2015 in spaceflight

In 2015, the maiden spaceflights of the Chinese Long March 6 and Long March 11 launch vehicles took place.

2015 in spaceflight
Highlights from spaceflight in 2015[lower-alpha 1]
Orbital launches
First10 January
Last28 December
Total87
Successes82
Failures4
Partial failures1
Catalogued83[lower-alpha 2]
National firsts
Satellite Turkmenistan
 Laos
Space traveller Denmark
 Kazakhstan
Rockets
Maiden flights
RetirementsDnepr-1
Crewed flights
Orbital4
Total travellers12
EVAs7

Overview

In February 2015, the European Space Agency's experimental lifting body spacecraft, the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, successfully conducted its first test flight.

In March 2015, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be visited by a spacecraft when Dawn entered orbit. In July 2015, New Horizons visited the Pluto-Charon system after a 9-year voyage, returning a trove of pictures and information about the former "ninth planet" (now classified as a dwarf planet). Meanwhile, the MESSENGER probe was deliberately crashed into Mercury after 4 years of in-orbit observations.

On 23 November 2015, the Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital rocket achieved its first powered soft landing near the launch site, paving the way for full reuse of its propulsion stage. On 21 December, the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Full Thrust took place, ending with a successful landing of its first stage.

Two old weather satellites, NOAA-16 and DMSP 5D-2/F13, broke up in 2015, creating several hundred pieces of space debris. In both cases, a battery explosion is suspected as the root cause.

Orbital launches

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

January

10 January
09:47:10
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SpaceX CRS-5 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply11 February 2015
00:44
Successful
Flock-1d' 1 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation13 October 2015Successful
Flock-1d' 2 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation27 December 2015Successful
AESP-14 ITA Low Earth Ionospheric research11 May 2015Successful
SpaceX attempted to land the first stage on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean, but the first stage crash-landed on its landing platform.[1] The AESP-14 CubeSat was deployed from the space station on 5 February 2015,[2] while the Flock-1 CubeSats were deployed on 3 March 2015.[3]
21 January
01:04:00
Atlas V 551 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
MUOS-3 US Navy Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
31 January
14:22:00
Delta II 7320 Vandenberg SLC-2W United Launch Alliance
SMAP NASA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
FIREBIRD II A Montana State Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
FIREBIRD II B Montana State Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
GRIFEX NASA / JPL Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ExoCube Cal Poly Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational

February

1 February
01:21:00
H-IIA 202 Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
IGS-Radar Spare CSICE Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
1 February
12:31:00
Proton-M/Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Inmarsat 5-F2 Inmarsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
2 February
08:50
Safir Semnan ISA
Fajr ISA Low Earth Technology demonstration26 February 2015Successful
11 February
13:40:00
Vega Kourou ELV Arianespace
IXV ESA Transatmospheric Technology demonstration11 February 2015
15:19
Successful
Vega's 4th stage briefly entered low Earth orbit before de-orbiting; thus it did not get a COSPAR ID. This marked the first flight of the IXV
11 February
23:03:32
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
DSCOVR NOAA Sun–Earth L1 Earth observation / HeliophysicsIn orbitOperational
First SpaceX launch aimed beyond GTO. First stage soft landed on water.
17 February
11:00:17
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Progress M-26M / 58P Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply14 August 2015
14:17
Successful
27 February
11:01:35
Soyuz-2.1a Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2503 (Bars-M 1L) VKO Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational

