2016 in spaceflight

Several new rockets and spaceports began operations in 2016.

2016 in spaceflight
Highlights from spaceflight in 2016.[lower-alpha 1]
Orbital launches
First15 January
Last28 December
Total85
Successes82
Failures2
Partial failures1
Catalogued83
Rockets
Maiden flights
Retirements
Crewed flights
Orbital5
Total travellers14
EVAs4

Overview

Russia inaugurated the far-Eastern Vostochny Cosmodrome on 28 April 2016 with a traditional Soyuz-2.1a flight,[1] before expanding it for the Angara rocket family in the following years. The Chinese Long March 7 flew its maiden flight from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island on 25 June, and the maiden flight of the Long March 5 took place on 3 November. Two years after its 2014 accident, the Antares rocket returned to flight on 17 October with its upgraded 230 version featuring the Russian RD-181 engine.

After many failed attempts, SpaceX began landing its Falcon 9 first stages on autonomous spaceport drone ships, edging closer to their long-stated goal of developing reusable launch vehicles. The company indicated that the recovered engines and structures did not suffer significant damage.[2] One of the landed boosters, B1021, launched in April 2016, was flown again in March 2017;[3] two others were converted to side boosters for the maiden flight of Falcon Heavy.[4]

The ExoMars mission, a collaboration between the European and Russian space agencies, was launched on 14 March and reached Mars on 19 October.[5] Dedicated to astrobiology investigations, this flight carried the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which reached Mars orbit, and the Schiaparelli EDM lander, which crashed upon landing. A subsequent flight scheduled for 2020 will carry the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover along with four static surface instruments.[6] Meanwhile, the Japanese space probe Akatsuki started its observations of Venus in May[7] after spending five months gradually adjusting its orbit. Planetary exploration activities took center stage with the orbit insertion of NASA's Juno probe at Jupiter on 4 July, followed by the launch of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid 101955 Bennu on 8 September. Finally, on 30 September, the Rosetta probe executed a slow crash-landing on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.[8][9]

Human spaceflights included the return of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko in March after a yearlong mission on the ISS, the longest-ever continuous stay by astronauts at the station. Kelly also set the record for the longest-duration stay of an American in orbit. Four ISS Expeditions numbered 47 to 50 were launched in 2016, the first one using the last Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft and the next three inaugurating the modernized Soyuz MS. Expedition 50 will continue into 2017. Several EVAs were performed to maintain the exterior of the ISS. The experimental BEAM inflatable habitat was attached to the ISS on 16 April and expanded on 28 May to begin two years of on-orbit tests. Meanwhile, China launched its new Tiangong-2 space laboratory in September, which was first visited by two astronauts for a month between 19 October and 17 November.

Orbital launches

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

January

15 January
16:57:04
Long March 3B/E Xichang LC-3 CASC
Belintersat 1 Belarus Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
17 January
18:42:18
Falcon 9 v1.1 F9-021 Vandenberg SLC-4E SpaceX
Jason-3 NOAA / EUMETSAT Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Final flight of the standard Falcon 9 v1.1, future flights will use the upgraded Falcon 9 Full Thrust. Falcon 9's first stage performed a soft landing on an autonomous spaceport drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, but the failure of one landing leg to lock into position caused it to fall over and break apart.[10]
20 January
04:01:00
PSLV-XL C31 Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
IRNSS-1E ISRO Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
27 January
23:20:48
Ariane 5 ECA VA228 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Intelsat 29e Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitSpacecraft failure in 2019[11]
29 January
22:20:09
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 International Launch Services
Eutelsat 9B Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Carries the first laser communication node for the European Data Relay System

