
Shenzhou 8 CNSA Low Earth (Tiangong-1) Technology demonstration17 November
11:36
Successful
Shenzhou-8-GC CNSA Low Earth (Tiangong-1) Technology demonstration2 April 2012Successful
Unmanned flight, first Chinese orbital docking.

November

4 November
12:51:41[70]
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 81/24 Khrunichev
Kosmos 2475 (Glonass-M 743) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Kosmos 2476 (Glonass-M 744) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Kosmos 2477 (Glonass-M 745) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
8 November
20:16
Zenit-2M Baikonur Site 45/1 Roscosmos
Fobos-Grunt Roscosmos Intended: Areocentric
Achieved: Low Earth
Phobos sample return15 January 2012Spacecraft failure
Yinghuo-1 CNSA Intended: Areocentric
Achieved: Low Earth
Mars orbiter
First Russian attempt at an interplanetary mission since 1996.[71]
First Chinese Mars probe
Spacecraft stranded in low Earth orbit, as telemetry was lost soon after launch and the two trans-Martian injection burns by the payload did not take place[72]
9 November
03:21[73]
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-2 CNSA
Yaogan 12 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
Tian Xun 1 Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration7 February 2016[75]Successful
14 November
04:14[76]
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-22 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 29/3027 April 2012Successful
20 November
00:15[77]
Long March 2D Jiuquan SLS-2 CNSA
Shiyan Weixing 4 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Chuang Xin 1C CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
25 November
19:10:34
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
AsiaSat 7 AsiaSat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
26 November
15:02
Atlas V 541 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) NASA TMI to Martian Surface Mars rover6 August 2012
05:18
Successful[2]
Maiden flight of Atlas V 541, largest Mars rover yet launched.
28 November
08:25:57
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2478 (Glonass-M 746) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
29 November
18:50[78]
Long March 2C Taiyuan LC-2 CNSA
Yaogan 13 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational

December

1 December
21:07[79]
Long March 3A Xichang LC-3 CNSA
Compass-IGSO5 CNSA IGSO NavigationIn orbitOperational
11 December
11:17
Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Baikonur Site 81/24 Roscosmos
Luch 5A Gonets Satellite System Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Amos-5 SCL Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
12 December
01:21
H-IIA Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
IGS Radar 3 CSICE Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance (radar)In orbitOperational
17 December
02:03:08
Soyuz ST-A / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Pléiades-HR 1A CNES Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
FASat-Charlie (SSOT) MDN Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
ELISA 1 CNES / DGA Low Earth (SSO) ELINTIn orbitOperational
ELISA 2 CNES / DGA Low Earth (SSO) ELINTIn orbitOperational
ELISA 3 CNES / DGA Low Earth (SSO) ELINTIn orbitOperational
ELISA 4 CNES / DGA Low Earth (SSO) ELINTIn orbitOperational
19 December
16:41[80]
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-2 CNSA
NigComSat-1R NIGCOMSAT / NASRDA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
21 December
13:16
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-03M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 30/311 July 2012
08:14[81]
Successful
22 December
03:26
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-2 CNSA
Zi Yuan 1-02C CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
23 December
12:08
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 VKO
Meridian 5 VKO Intended: Molniya Communications23 DecemberLaunch failure
Third stage engine malfunctioned 421 seconds after launch, failed to reach orbit; first launch conducted by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces
28 December
17:09
Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Baikonur Site 31/6 Starsem
Globalstar M080 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M082 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M084 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M086 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M090 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Globalstar M092 Globalstar Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