March

2 March
03:50:00
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
Eutelsat 115 West B Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
ABS-3A ABS Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First communication satellites to use all-electric propulsion to reach intended orbits from GTO.
13 March
02:44:00
Atlas V 421 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
MMS-1 NASA Elliptical High Earth Magnetospheric ResearchIn orbitOperational
MMS-2 NASA Elliptical High Earth Magnetospheric ResearchIn orbitOperational
MMS-3 NASA Elliptical High Earth Magnetospheric ResearchIn orbitOperational
MMS-4 NASA Elliptical High Earth Magnetospheric ResearchIn orbitOperational
18 March
22:05:00
Proton-M/Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 Khrunichev
Ekspress AM7 RSCC Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
25 March
18:36:00
Delta IV M+(4,2) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-260 (GPS IIF-9) US Air Force Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
25 March
22:08:53
Dnepr Dombarovsky Site 13 ISC Kosmotras
KOMPSat-3A KARI Low Earth (SSO) Earth imagingIn orbitOperational
Final flight of Dnepr-1 rocket, due to Russia-Ukraine conflict
26 March
01:21:00
H-IIA 202 Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
IGS-Optical 5 CSICE Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
27 March
19:42:57
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Soyuz TMA-16M Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 43/44/45/4612 September 2015
00:51
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts, including two on a year-long mission
27 March
21:46:18
Soyuz-STB / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Galileo FOC 3 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 4 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
28 March
11:49:00
PSLV-XL Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
IRNSS-1D ISRO Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
30 March
13:52:30
Long March 3C/YZ-1 Xichang LA-2 CASC
BeiDou I1-S CNSA Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
31 March
13:47:56
Rokot/Briz-KM Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 133/3 VKO
Gonets-M 11 Gonets Satellite System Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Gonets-M 12 Gonets Satellite System Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Gonets-M 13 Gonets Satellite System Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Kosmos 2504 VKO Low Earth Technology demonstration / Satellite inspection (?)In orbitOperational

April

14 April
20:10:41
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SpaceX CRS-6 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply21 May 2015
16:42
Successful
Arkyd 3 Reflight Planetary Resources Low Earth Technology demonstration23 December 2015Successful
Flock-1e × 14 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observationFirst: 8 February 2016
Last: 24 August 2016
Successful
First stage recovery failed; the rocket stage landed on the target drone ship too fast, tipped over, and exploded.[4]
All secondary payloads were deployed from an ISS airlock later. Arkyd 3 Reflight is a replacement for Arkyd 3, which was lost in the Cygnus CRS Orb-3 flight accident in 2014.
26 April
20:00:07
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Thor 7 Telenor Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
SICRAL-2 MDD/DGA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
27 April
23:03:00
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSAT Turkmen Telecom Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First Turkmen satellite.
28 April
07:09:50
Soyuz-2.1a Baikonur Site 31/6 Roskosmos
Progress M-27M / 59P Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply8 May 2015Failure
Spacecraft lost communications and attitude control soon after separation failure during launch.[5] International Space Station docking attempt cancelled.[6] Mission declared a total loss.[7]

May

16 May
05:47:39
Proton-M/Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Mexsat-1 SCT Geosynchronous Communications16 May 2015Launch failure
Proton third stage vernier engine failed at T+497 seconds due to turbopump shaft coating degradation causing excess vibration.[8]
20 May
15:05:00
Atlas V 501 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
AFSPC-5 (X-37B OTV-4) U.S. Air Force Low Earth Technology demonstration7 May 2017Operational
ULTRASat NASA Low Earth CubeSat DeploymentIn orbitOperational
Lightsail-A The Planetary Society Low Earth Technology demonstration14 June 2015
17:23
Successful
USS Langley U.S. Naval Academy Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
BRICSat-P U.S. Naval Academy / George Washington Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ParkinsonSat U.S. Naval Academy Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
GEARRS-2 Taylor Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
AeroCube-8A The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
AeroCube-8B The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
OptiCube 1 CalPoly Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
OptiCube 2 CalPoly Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
OptiCube 3 CalPoly Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
The X-37B spaceplane landed autonomously at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility after spending a record-breaking 718 days in orbit.[9]
27 May
21:16:07
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
DirecTV-15 DirecTV Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Sky Mexico 1 SKY Mexico Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