February

1 February
07:29:04
Long March 3C / YZ-1 Xichang LC-3 CASC
BeiDou M3-S CNSA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
5 February
13:38:00
Atlas V 401 AV-057 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-266 (GPS IIF-12) US Air Force Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
7 February
00:21:07
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2514 (GLONASS-M 751) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
7 February
00:30
Unha Sohae KCST
Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4[13] KCST Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
10 February
11:40:32
Delta IV M+ (5,2) Vandenberg SLC-6 United Launch Alliance
USA-267 / NROL-45 / Topaz-4[14] NRO Retrograde LEO ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
Spacecraft launched in a retrograde orbit
16 February
17:57:40
Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 / Eurockot
Sentinel-3A ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
17 February
08:45:00
H-IIA 202 F30 Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
Hitomi (ASTRO-H) JAXA / NASA Low Earth X-ray astronomyIn orbitSpacecraft failure
ChubuSat-2 Nagoya University Low Earth Radiation / Amateur radioIn orbitOperational
ChubuSat-3 MHI Low Earth Remote sensing / Space debris monitorIn orbitOperational
Horyu-4 Kyushu Institute of Technology Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Hitomi malfunctioned after initial checkouts, and is believed to have lost attitude control and snapped off its solar array. As of 28 April, JAXA has abandoned efforts to recover the spacecraft.[15]

March

4 March
23:35:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-022 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SES-9 SES S.A. Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
High-velocity landing test ended with a hard landing on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You and destruction of the first stage.
9 March
05:20:07
Ariane 5 ECA VA229 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Eutelsat 65 West A Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
10 March
10:31:00
PSLV-XL C32 Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
IRNSS-1F ISRO Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
13 March
18:56:00
Soyuz-2.1b Baikonur Site 31/6 Roscosmos
Resurs-P No.3 Roscosmos Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
The launch succeeded on its second attempt after a rare pad abort the day before.
14 March
09:31:42[6]
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 200/39 Khrunichev
/ ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter ESA Areocentric orbit Mars orbiterIn orbitOperational
Schiaparelli EDM lander ESA TMI to Martian Surface Mars lander19 October 2016Landing failure
Briz-M upper stage exploded after separation, apparently without damaging the orbiter or lander.[16]
18 March
21:26:38
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz TMA-20M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 47/487 September 2016
01:13
Successful
Crewed flight with three cosmonauts. Final flight of the Soyuz TMA-M variant
23 March
03:05:52
Atlas V 401 AV-064 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
Cygnus CRS OA-6
S.S. Rick Husband
Orbital ATK / NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics22 June 2016
13:29
Successful
/ Diwata-1 DOST / TU Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Flock-2e' × 20 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Lemur-2 × 9 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observationIn orbit8 operational, 1 failed to deploy
Anomaly in the mixture ratio control valve assembly, causing the Atlas V booster engine to cut off five seconds early, resulting in a longer-than-usual Centaur orbital insertion burn.[17]
Cubesats deployed from the ISS and the Cygnus spacecraft at a later date.
24 March
09:42:00
Soyuz-2.1a Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2515 (Bars-M 2L) VKS Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
29 March
20:11:04
Long March 3A Xichang LC-2 CASC
BeiDou IGSO-6 CNSA IGSO NavigationIn orbitOperational
31 March
16:23:57
Soyuz-2.1a Baikonur Site 31/6 Roscosmos
Progress MS-02 / 63P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics14 October 2016
13:39
Successful
Tomsk-TPU-120 Tomsk Polytechnic University Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Tomsk-TPU-120 is a CubeSat deployed into orbit from ISS by Russian astronauts spacewalk on 17 August 2017.[18]

April

5 April
17:38:04
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Shijian-10 CAS Low Earth Microgravity Science18 April 2016
08:30
Successful
8 April
20:43:31
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-023 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SpaceX CRS-8 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics11 May 2016
18:31
Successful
BEAM Bigelow Aerospace / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Technology demonstration / ISS AssemblyIn orbitOperational
First stage landed successfully on drone ship Of Course I Still Love You for the first time, the second successful landing overall
25 April
21:02:13
Soyuz-STA / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Sentinel-1B ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
MICROSCOPE CNES Low Earth (SSO) AstrophysicsIn orbitOperational
AAUSAT-4 Aalborg Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
e-st@r-II Polytechnic University of Turin Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
OUFTI-1 Liège Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
28 April
02:01:21
Soyuz-2.1a / Volga Vostochny Site 1S Roscosmos
Mikhailo Lomonosov MSU Low Earth (SSO) Gamma-ray astronomyIn orbitOperational
Aist-2D SSAU Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
SamSat 218 SSAU Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
First orbital flight from Vostochny Cosmodrome
28 April
07:20:00
PSLV-XL C33 Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
IRNSS-1G ISRO Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational

May

6 May
05:21:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-024 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
JCSAT-14 JSAT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First stage landed on Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, the third successful landing and the first landing with a payload to geostationary transfer orbit.
15 May
02:43
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Yaogan 30 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
24 May
08:48:43
Soyuz-STB / Fregat Kourou ELS Arianespace
Galileo FOC 10 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 11 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
27 May
21:39:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-025 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
Thaicom 8 Thaicom Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
First stage landed on Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, the fourth successful landing and the second landing with a payload to geostationary transfer orbit.
29 May
08:44:35
Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Plesetsk Site 43/4 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2516 (GLONASS-M 753) VKS Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
30 May
03:17:04
Long March 4B Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Ziyuan III-02 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
ÑuSat-1/-2
(Aleph-1 constellation)[20]
Satellogic Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational

June

4 June
14:00:13
Rokot / Briz-KM Plesetsk Site 133/3 RVSN RF
Kosmos 2517 (Geo-IK-2 No.12) VKS Low Earth GeodesyIn orbitOperational
9 June
07:10:00
Proton-M / Briz-M Baikonur Site 81/24 International Launch Services
Intelsat 31 / DLA-2 Intelsat / DirecTV Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
11 June
17:51:00
Delta IV Heavy Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-268 (Orion NROL-37) NRO Geosynchronous ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
12 June
15:30:04
Long March 3C Xichang LC-3 CASC
BeiDou G7 CNSA Geosynchronous NavigationIn orbitOperational
15 June
14:29:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-026 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
Eutelsat 117 West B Eutelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
ABS-2A ABS Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
Satellites were successfully delivered to orbit, first stage landing on drone ship failed.
18 June
21:38:39
Ariane 5 ECA VA230 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
EchoStar 18 EchoStar Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
BRIsat BRI Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
22 June
03:56:00
PSLV-XL C34 Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
Cartosat-2C ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
GHGsat GHGsat Inc. Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
M3MSat CSA Low Earth (SSO) CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
SkySat-C1 Terra Bella Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
BIROS DLR Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
SathyabamaSat Sathyabama University Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Swayam College of Engineering, Pune Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
LAPAN-A3 LAPAN Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Flock-2p × 12 Planet Labs Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
24 June
14:30:00
Atlas V 551 AV-063 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
MUOS-5 US Navy GSO CommunicationsIn orbitOperational in off-nominal but usable orbit[21]
25 June
12:00:07
Long March 7 / YZ-1A Wenchang LC-2 CASC
Next-generation crew capsule scale model CNSA Low Earth Technology demonstration / Test Flight26 June 2016
07:41
Successful
Star of Aoxiang NPU Low Earth Technology demonstration29 September 2016Successful
Aolong-1 Low Earth Technology demonstration27 August 2016Successful
Tiange-1 Low Earth Technology demonstration27 August 2016Successful
Tiange-2 Low Earth Technology demonstration24 August 2016Successful
Maiden flight of the Long March 7 rocket and the first launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.[22]
29 June
03:21:04
Long March 4B Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Shijian 16-02 CNSA Low Earth Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational

July

7 July
01:36:40
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz MS-01 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 48/4930 October 2016
03:58
Successful
Crewed flight with three cosmonauts. Maiden flight of the modernized Soyuz MS spacecraft variant.
16 July
21:41:45
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 31/6 Roscosmos
Progress MS-03 / 64P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics1 February 2017
18:24
Successful
18 July
04:45:29
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-027 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
SpaceX CRS-9 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics26 August
15:47
Successful
Delivering the IDA-2 segment of the NASA Docking System. Second successful return to launch site and vertical landing of a first stage, demonstrated as part of a controlled descent test.
28 July
12:37:00
Atlas V 421 AV-065 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
USA-269 (Quasar NROL-61) NRO Geosynchronous[23] CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

