2016 in spaceflight

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2016 in spaceflight
2016 in spaceflight.jpg
Clockwise from top: The first successful landing of a Falcon 9 Full Thrust first stage on an ASDS, HiRISE views the crash site of Schiaparelli on Mars, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft about to be put into its Atlas V 411 payload faring, and JunoCam aboard Juno observes Jupiter during Perijove 3.
Orbital launches
First 15 January
Last 28 December
Total 85
Successes 82
Failures 2
Partial failures 1
Catalogued 83
Rockets
Maiden flights
Retirements Falcon 9 v1.1
Manned flights
Orbital 5
Total travellers 14
EVAs 4

Several new rockets and spaceports began operations in 2016. First, 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. Then the Chinese Long March 7 took off for its maiden flight from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in the South China Sea 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 started landing its Falcon 9 first stages on 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 and they plan to launch a mission with a previously flown booster in January 2017.[2]

The ExoMars mission, a collaboration between the European and Russian space agencies, was launched on 14 March and reached Mars on 19 October.[3] Essentially dedicated to astrobiology investigations, this flight carries the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter which reached Mars orbit and Schiaparelli EDM lander which crashed upon landing. A subsequent flight scheduled for 2020 will carry the ExoMars rover along with four static surface instruments.[4] Meanwhile, the Japanese space probe Akatsuki started its observations of Venus in May[5] 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, which was 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.[6][7]

Manned missions include the return of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko in March, after a year long mission on the ISS, the longest-ever continuous stay by astronauts at the station. Kelly also set the record for the longest 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 planned to help 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[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks

January[edit]

15 January
16:57:04
China Long March 3B/E China Xichang LA-3 China CASC
Belarus Belintersat 1 Belarus Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
17 January
18:42:18
United States Falcon 9 v1.1 United States Vandenberg SLC-4E United States SpaceX
United States Jason-3 NOAA / EUMETSAT Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
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.[8]
20 January
04:01:00
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India IRNSS-1E ISRO Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational
27 January
23:20:48
European Union Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
United States Intelsat 29e Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
29 January
22:20:09
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia Khrunichev
France Eutelsat 9B Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Carries the first laser communication node for the European Data Relay System

February[edit]

1 February
07:29:04
China Long March 3C / YZ-1 China Xichang LA-2 China CASC
China BeiDou M3-S CNSA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
5 February
13:38:00
United States Atlas V 401 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-266 (GPS IIF-12) US Air Force Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
7 February
00:21:07
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia RVSN RF
Russia Kosmos 2514 (GLONASS-M 751) VKS Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
7 February
00:30
North Korea Unha North Korea Sohae North Korea KCST
North Korea Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4[9] KCST Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
10 February
11:40:32
United States Delta IV M+ (5,2) United States Vandenberg SLC-6 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-267 / NROL-45 / Topaz-4[10] NRO Retrograde LEO Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
Spacecraft launched in a retrograde orbit
16 February
17:57:40
Russia Rokot / Briz-KM Russia Plesetsk Site 133/3 European Union / Russia Eurockot
European Union Sentinel-3A ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
17 February
08:45:00
Japan H-IIA 202 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
Japan United States Hitomi (ASTRO-H) JAXA / NASA Low Earth X-ray astronomy In orbit Spacecraft failure
Japan ChubuSat-2 Nagoya University Low Earth Radiation / Amateur radio In orbit Operational
Japan ChubuSat-3 MHI Low Earth Remote sensing / Space debris monitor In orbit Operational
Japan Horyu-4 Kyushu Institute of Technology Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
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.[11]

March[edit]