June

5 June
15:23:54
Soyuz-2.1a Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2505 (Kobalt-M) VKO Low Earth Reconnaissance18 September 2015Successful
23 June
01:51:58
Vega Kourou ELV Arianespace
Sentinel-2A ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
23 June
16:44:00
Soyuz-2.1b Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2506 (Persona) VKO Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
26 June
06:22:04
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Gaofen 8 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation / ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
28 June
14:21:11
Falcon 9 v1.1 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SpaceX CRS-7 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply28 June 2015Launch Failure
Flock-1f × 8[11] Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation28 June 2015Launch Failure
Vehicle disintegrated at T+139 seconds after second stage helium tank support strut failure caused helium tank to break through second stage tanks.[12] Attempted to deliver the IDA-1 segment of the NASA Docking System. CubeSats were to be deployed from the International Space Station at a later date. Planned first stage landing test not achieved.

July

3 July
04:55:48
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Progress M-28M / 60P Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply19 December 2015Successful
10 July
16:28:00
PSLV-XL Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
UK-DMC-3A DMCii Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
UK-DMC-3B DMCii Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
UK-DMC-3C DMCii Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
CBNT-1 SSTL Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
DeOrbitSail Surrey Space Centre Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
15 July
15:36:00
Atlas V 401 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-262 (GPS IIF-10) U.S. Air Force Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
15 July
21:42:07
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Star One C4 Star One Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
MSG-4 EUMETSAT Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
22 July
21:02:44
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Soyuz TMA-17M Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 44/4511 December 2015
13:10
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts.
24 July
00:07:00
Delta IV M+(5,4) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-263 (WGS-7) US Air Force Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
25 July
12:29:04
Long March 3B/YZ-1 Xichang LA-2 CASC
BeiDou M1-S CNSA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
BeiDou M2-S CNSA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational

August

19 August
11:50:49
H-IIB Tanegashima LA-Y2 MHI
HTV-5 JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply29 September 2015Successful
SERPENS University of Brasília / Brazilian Space Agency Low Earth Technology demonstration27 March 2016Successful
S-CUBE Chiba Institute of Technology Low Earth Meteor observation23 November 2016[14]
Flock-2b × 14[16] Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observationFirst: 22 May 2016
Last: 17 October 2016
Successful
(12 deployed)
AAUSAT5 Aalborg Low Earth Technology demonstration15 March 2016Successful
GOMX-3 GomSpace Low Earth Technology demonstration19 October 2016[18]Successful
CubeSats to be deployed from the International Space Station at a later date. SERPENS and S-CUBE were deployed on 17 September. AAUSAT5, GOMX-3, and Dove Flocks were deployed on 5–7 October, but two out of the fourteen Dove Flocks failed to be deployed due to a malfunction of the deployer.[19]
20 August
20:34:08
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Eutelsat 8 West B Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Intelsat 34 Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
27 August
02:31:35
Long March 4C Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Yaogan 27 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
27 August
11:22:00
GSLV Mk II Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
GSAT-6 Indian Armed Forces/ISRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
28 August
11:44:00
Proton-M/Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Inmarsat 5-F3 Inmarsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