August

5 August
16:22:04
Long March 3B Xichang LC-3 CASC
Tiantong-1 01 CAST Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
9 August
22:55:25
Long March 4C Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Gaofen-3 CAST Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
14 August
05:26:00
Falcon 9 Full Thrust F9-028 Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
JCSAT-16 JSAT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
15 August
17:40:04
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Quantum Experiments At Space Scale (QUESS)[24] CAS Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Lixing-1 CAS Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
3Cat 2 UPC Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
19 August
04:52:00
Delta IV M+ (4,2) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
AFSPC 6 / USA-270 / GSSAP #3 US Air Force Geosynchronous Space surveillanceIn orbitOperational
AFSPC 6 / USA-271 / GSSAP #4 US Air Force Geosynchronous Space surveillanceIn orbitOperational
24 August
22:16:01
Ariane 5 ECA VA232 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Intelsat 33e Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational[25]
Intelsat 36 Intelsat Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
31 August
18:50:00
Long March 4C Taiyuan LC-9 CASC
Gaofen-10 CAST Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation31 August 2016Launch failure

September

3 September
07:00–09:00 (scheduled)[26]
Falcon 9 Full Thrust N/A Cape Canaveral SLC-40 SpaceX
Amos-6 Spacecom Planned: Geosynchronous CommunicationsN/ADestroyed prior to launch[27]
Launch pad explosion destroyed both the rocket and the satellite two days prior to scheduled launch, on 13:07, 1 September 2016 (UTC) (2016-09-01T13:07Z).[27]
8 September
11:20:00
GSLV Mk II F05 Satish Dhawan SLP ISRO
INSAT-3DR ISRO Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
8 September
23:05:00
Atlas V 411 AV-067 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
OSIRIS-REx NASA Heliocentric Asteroid sample returnIn orbitOperational
Will reach asteroid Bennu in August 2018
13 September
14:38:00
Shavit-2 Palmachim Israel Aerospace Industries
Ofeq 11 Israel Defense Forces Low Earth ReconnaissanceIn orbitSatellite malfunction[28]
15 September
14:04:12
Long March 2F/G Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-1 CNSA
Tiangong-2 CNSA Low Earth Space station19 July 2019[30]
13:06
Successful
BanXing 2 SAST Low Earth Technology demonstration15 July 2019[32]Successful
Second Chinese space laboratory, BanXing 2 deployed 22 October
16 September
01:43:35
Vega Kourou ELV Arianespace
PeruSat-1 Peruvian Armed Forces Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
SkySat x 4 Terra Bella Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
26 September
03:42:00
PSLV-G C35 Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
ScatSat-1 ISRO Low Earth (SSO) MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
Pratham IIT Bombay Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
PISAT PES University Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Blacksky Pathfinder-1 BlackSky Global Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Alsat-1N Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Alsat-1B Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Alsat-2B Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
CanX-7 UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational

October

5 October
20:30
Ariane 5 ECA VA231 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
NBN-Co 1B / Sky Muster II NBN Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
GSAT-18 ISRO Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
16 October
23:30
Long March 2F Jiuquan LA-4 / SLS-1 CNSA
Shenzhou 11 CNSA Low Earth Docking with Tiangong-218 November 2016
06:15
Successful
Crewed flight with two astronauts[33]
17 October
23:45
Antares 230 MARS Pad 0A Orbital ATK
Cygnus CRS OA-5 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics27 November 2016
23:36
Successful
Lemur-2 × 4 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
CubeSats to be deployed from the ISS and Cygnus spacecraft at a later date
19 October
08:05
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 31/6 Roscosmos
Soyuz MS-02 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 49/5010 April 2017
11:20
Successful
Crewed flight with three cosmonauts