4 March
23:35:00
United States Falcon 9 Full Thrust United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
Luxembourg SES-9 SES S.A. Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
High-velocity landing test ended with a hard landing on the Autonomous spaceport drone ship Of Course I Still Love You and destruction of the first stage.
9 March
05:20:07
European Union Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
France Eutelsat 65 West A Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
10 March
10:31:00
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India IRNSS-1F ISRO Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational
13 March
18:56:00
Russia Soyuz-2.1b Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Resurs-P No.3 Roscosmos Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
The launch succeeded on its second attempt after a rare pad abort the day before.
14 March
09:31:42[4]
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia Khrunichev
European Union / Russia ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter ESA Areocentric orbit Mars orbiter In orbit Operational
European Union Schiaparelli EDM lander ESA Martian Surface Mars lander 19 October 2016 Landing failure
Briz-M upper stage exploded after separation, apparently without damaging the orbiter or lander.[12]
18 March
21:26:38
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz TMA-20M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 47/48 7 September 2016
01:13
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts. Final flight of the Soyuz TMA-M variant
23 March
03:05:52
United States Atlas V 401 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States Cygnus CRS OA-6
S.S. Rick Husband
Orbital ATK / NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 22 June 2016
13:29
Successful
Philippines / Japan Diwata-1 DOST / TU Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Flock-2e' × 20 Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 × 9 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit 8 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.[13]
Cubesats deployed from the ISS and the Cygnus spacecraft at a later date.
24 March
09:42:00
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia RVSN RF
Russia Kosmos 2515 (Bars-M) VKS Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
29 March
20:11:04
China Long March 3A China Xichang LA-2 China CASC
China BeiDou IGSO-6 CNSA IGSO Navigation In orbit Operational
31 March
16:23:57
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress MS-02 / 63P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 14 October 2016
13:39
Successful

April[edit]

5 April
17:38:04
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 China CASC
China Shijian-10 CAS Low Earth Microgravity Science 18 April 2016
08:30
Successful
8 April
20:43:31
United States Falcon 9 Full Thrust United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX CRS-8 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 11 May 2016
18:31
Successful
United States BEAM Bigelow Aerospace / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Technology Demonstration / ISS Assembly In orbit Operational
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
Russia Soyuz-STA / Fregat France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
European Union Sentinel-1B ESA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
France MICROSCOPE CNES Low Earth (SSO) Astrophysics research In orbit Operational
Denmark AAUSAT-4 Aalborg Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
Italy e-st@r-II Polytechnic University of Turin Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
Belgium OUFTI-1 Liège Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
28 April
02:01:21
Russia Soyuz-2.1a / Volga Russia Vostochny Site 1S Russia Roscosmos
Russia Mikhailo Lomonosov MSU Low Earth (SSO) Gamma-ray astronomy In orbit Operational
Russia Aist-2D SSAU Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
Russia SamSat 218 SSAU Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
First orbital flight from Vostochny Cosmodrome
28 April
07:20:00
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan FLP India ISRO
India IRNSS-1G ISRO Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational

May[edit]

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

June[edit]

4 June
14:00:13
Russia Rokot / Briz-KM Russia Plesetsk Site 133/3 Russia RVSN RF
Russia Kosmos 2517 (Geo-IK-2 No.12) VKS Low Earth Geodesy In orbit Operational
9 June
07:10:00
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia Khrunichev
United States Intelsat 31 / DLA-2 Intelsat / DirecTV Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
11 June
17:51:00
United States Delta IV Heavy United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-268 (Orion NROL-37) NRO Geosynchronous Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
12 June
15:30:04
China Long March 3C China Xichang LA-3 China CASC
China BeiDou G7 CNSA Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational
15 June
14:29:00
United States Falcon 9 Full Thrust United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
France Eutelsat 117 West B Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Bermuda ABS-2A ABS Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Satellites were successfully delivered to orbit, first stage landing on drone ship failed.
18 June
21:38:39
European Union Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
United States EchoStar 18 EchoStar Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Indonesia BRIsat BRI Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
22 June
03:56:00
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India Cartosat-2C ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Canada GHGsat GHGsat Inc. Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Canada M3MSat CSA Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
United States SkySat-C1 Terra Bella Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Germany BIROS DLR Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
India SathyabamaSat Sathyabama University Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
India Swayam College of Engineering, Pune Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
Indonesia LAPAN-A3 LAPAN Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Flock-2p × 12 Planet Labs Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
24 June
14:30:00
United States Atlas V 551 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States MUOS-5 US Navy GSO Communications In orbit Operational in off-nominal but usable orbit[15]
25 June
12:00:07
China Long March 7 / YZ-1A China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC
China Next-generation crew capsule scale model CNSA Low Earth Technology/Test Flight 26 June 2016
07:41
Successful
China Star of Aoxiang NPU Low Earth Technology 29 September 2016 Successful
China Aolong-1 Low Earth Technology 27 August 2016 Successful
China Tiange-1 Low Earth Technology 27 August 2016 Successful
China Tiange-2 Low Earth Technology 24 August 2016 Successful
Maiden flight of the Long March 7 rocket and the first launch from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.[16]
29 June
03:21:04
China Long March 4B China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 China CASC
China Shijian 16-02 CNSA Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational

July[edit]

7 July
01:36:40
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz MS-01 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 48/49 30 October 2016
3:58
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts. Maiden flight of the modernized Soyuz MS spacecraft variant.
16 July
21:41:45
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress MS-03 / 64P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 1 February 2017
18:24
Successful
18 July
04:45:29
United States Falcon 9 Full Thrust United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX CRS-9 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 26 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
United States Atlas V 421 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-269 (Quasar NROL-61) NRO GSO[17] Communications In orbit Operational

August[edit]

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

September[edit]

3 September
07:00–09:00 (scheduled)
United States Falcon 9 Full Thrust United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
Israel Amos-6 Spacecom Planned: Geosynchronous Communications 13:07, 1 September 2016 (UTC) (2016-09-01T13:07Z)[20] Destroyed prior to launch
Launch pad explosion destroyed both the rocket and the satellite two days prior to scheduled launch.[20]
8 September
11:20:00
India GSLV Mk II India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India INSAT-3DR ISRO Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational
8 September
23:05:00
United States Atlas V 411 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States OSIRIS-REx NASA Heliocentric Asteroid sample return In orbit Operational
Will reach asteroid Bennu in August 2018
13 September
14:38:00
Israel Shavit-2 Israel Palmachim Israel Israel Aerospace Industries
Israel Ofeq 11 Israel Defense Forces Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Satellite malfunction[21]
15 September
14:04:12
China Long March 2F/G China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-1 China CNSA
China Tiangong-2 CNSA Low Earth Space station In orbit Operational
China BanXing 2 SAST Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
Second Chinese space laboratory, BanXing 2 deployed 22 October
16 September
01:43:35
European Union Vega France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Peru PeruSat-1 Peruvian Armed Forces Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States SkySat x 4 Terra Bella Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
26 September
03:42:00
India PSLV-G India Satish Dhawan FLP India ISRO
India ScatSat-1 ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Meteorology In orbit Operational
India Pratham IIT Bombay Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
India PISAT PES University Low Earth (SSO) Earth Observation In orbit Operational
United States BlackSky Pathfinder 1 BlackSky Global Low Earth (SSO) Earth Observation In orbit Operational
Algeria Alsat-1N Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth Observation In orbit Operational
Algeria Alsat-1B Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth Observation In orbit Operational
Algeria Alsat-2B Algerian Space Agency Low Earth (SSO) Earth Observation In orbit Operational
Canada CanX-7 UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational

October[edit]

5 October
20:30
European Union Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Australia NBN-Co 1B / Sky Muster II NBN Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
India GSAT-18 ISRO Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
16 October
23:30
China Long March 2F China Jiuquan LA-4 / SLS-1 China CNSA
China Shenzhou 11 CNSA Low Earth Docking with Tiangong-2 18 November 2016
06:15
Successful
Crewed flight with two astronauts[22]
17 October
23:45
United States Antares 230 United States MARS Pad 0A United States Orbital ATK
United States Cygnus CRS OA-5 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 27 November 2016
23:36
Successful
United States Lemur-2 × 4 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
CubeSats to be deployed from the ISS and Cygnus spacecraft at a later date
19 October
08:05
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz MS-02 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 49/50 10 April 2017
11:20
Successful
Manned flight with three cosmonauts