Suborbital flights

Deep space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
9 January Mars Express Flyby of Phobos Closest approach: 100 kilometres (62 mi). Mars Express made a total of 8 flybys of Phobos at a distance of less than 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) between 20 December and 16 January.
9 January Artemis P1 Spacecraft left LL2 orbit and joined Artemis P2 in LL1 orbit
11 January Cassini 3rd flyby of Rhea Closest approach: 76 kilometres (47 mi)[99]
15 February Stardust (NExT) Flyby of Tempel 1 Closest approach: 181 kilometres (112 mi). Observed changes since Deep Impact flyby and imaged crater created by Deep Impact impactor, as well as new terrain.
18 February Cassini 74th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 3,651 kilometres (2,269 mi)
18 March MESSENGER Hermocentric orbit injection First artificial satellite of Mercury; elliptical orbit with a periapsis of 200 kilometers (120 mi) and an apoapsis of 15,000 km (9,300 mi).[100]
19 April Cassini 75th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 10,053 kilometres (6,247 mi)
8 May Cassini 76th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,873 kilometres (1,164 mi)
8 June Chang'e 2 Departed lunar orbit Travelled to L2 Lagrangian point, which it reached in August 2011.[101]
20 June Cassini 77th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,359 kilometres (844 mi)
27 June Artemis P1 Lunar orbit insertion Initial orbital parameters were: apogee 3,543 kilometres (2,202 mi), perigee 27,000 kilometres (17,000 mi). Over the following three months, the orbit was lowered to an apogee of 97 kilometres (60 mi) and a perigee of 18,000 kilometres (11,000 mi), with an inclination of 20 degrees; retrograde orbit.
16 July Dawn Vestiocentric orbit injection First artificial satellite of 4 Vesta.[102] Initial orbit was 16,000 kilometres (9,900 mi) high and was reduced to 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi) until 11 August.
17 July Artemis P2 Lunar orbit insertion Initial orbital parameters were similar to Artemis P1. Over the following three months the orbit was lowered to an apogee of 97 kilometres (60 mi) and a perigee of 18,000 kilometres (11,000 mi), with an inclination of 20 degrees; prograde orbit.
25 August Cassini Second-closest flyby of Hyperion[103] Closest approach: 25,000 kilometres (16,000 mi)
12 September Cassini 78th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 5,821 kilometres (3,617 mi)
16 September Cassini Flyby of Hyperion Closest approach: 58,000 kilometres (36,000 mi)
1 October Cassini 14th flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 99 kilometres (62 mi)
19 October Cassini 15th flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 1,231 kilometres (765 mi)
6 November Cassini 16th flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 496 kilometres (308 mi)
12 December Cassini 3rd flyby of Dione Closest approach: 99 kilometres (62 mi)
13 December Cassini 79th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 3,586 kilometres (2,228 mi)
31 December GRAIL-A Lunar orbit insertion Twin satellite Grail-B's insertion occurred a day later, on 1 January 2012.

EVAs

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
21 January
10:05
5 hours
23 minutes
15:49 Expedition 26
ISS Pirs
Dmitri Kondratyev
Oleg Skripochka
Prepared the ISS Poisk module for future dockings.[104]
16 February
13:15
6 hours
23 minutes
18:15 Expedition 26
ISS Pirs
Dmitri Kondratyev
Oleg Skripochka
Installed a radio antenna, deployed a nanosatellite, installed two experiments and retrieved two exposure panels on a third experiment.
28 February
15:46
6 hours
34 minutes
22:20 STS-133
ISS Quest
Stephen Bowen
Alvin Drew
Removed a failed coolant pump and routed a power extension cable.
2 March
15:41
6 hours
14 minutes
21:55 STS-133
ISS Quest
Stephen Bowen
Alvin Drew
Removed or repaired thermal insulation, swapped out an attachment bracket on the Columbus module, installed a camera assembly on Dextre and installed a light on a cargo cart.
20 May
07:10
6 hours
19 minutes
13:29 STS-134
ISS Quest
Andrew Feustel
Gregory Chamitoff
Completed installation of a new set of MISSE experiments, started installing a new wireless video system, installed an ammonia jumper, a new light on the CETA cart on the S3 truss segment, and a cover on the starboard SARJ.
22 May
06:05
8 hours
07 minutes
14:12 STS-134
ISS Quest
Andrew Feustel
Michael Fincke
Hooked up a jumper to transfer ammonia to the Port 6 PVTCS, lubricated the SARJ and one of the "hands" on Dextre, and installed a stowage beam on the S1 truss.
25 May
05:43
6 hours
54 minutes
12:37 STS-134
ISS Quest
Andrew Feustel
Michael Fincke
Installed PDGF (except for data cable), routed power cables from Unity to Zarya, finished installation of wireless video system, took pictures of Zarya's thrusters and captured infrared video of an experiment in ELC 3.
27 May
04:15
7 hours
24 minutes
11:39 STS-134
ISS Quest
Gregory Chamitoff
Mike Fincke
Installed OBSS on S1 truss, removed the EFGF and replaced it with a spare PDGF, and released some torque on the bolts that were holding the spare arm for Dextre down against ELC 3. Final shuttle spacewalk.[105]
12 July
13:22
6 hours
31 minutes
19:53 Expedition 28
ISS Quest
Ronald Garan
Michael Fossum
Moved a failed cooling pump from the station to the shuttle Atlantis, transferred a robotic refuelling apparatus from the shuttle to the ISS, installed a materials science experiment on the station's truss, serviced a robot arm attachment fitting, installed a thermal cover over the unused docking port PMA-3, and fixed a protruding wire on a grapple fixture on the Zarya module.
3 August
14:51
6 hours
22 minutes
21:22 Expedition 28
ISS Pirs
Sergei Volkov
Aleksandr Samokutyayev
Launched Kedr satellite, installed BIORISK experiment outside Pirs, and installed laser communication equipment to transmit scientific data from the Russian Orbital Segment.