November

2 November
06:20:00
H-IIA 202 F31 Tanegashima LA-Y1 MHI
Himawari 9 JMA Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
3 November
12:42
Long March 5 Wenchang LC-1 CASC
Shijian-17 CNSA Geosynchronous Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
Maiden flight of the Long March 5 rocket. Shijian-17 will be a test of electric propulsion.
9 November
23:42
Long March 11 Jiuquan CASC
XPNAV 1[35] CAS Low Earth (SSO) X-ray pulsar-based navigationIn orbitOperational
Xiaoxiang 1[37] Changsha Gaoxinqu Tianyi Research Institute Low Earth (SSO) Stabilization technologyIn orbitOperational
11 November
18:30
Atlas V 401 AV-062 Vandenberg SLC-3E United Launch Alliance
WorldView-4 DigitalGlobe Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitSpacecraft failure
CELTEE 1 M42 Technologies Low Earth (SSO) CalibrationIn orbitOperational
Prometheus-2 × 2 LANL Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
AeroCube 8 × 2 Aerospace Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitOperational
OptiCube 4 NASA Orbital Debris Program Office Low Earth (SSO) CalibrationIn orbitOperational
RAVAN JHU/APL Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration, Earth observationIn orbitOperational
CubeSats deployed after WorldView-4 separation as part of NRO-sponsored ENTERPRISE mission. WorldView-4 experienced a failure in one of its control moment gyroscopes in January 2019, making the spacecraft unrecoverable.[38]
11 November
23:14
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
Yunhai-1 SAST Low Earth Earth observationIn orbitOperational
17 November
13:06:48
Ariane 5 ES VA233 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Galileo FOC 7 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 12 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 13 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
Galileo FOC 14 ESA Medium Earth NavigationIn orbitOperational
First Galileo launch with Ariane 5 (8th overall), carrying Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley, and Tijmen.
17 November
20:20:14
Soyuz-FG Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Soyuz MS-03 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 50/51/522 June 2017Success
Crewed flight with three cosmonauts. Peggy Whitson's mission was prolonged over Expedition 52 until September 2017.
19 November
23:42:00
Atlas V 541 AV-069 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
GOES-R (GOES-16) NASA / NOAA Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
22 November
15:24:04
Long March 3C Xichang LC-2 CASC
Tianlian I-04 CNSA Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational

December

1 December
14:52
Soyuz-U Baikonur Site 1/5 Roscosmos
Progress MS-04 / 65P Roscosmos Planned: Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics1 DecemberLaunch failure
5 December
13:51:44
Vega Kourou ELV Arianespace
Göktürk-1 Turkish Armed Forces Low Earth (SSO) ReconnaissanceIn orbitOperational
7 December
04:54
PSLV-XL C36 Satish Dhawan FLP ISRO
Resourcesat-2A ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Remote sensingIn orbitOperational
7 December
23:53
Delta IV M+ (5,4) Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United Launch Alliance
USA-272 / WGS-8 US Air Force Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
9 December
13:26:47
H-IIB F6 Tanegashima LA-Y2 MHI
HTV-6 JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics5 February 2017
15:06
Successful
EGG UTokyo Low Earth Technology demonstration / Re-entry Demonstration15 May 2017[40]Successful
TuPOD GAUSS Srl Low Earth TubeSat Deployment / Amateur radio8 September 2017[42]Successful
/ AOBA-VELOX 3 NTU / Kyutech Low Earth Technology demonstration1 November 2018[44]Successful
STARS C Kagawa University Low Earth Technology demonstration3 March 2018[46]Successful
FREEDOM Nakashimada Engineering Works / Tohoku University Low Earth Technology demonstration5 February 2017[48]Successful
ITF-2 University of Tsukuba Low Earth Technology demonstration3 January 2019[50]Successful
Waseda-SAT 3 Waseda University Low Earth Technology demonstration6 October 2018[52]Successful
OSNSAT Open Space Network Low Earth Technology demonstration11 January 2018[54]Successful
Tancredo-1 Escola Municipal Presidente Tancredo de Almeida Neves/INPE Low Earth Technology demonstration18 October 2017[56]Successful
TechEdSat 5 SJSU/UI Low Earth Technology demonstration29 July 2017[58]Successful
Lemur-2 × 4 Spire Global Low Earth AISFirst: 15 April 2018[61]
Last: 5 December 2018[62]
Successful
CubeSats to be deployed at a later date. Tancredo-1 and OSNSAT are carried inside TuPOD and to be deployed from it. STARS-C was deployed on 19 December 2016. ITF-2, WASEDA-SAT3, FREEDOM, EGG, AOBA-Velox III, and TuPOD were deployed on 16 January 2017.[63] Tancredo-1 and OSNSAT were released from TuPOD on 19 January 2017.[64] Lemur-2 and TechEdSat-5 were deployed on 6–7 March 2017.[65][66][67]
10 December
16:11:00
Long March 3B Xichang LC-3 CASC
Fengyun 4A CMA Geosynchronous MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
15 December
13:37:21
Pegasus-XL Stargazer, Cape Canaveral Orbital ATK
CYGNSS x 8 NASA Low Earth MeteorologyIn orbitOperational
18 December
19:13
Atlas V 431 AV-071 Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United Launch Alliance
EchoStar 19 HughesNet Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
20 December
11:00
Epsilon Uchinoura JAXA
Arase (ERG) JAXA Medium Earth (elliptical) MagnetosphericsIn orbitOperational
21 December
19:22
Long March 2D Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 CASC
TanSat[68] CAS Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
Spark x 2 CAS Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitOperational
21 December
20:30
Ariane 5 ECA VA234 Kourou ELA-3 Arianespace
Star One D1 Star One Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
JCSAT-15 JSAT Geosynchronous CommunicationsIn orbitOperational
28 December
03:23:56
Long March 2D Taiyuan CASC
SuperView / Gaojing-1 01 Beijing Space View Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitPartial launch failure
Operational
SuperView / Gaojing-1 02 Beijing Space View Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observationIn orbitPartial launch failure
Operational
Bayi Kepu 1 China Association for Science and Technology Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstrationIn orbitPartial launch failure
Operational
Launch vehicle problem deployed satellites in a lower than planned orbit. SuperView satellites raising their own orbits, but CubeSats cannot so may have short lifespan.[69]