November[edit]

2 November
06:20:00
Japan H-IIA 202 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
Japan Himawari 9 JMA Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational
3 November
12:42
China Long March 5 China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC
China Shijian-17 CNSA Geosynchronous Technology In orbit Operational
Maiden flight of the Long March 5 rocket. Shijian-17 will be a test of electric propulsion.
9 November
23:42
China Long March 11 China Jiuquan China CASC
China XPNAV 1[23] CAS Low Earth (SSO) X-ray pulsar-based navigation In orbit Operational
China Xiaoxiang 1[24] Changsha Gaoxinqu Tianyi Research Institute Low Earth (SSO) Stabilization technology In orbit Operational
11 November
18:30
United States Atlas V 401 United States Vandenberg SLC-3E United States United Launch Alliance
United States WorldView-4 DigitalGlobe Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States CELTEE 1 M42 Technologies Low Earth (SSO) Calibration In orbit Operational
United States Promethus-2 x2 LANL Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
United States AeroCube 8 x2 Aerospace Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Operational
United States OptiCube 4 NASA Orbital Debris Program Office Low Earth (SSO) Calibration In orbit Operational
United States RAVAN JHU/APL Low Earth (SSO) Technology, Earth Observation In orbit Operational
CubeSats deployed after WorldView-4 separation as part of NRO-sponsored ENTERPRISE mission
11 November
23:14
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 China CASC
China Yunhai-1 SAST Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
17 November
13:06:48
European Union Ariane 5 ES France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
European Union Galileo FOC 7 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
European Union Galileo FOC 12 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
European Union Galileo FOC 13 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
European Union Galileo FOC 14 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
First Galileo launch with Ariane 5 (8th overall), carrying Antonianna, Lisa, Kimberley, and Tijmen.
17 November
20:20:14
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz MS-03 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 50/51/52 2 June 2017 Success
Manned flight with three cosmonauts. Peggy Whitson's mission was prolonged over Expedition 52 until September 2017.
19 November
23:42:00
United States Atlas V 541 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States GOES-R (GOES-16) NASA / NOAA Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational
22 November
15:24:04
China Long March 3C China Xichang China CASC
China Tianlian I-04 CNSA Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational

December[edit]