Orbital launch statistics

By country

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of orbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the rocket, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. For example, Soyuz launches by Arianespace in Kourou are counted under Russia because Soyuz-2 is a Russian rocket.

Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 China191810
 Europe5500
 India3300
 Iran1100
 Japan3300
 Russia292540Includes 2 Soyuz launches from Kourou.
Fobos-Grunt launched successfully, but failed while on its parking orbit.[106]
 Ukraine6600Includes 1 Zenit from Sea Launch and 1 from Land Launch.
 United States181710
World847860

By rocket

By family

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Ariane Europe5500
Atlas United States5500
Delta United States6600
H-II Japan3300
Long March China191810
Minotaur United States3300
R-7 Russia191720
R-36 Ukraine1100
Safir Iran1100
PSLV India3300
Space Shuttle United States3300Retired
Pegasus United States1010
Universal Rocket Russia10820
Zenit Ukraine /  Russia5500

By type

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Ariane 5 EuropeAriane5500
Atlas V United StatesAtlas5500
Delta II United StatesDelta3300
Delta IV United StatesDelta3300
Dnepr UkraineR-361100
H-IIA JapanH-II2200
H-IIB JapanH-II1100
Long March 2 ChinaLong March7610
Long March 3 ChinaLong March9900
Long March 4 ChinaLong March3300
Minotaur I United StatesMinotaur2200
Minotaur IV United StatesMinotaur1100
PSLV IndiaPSLV3300
Proton RussiaUniversal Rocket9810
Safir IranSafir1100
Soyuz RussiaR-710910
Soyuz-2 RussiaR-79810
Space Shuttle United StatesSpace Shuttle3300Retired
UR-100 RussiaUniversal Rocket1010
Taurus United StatesPegasus1010
Zenit Ukraine /  RussiaZenit5500

By configuration

By spaceport

10
20
30
40
China
France
India
Iran
Japan
Russia +
Kazakhstan
United States
International waters
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur Kazakhstan252320
Cape Canaveral United States7700
Dombarovsky Russia1100
Kourou France7700
Jiuquan China6510
Kennedy Space Center United States3300
Kodiak Launch Complex United States1100
MARS United States1100
Ocean Odyssey International waters1100
Plesetsk Russia6420
Satish Dhawan India3300
Semnan Iran1100
Tanegashima Japan3300
Taiyuan China4400
Vandenberg United States6510
Xichang China9900

By orbit

Orbital regime Launches Successes Failures Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Low Earth43394014 to ISS (7 manned) and 1 to Tiangong 1
Medium Earth7700
Geosynchronous/transfer292810
High Earth2110
Heliocentric orbit3300Including planetary transfer orbits

See also

References

  • Bergin, Chris. "NASASpaceFlight.com".
  • Clark, Stephen. "Spaceflight Now".
  • Kelso, T.S. "Satellite Catalog (SATCAT)". CelesTrak.
  • Krebs, Gunter. "Chronology of Space Launches".
  • Kyle, Ed. "Space Launch Report".
  • McDowell, Jonathan. "Jonathan's Space Report".
  • Pietrobon, Steven. "Steven Pietrobon's Space Archive".
  • Wade, Mark. "Encyclopedia Astronautica".
  • Webb, Brian. "Southwest Space Archive".
  • Zak, Anatoly. "Russian Space Web".
  • "ISS Calendar". Spaceflight 101.
  • "NSSDCA Master Catalog". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  • "Space Calendar". NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • "Space Information Center". JAXA.
  • "Хроника освоения космоса" [Chronicle of space exploration]. CosmoWorld (in Russian).
Generic references:

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