September

2 September
04:37:43
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Soyuz TMA-18M Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 45/46/iriss[20]2 March 2016
04:26
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts: including ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, the first Dane in space, and Aidyn Aimbetov, the first cosmonaut from an independent Kazakhstan.
Sarah Brightman was intended to fly this mission as a spaceflight participant, but withdrew from training on 13 May 2015 for personal reasons.[21] Japanese space tourist Satoshi Takamatsu was believed to be taking Brightman's place, but he declined and Roscosmos chose Aimbetov as an alternative instead.[22]
Landed with the Year in Space crew of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko
2 September
10:18:00
Atlas V 551 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
MUOS-4 U.S. Navy Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
11 September
02:08:10
Soyuz-STB / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Galileo FOC 5 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 6 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
12 September
15:42:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-2 CASC
TJS-1 CNSA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
14 September
04:42
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Gaofen 9 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation / ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
14 September
19:00:00
Proton-M / Blok DM-03 Baikonur Site 81/24 Khrunichev
Ekspress AM8 RSCC Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
19 September
23:01:14
Long March 6 Taiyuan LC-16 CASC
ZDPS-2A ZJU Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ZDPS-2B ZJU Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2A CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2B CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2C CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2D CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2E CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
Xiwang-2F CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
XY-2 CASC Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
DCBB CAMSAT Low Earth (SSO) EducationIn orbitOperational
LilacSat-2 HIT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Tiantuo-3 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
NUDT-Phone-Sat NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Xingchen 1 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Xingchen 2 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Xingchen 3 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Xingchen 4 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
NS-2 Tsinghua University Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ZJ-1 Tsinghua University Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ZJ-2 Tsinghua / Xidian Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Maiden flight of the Long March 6 vehicle
23 September
21:59:38
Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 VKO
Kosmos 2507 (Strela-3M) VKO Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Kosmos 2508 (Strela-3M) VKO Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Kosmos 2509 (Strela-3M) VKO Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
25 September
01:41:40
Long March 11 Jiuquan CASC
Pujiang-1 SAST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Tianwang 1A ShanghaiTech Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Tianwang 1B ShanghaiTech Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Tianwang 1C ShanghaiTech Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Maiden flight of the Long March 11 vehicle
28 September
04:30:00
PSLV-XL Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
Astrosat ISRO Low Earth X-ray AstronomyIn orbitOperational
LAPAN-A2 LAPAN Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
ExactView 9 exactEarth Low Earth Maritime ObservationIn orbitOperational
Lemur-2 1 NanoSatisfi Inc Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Lemur-2 2 NanoSatisfi Inc Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Lemur-2 3 NanoSatisfi Inc Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Lemur-2 4 NanoSatisfi Inc Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
29 September
23:13:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-3 CASC
BeiDou I2-S CNSA Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
30 September
20:30:07
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
NBN-Co 1A (Sky Muster) NBN Co Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
ARSAT-2 ARSAT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

October

1 October
16:49:40
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Progress M-29M / 61P Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply8 April 2016Successful
2 October
10:28:00
Atlas V 421 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
Mexsat-2 SCT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
7 October
04:13:04
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Jilin-1 Smart Verification Satellite[24] Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Jilin-1 Optical-A[26] Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Jilin-1 Video-01 (Lingqiao 1-01)[27] Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Jilin-1 Video-02 (Lingqiao 1-02)[27] Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
8 October
12:49:30
Atlas V 401 Vandenberg SLC-3E United Launch Alliance
USA-264 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINTIn orbitOperational
USA-264 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINTIn orbitOperational
Aerocube-5c The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Aerocube-7 The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
SNaP-3 x 3 U.S. Army SMDC Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
PropCube x 2 Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
SINOD-D x 2 SRI International Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
ARC-1 UAF Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
BisonSat SKC Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
AMSAT Fox-1 AMSAT Low Earth Amateur radio / Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
LMRST-Sat NASA / JPL Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
NRO Launch 55
16 October
16:16:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-2 CASC
APStar-9 APT Satellite Holdings Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
16 October
20:40:11
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Türksat 4B Türksat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
26 October
07:10:04
Long March 2D Jiuquan SLS-2 CASC
Tianhui 1C CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation (Cartography)In orbitOperational
31 October
16:13:00
Atlas V 401 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-265 (GPS IIF-11) U.S. Air Force Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational

November

3 November
16:25:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-3 CASC
ChinaSat 2C CNSA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
4 November
03:45:00
SPARK Pacific Missile Range Facility LP-41 ORS
HiakaSat ORS Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
EDSN x 8 NASA Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
PrintSat Montana State University Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
Argus St. Louis University and Vanderbilt University Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
STACEM Utah State University Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
Supernova-Beta Pumpkin, Inc. Low Earth Technology demonstration4 November 2015Launch failure
Maiden flight of the SPARK/Super Strypi launch vehicle
Vehicle lost attitude control at T+1 minute
8 November
07:06:04
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Yaogan 28 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
10 November
21:34:07
Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Arabsat 6B Arabsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
GSAT-15 ISRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
17 November
06:33:41
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2510 (EKS (Tundra)) VKO Molniya [28] Early warningIn orbitOperational[29]
First space component for Russia's new unified missile early warning network.[30]
20 November
16:07:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-2 CASC
LaoSat-1 Laos National Authority for Science and Technology Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First Laotian satellite[31]
24 November
06:50:00
H-IIA 204 Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
Telstar 12V Telesat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
26 November
21:24:04
Long March 4C Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Yaogan 29 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational

December

3 December
04:04:00
Vega Kourou ELV Arianespace
LISA Pathfinder ESA / NASA Sun–Earth L1 Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
5 December
14:08:33
Soyuz-2-1v / Volga Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2511 (Kanopus-ST) VKO Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation8 December 2015
05:43
Launch failure
Kosmos 2512 (KYuA-1) Almaz-Antey Low Earth (SSO) Radar calibrationIn orbitOperational
Kanopus-ST failed to separate from the Volga upper stage.[32][33]
6 December
21:44:57
Atlas V 401 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
Cygnus CRS OA-4
S.S. Deke Slayton II
Orbital ATK / NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply20 February 2016Successful
Flock-2e x 12 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
CADRE University of Michigan Low Earth Technology demonstration3 January 2017[35]Successful
MinXSS 1 University of Colorado Boulder Low Earth Solar physics, Space weather5 May 2017[37]Successful
Nodes x 2 NASA Low Earth Technology demonstration23 September 2017[39]Successful
STMSat 1 St. Thomas More Cathedral School Low Earth Education21 April 2017[41]Successful
SIMPL NovaWurks Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Flight moved from Antares 130 rocket following launch failure of Cygnus CRS Orb-3. Originally scheduled for 1 April 2015.[42] MinXSS was deployed into orbit from ISS on 16 May 2016.[43]
9 December
16:46:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-3 CASC
ChinaSat 1C CNSA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
11 December
13:45:33
Zenit-3F Baikonur Site 45/1 Roskosmos
Elektro-L No.2 Roskosmos Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
13 December
00:19:00
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 81/24 Khrunichev
Kosmos 2513 (Garpun No. 12L) VKO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
15 December
11:03:09
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roskosmos
Soyuz TMA-19M Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 46/4718 June 2016
09:15
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts.
16 December
12:30:00
PSLV-CA Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
TeLEOS-1 AgilSpace Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
VELOX C1 NTU Low Earth Atmospheric researchIn orbitOperational
VELOX 2 NTU Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Kent Ridge 1 NUS Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Galassia NUS Low Earth Atmospheric researchIn orbitOperational
Athenoxat-1 NTU Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
17 December
00:12:04
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
DAMPE CAS Low Earth (SSO) High-energy AstronomyIn orbitOperational
17 December
11:51:56
Soyuz-STB / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Galileo FOC 8 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 9 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
21 December
08:44:39
Soyuz-2.1a Baikonur Site 31/6 Roskosmos
Progress MS-01 / 62P Roskosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS resupply3 July 2016
07:50
Operational
First launch of the new Progress-MS variant.
22 December
01:29:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
Orbcomm-2 F2 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F5 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F8 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F10 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F12 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F13 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F14 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F15 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F16 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F17 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Orbcomm-2 F18 Orbcomm Low Earth CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First flight of the upgraded "full thrust" version of Falcon 9, first Falcon 9 flight after launch failure in June. First successful return to launch site and vertical landing of a first stage, demonstrated as part of a controlled descent test.
24 December
21:31:19
Proton-M/Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 Khrunichev
Ekspress AMU1 RSCC Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
28 December
16:04:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LA-2 CASC
Gaofen 4 CNSA Geosynchronous Earth observationIn orbitOperational