Suborbital flights

Deep space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
14 January Mars Express Flyby of Phobos Closest approach: 53 kilometres (33 mi).[74]
15 January[75] Cassini 116th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 3,817 kilometres (2,372 mi).
31 January Cassini 117th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,400 kilometres (870 mi).
16 February Cassini 118th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,018 kilometres (633 mi).
4 April Cassini 119th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 990 kilometres (615 mi).
6 May Cassini 120th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 971 kilometres (603 mi).
7 June Cassini 121st flyby of Titan Closest approach: 975 kilometres (606 mi).
4 July[76] Juno Orbit injection around Jupiter (jovicentric) First solar-powered Jovian probe, second orbiter.
4 July Mars Express Flyby of Phobos Closest approach: 350 kilometres (220 mi).
25 July Cassini 122nd flyby of Titan Closest approach: 976 kilometres (606 mi).
10 August Cassini 123rd flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,599 kilometres (994 mi).
27 August Juno 1st perijove of Jupiter Closest approach: 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi).[77]
26 September Cassini 124th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,737 kilometres (1,079 mi).
30 September Rosetta Landing on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Probe was programmed to deactivate its thrusters and radio transmissions after landing.
19 October Trace Gas Orbiter (ExoMars 2016) Orbit injection around Mars (areocentric)
19 October Schiaparelli (ExoMars 2016) Landing on Mars, Meridiani Planum Probe entered Martian atmosphere intact, but contact was lost 50 seconds before expected landing.[78] NASA's MRO later identified the Schiaparelli crash site, confirming the loss of the lander.[79]
19 October Juno 2nd perijove Period Reduction Maneuver[80] originally planned, but delayed due to valve issues.[81] The maneuver was later cancelled entirely in favor of remaining in a 53-day orbit.[82]
13 November Cassini 125th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,582 kilometres (983 mi).
16 November Mars Express Flyby of Phobos Closest approach: 127 kilometres (79 mi).
29 November Cassini 126th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 3,223 kilometres (2,003 mi).
11 December Juno 3rd perijove

Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs)

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
15 January
13:48
4 hours 43 minutes 18:31 Expedition 46
ISS Quest
Replaced a failed voltage regulator responsible for shutting down one of the station's eight power channels in November 2015, and routed cables in support of the installation of the International Docking Adaptor. EVA terminated two hours early due to water leakage in Kopra's helmet, but the primary task was accomplished.[83]
3 February
12:55
4 hours 45 minutes 17:40 Expedition 46
ISS Pirs
Deployed a commemorative flash drive, took samples of module exteriors, installed handrails for use in future EVAs, retrieved an astrobiology experiment, deployed a materials science experiment, and tested a tool for applying coatings to module exteriors.[84]
19 August
12:04
5 hours 58 minutes 18:02 Expedition 48
ISS Quest
The astronauts installed the International Docking Adapter (IDA) which was delivered by Dragon CRS-9, allowing future commercial crew spacecraft to dock with the station. This first IDA was attached to Harmony's forward port, over the existing Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA).[85][86] The EVA terminated after completing the primary objective, without completing the secondary objectives, due to a malfunction of the right earphone of Jeff Williams.
1 September
11:53
6 hours 48 minutes 18:41 Expedition 48
ISS Quest
The crew retracted a thermal radiator which is a backup, and then installed the first pair of several High Definition cameras to monitor the traffic around the station. Then they have performed some maintenance operations.[87]