Suborbital flights

Deep space rendezvous

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
10 January Chang'e 5-T1 Injection into Selenocentric orbit Departed from Earth–Moon L2 on 4 January.
11 January[52] Cassini 109th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 970 kilometres (603 mi).
12 February Cassini 110th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,200 kilometres (746 mi).
6 March[53] Dawn Enters orbit of Ceres 1st visit to a dwarf planet.
16 March Cassini 111th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 2,275 kilometres (1,413 mi).
30 April MESSENGER Impact to Mercury[54] The crash occurred on the side of the planet not visible from Earth.
7 May Cassini 112th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 2,722 kilometres (1,691 mi).
16 June Cassini 4th flyby of Dione Closest approach: 516 kilometres (321 mi).
7 July Cassini 113th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 10,953 kilometres (6,806 mi).
14 July New Horizons First flyby of Pluto and Charon 2nd visit to a dwarf planet. Closest approach: 12,500 km (7,800 mi).
17 August Cassini 5th flyby of Dione Closest approach: 474 kilometres (295 mi).
28 September Cassini 114th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,036 kilometres (643 mi).
14 October Cassini Flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 1,839 kilometres (1,142 mi).
28 October Cassini Flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 49 kilometres (30 mi).
12 November Cassini 115th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 11,920 kilometres (7,407 mi).
3 December[55] Hayabusa2 Flyby of Earth Gravity assist
3 December[56] PROCYON Flyby of Earth Gravity assist en route to cancelled asteroid flyby.
4 December[57] Shin'en 2 Flyby of Earth Gravity assist
7 December[58] Akatsuki Venus orbit insertion Akatsuki's 2nd flyby of Venus and 2nd (successful) attempt at orbit insertion.
19 December Cassini Flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 4,999 kilometres (3,106 mi).

Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs)

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
21 February
12:45
6 hours
41 minutes
19:26 Expedition 42/43

ISS Quest

Barry E. Wilmore

Terry W. Virts

Rigged and routed power and data cables at the forward end of the Harmony module as part of preparations for the installation of the International Docking Adapter at PMA-2.[59]
25 February
11:51
6 hours
43 minutes
18:34 Expedition 42/43

ISS Quest

Barry E. Wilmore

Terry W. Virts

Completed power and data cable routing at the forward end of the Harmony module. Removed launch locks from forward and aft berthing ports of Tranquility to prepare for relocation of the Permanent Multipurpose Module and the installation of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module. Lubricated end effector of Canadarm2.[60][61]
1 March
11:52
5 hours
38 minutes
17:30 Expedition 42/43

ISS Quest

Terry W. Virts

Barry E. Wilmore

Finished cable routing, antenna and retro-reflector installation on both sides of the ISS truss and on other modules in preparation for the installation of the International Docking Adapter at PMA-2 and 3.[62][63]
10 August
14:20
5 hours
31 minutes
19:51 Expedition 44/45

ISS Pirs

Gennady Padalka

Mikhail Korniyenko

Installed gap spanners on the hull of the station for facilitating movement of crew members on future spacewalks, cleaned windows of the Zvezda Service Module, install fasteners on communications antennas, replaced an aging docking antenna, photographed various locations and hardware on Zvezda and nearby modules, and retrieved a space environment experiment.[64][65]
28 October
12:03
7 hours
16 minutes
19:19 Expedition 45

ISS Quest

Scott Kelly

Kjell N. Lindgren

Prepared a Main Bus Switching Unit for repair, installed a thermal cover on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, lubricated elements of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System, and routed data and power cables to prepare for the installation of the International Docking Adaptor at PMA-2 and 3.[66]
6 November
11:22
7 hours
48 minutes
19:10 Expedition 45

ISS Quest

Scott Kelly

Kjell N. Lindgren

Worked to restore a portion of the ISS's cooling system to its primary configuration, returning ammonia coolant levels to normal in the primary and backup radiator arrays.[67]
21 December
13:45
3 hours
16 minutes
16:01 Expedition 46

ISS Quest

Scott Kelly

Timothy Kopra

Released a brake on the Mobile Servicing System to allow it to be properly stowed prior to the arrival of a visiting Progress vehicle. Routed cables in preparation for the installation of the Nauka module and the International Docking Adapter, and retrieved tools from a toolbox.[68]

Space debris events

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
3 February 17:40[69] DMSP 5D-2/F13 (USA-109) Satellite breakup 159[70] The breakup was most likely caused by a battery explosion.[69][71] This satellite had been launched in 1995. Another satellite from the same series, DMSP 5D-2/F11, had broken up in 2004.[69] Debris are expected to remain in orbit for decades.[72]
25 November 7:20[73] NOAA-16 Satellite breakup 275[74] As this weather satellite, launched in 2000, had a similar construction to the DMSP satellite which broke up in February 2015, the same cause is suspected (battery overheating and explosion).[75]
22 December 16:00[76] Briz-M upper stage Booster explosion 9[76] A Briz-M upper-stage booster, having subsisted in geosynchronous transfer orbit since launching the Canadian Nimiq 6 commsat in 2012, was seen to have broken up into 9 pieces as of 26 January 2016. Orbital analysis of the debris allowed to time the explosion within one minute of 16:00 UTC on 22 December 2015.[76] Three other Briz-M upper stages had exploded earlier in 2007, 2010 and 2012.[77]

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
 China191900
 Europe9900
 India5500
 Iran1100
 Japan4400
 Russia272421Includes 3 Soyuz launches from Kourou
 Ukraine2200Zenit and Dnepr rockets were launched from Russia
 United States201820
World878241

By rocket

By family

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Ariane Europe6600
Atlas United States9900
Delta United States3300
Falcon United States7610
H-II Japan4400
Long March China191900
R-7 Russia171511
R-36 Ukraine1100
Safir Iran1100
SLV India5500
Strypi United States1010
Universal Rocket Russia10910
Vega Europe3300
Zenit Ukraine /  Russia1100

By type

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Ariane 5 EuropeAriane6600
Atlas V United StatesAtlas9900
Delta II United StatesDelta1100
Delta IV United StatesDelta2200
Dnepr UkraineR-361100Final flight
Falcon 9 United StatesFalcon7610
GSLV IndiaSLV1100
H-IIA JapanH-II3300
H-IIB JapanH-II1100
Long March 2 ChinaLong March4400
Long March 3 ChinaLong March9900
Long March 4 ChinaLong March4400
Long March 6 ChinaLong March1100Maiden flight
Long March 11 ChinaLong March1100Maiden flight
Proton RussiaUniversal Rocket8710
PSLV IndiaSLV4400
Safir IranSafir1100
Soyuz RussiaR-77700
Soyuz-2 RussiaR-710811
Super Strypi United StatesStrypi1010Maiden flight
UR-100 RussiaUniversal Rocket2200
Vega EuropeVega3300
Zenit UkraineZenit1100

By configuration

By spaceport

5
10
15
20
25
30
China
France
India
Iran
Japan
Russia +
Kazakhstan
United States
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur Kazakhstan181611
Barking Sands United States1010
Cape Canaveral United States171610
Dombarovsky Russia1100
Kourou France121200
Jiuquan China5500
Plesetsk Russia7601
Satish Dhawan India5500
Semnan Iran1100
Taiyuan China5500
Tanegashima Japan4400
Vandenberg United States2200
Xichang China9900

By orbit

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric1100
Low Earth44412114 to ISS (1 failure, 1 partial failure)
Geosynchronous/transfer323110
Medium Earth7700
High Earth3300

References

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  • 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".
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Generic references:

Footnotes

  1. Clockwise from top:
  2. The European experimental spaceplane IXV was briefly in orbit but did not receive a COSPAR catalog number.
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  4. Elon Musk at Twitter: "Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival."
  5. "РОСКОСМОС: "ПРОГРЕСС М-27М" - ОПРЕДЕЛЕНА ПРИЧИНА АВАРИИ (ROSCOSMOS: "Progress M-27M" - cause of accident determined)" (in Russian). Roscosmos. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
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