Space debris events

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
26 March 01:42[88] Hitomi Satellite breakup 10[89] JAXA lost communications with the freshly launched telescope during its early commissioning phase. Meanwhile, JspOC observed 5 then 10 pieces of debris diverging from the satellite, one of them comparably sized to the main spacecraft by radar signature.[90]

Hitomi itself went into a tumble and sent short intermittent communications. As of 18 April 2016, the investigation into the root cause of the incident was ongoing. Collision with already-tracked space debris has been ruled out.[88] Multiple incidents in the spacecraft's attitude control system resulted in an excessive spin rate and breakup of structurally weak elements.[91]

In a twist of fate, one of the secondary payloads traveling with Hitomi was ChubuSat-3, a microsatellite dedicated to monitoring global warming effects and space debris.[92]

1 June 09:20 [93] SL-12 R/B (#33473) Booster breakup 20+ [93] An ullage motor, part of a Russian Proton-M rocket that was launched in December 2008, exploded for unknown reasons.[94]

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
 China222011
 Europe9900
 India7700
 Israel1100
 Japan4400
 North Korea1100
 Russia191810Includes 2 Soyuz launches from Kourou
 United States222200+1 pre-launch failure (Amos 6 / Falcon 9)
World858221

By rocket

By family

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Antares United States1100
Ariane Europe7700
Atlas United States8800
Delta United States4400
Epsilon Japan1100
Falcon United States88001 Pre-launch failure
H-II Japan3300
Long March China222011
Pegasus United States1100
R-7 Russia141310
SLV India7700
Shavit Israel1100
Unha North Korea1100
Universal Rocket Russia5500
Vega Europe2200

By type

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Antares 200 United StatesAntares1100Maiden Flight
Ariane 5 EuropeAriane7700
Atlas V United StatesAtlas8800
Delta IV United StatesDelta4400
Epsilon JapanEpsilon1100
Falcon 9 United StatesFalcon88001 Pre-launch failure
GSLV IndiaSLV1100
H-IIA JapanH-II2200
H-IIB JapanH-II1100
Long March 2 ChinaLong March8701
Long March 3 ChinaLong March7700
Long March 4 ChinaLong March4310
Long March 5 ChinaLong March1100Maiden flight
Long March 7 ChinaLong March1100Maiden flight
Long March 11 ChinaLong March1100
Pegasus XL United StatesPegasus1100
Proton RussiaUniversal Rocket3300
PSLV IndiaSLV6600
Shavit IsraelShavit1100
Soyuz RussiaR-76510
Soyuz-2 RussiaR-78800
Unha North KoreaUnha1100
UR-100 RussiaUniversal Rocket2200
Vega EuropeVega2200

By configuration

By spaceport

5
10
15
20
25
30
China
France
India
Israel
Japan
North Korea
Russia +
Kazakhstan
United States
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur Kazakhstan111010
Cape Canaveral United States1818001 Pre-launch failure
Jiuquan China9900
Kourou France111100
MARS United States1100
Palmachim Israel1100
Plesetsk Russia5500
Satish Dhawan India7700
Sohae North Korea1100
Taiyuan China4211
Tanegashima Japan3300
Uchinoura Japan1100
Vandenberg United States3300
Vostochny Russia1100First launch
Wenchang China2200First launch
Xichang China7700

By orbit

  •   Transatmospheric
  •   Low Earth
  •   Low Earth (ISS)
  •   Low Earth (SSO)
  •   Low Earth (retrograde)
  •   Geosychronous
    (transfer)
  •   Medium Earth
  •   High Earth
  •   Heliocentric
Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric0000
Low Earth424110Including 10 to ISS (+1 failed), 1 to Tiangong-2
Geosynchronous / transfer323110
Medium Earth8800
High Earth0000
Heliocentric orbit2200Including planetary transfer orbits

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  • Webb, Brian. "Southwest Space Archive".
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Generic references:

Notes

  1. Clockwise from top:

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