1 December
14:52
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress MS-04 / 65P Roscosmos Planned: Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 1 December Launch failure
5 December
13:51:44
European Union Vega France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Turkey Göktürk-1 Turkish Armed Forces Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
7 December
04:54
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan FLP India ISRO
India Resourcesat-2A ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Remote sensing In orbit Operational
7 December
23:53
United States Delta IV M+ (5,4) United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-272 / WGS-8 US Air Force Planned: Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
9 December
13:26:47
Japan H-IIB Japan Tanegashima LA-Y2 Japan MHI
Japan HTV-6 JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 5 February 2017
15:06
Successful
Japan EGG UTokyo Low Earth Technology/Re-entry Demonstration 15 May 2017 Successful
Italy TuPOD GAUSS Srl Low Earth TubeSat Deployment/Amateur Radio In orbit Operational
Turkey/Japan UBAKUSAT[citation needed] İTÜ/Kyutech Planned: Low Earth Technology  
Singapore/Japan AOBA-VELOX 3 NTU/Kyutech Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
Japan STARS C Kagawa University Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
Japan FREEDOM Nakashimada Engineering Works/Tohoku University Low Earth Technology 5 February 2017 Successful
Japan ITF 2 University of Tsukuba Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
Japan Waseda-SAT 3 Waseda University Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
United States OSNSAT Open Space Network Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
Brazil Tancredo-1 Escola Municipal Presidente Tancredo de Almeida Neves/INPE Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
United States TechEDSat SJSU/UI Planned: Low Earth Technology In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 × 4 Spire Global Planned: Low Earth AIS In orbit Operational
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.[25] Tancredo-1 and OSNSAT were released from TuPOD on 19 January 2017.[26] Lemur-2 and TechEdSat-5 were deployed on 6-7 March 2017.[27][28][29]
10 December
16:11:00
China Long March 3B China Xichang LA-3 China CASC
China Fengyun 4A CMA Planned: Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational
15 December
13:37:21
United States Pegasus-XL United States Stargazer, Cape Canaveral United States Orbital ATK
United States CYGNSS x 8 NASA Low Earth Meteorology In orbit Operational
18 December
19:13
United States Atlas V 431 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States EchoStar 19 HughesNet Planned: Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
20 December
11:00
Japan Epsilon Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Arase (ERG) JAXA Medium Earth (elliptical) Magnetospherics In orbit Operational
21 December
19:22
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-2 China CASC
China TanSat[30] CAS Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Spark x 2 CAS Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
21 December
20:30
European Union Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Brazil Star One D1 Star One Planned: Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Japan JCSAT-15 JSAT Planned: Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
28 December
03:23:56
China Long March 2D China Taiyuan China CASC
China SuperView / Gaojing-1 01 Beijing Space View Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Partial launch failure
Operational
China SuperView / Gaojing-1 02 Beijing Space View Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Partial launch failure
Operational
China Bayi Kepu 1 China Association for Science and Technology Low Earth (SSO) Technology In orbit Partial 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[31]

Suborbital flights[edit]

Deep space rendezvous[edit]

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
14 January Mars Express Flyby of Phobos Closest approach: 53 kilometres (33 mi).[36]
15 January[37] 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[38] Juno Jovicentric orbit injection. First solar-powered Jovian probe (2nd 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).[39]
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) Areocentric orbit injection
19 October Schiaparelli (ExoMars 2016) Landing on Mars, Meridiani Planum Probe entered Martian atmosphere intact, but contact was lost 50 seconds before expected landing.[40] NASA's MRO later identified the Schiaparelli crash site, confirming the loss of the lander.[41]
19 October Juno 2nd perijove of Jupiter Period Reduction Maneuver[42] originally planned, but delayed due to valve issues.[43] The maneuver was later cancelled entirely in favor of remaining in a 53-day orbit.[44]
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 of Jupiter

Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs)[edit]

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.[45]
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.[46]
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).[47][48] 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.[49]

Space debris events[edit]

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
26 March 01:42[50] Hitomi Satellite breakup 10[51] 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.[52]

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.[50] Multiple incidents in the spacecraft's attitude control system resulted in an excessive spin rate and breakup of structurally weak elements.[53]

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.[54]

1 June 09:20 [55] SL-12 R/B (#33473) Booster breakup 20+ [55] An ullage motor, part of a Russian Proton-M rocket that was launched in December 2008, exploded for unknown reasons.[56]

Orbital launch statistics[edit]

By country[edit]

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.

China: 22 Europe: 9 India: 7 Israel: 1 Japan: 4 North Korea: 1 Russia: 19 USA: 22Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 China 22 20 1 1
 Europe 9 9 0 0
 India 7 7 0 0
 Israel 1 1 0 0
 Japan 4 4 0 0
 North Korea 1 1 0 0
 Russia 19 18 1 0 Includes 2 Soyuz launches from Kourou
 United States 22 22 0 0 +1 pre-launch failure (Amos 6 / Falcon 9)
World 85 82 2 1

By rocket[edit]

By family[edit]

Family Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Antares  United States 1 1 0 0
Ariane  Europe 7 7 0 0
Atlas  United States 8 8 0 0
Delta  United States 4 4 0 0
Epsilon  Japan 1 1 0 0
Falcon  United States 8 8 0 0 1 Pre-launch failure
H-II  Japan 3 3 0 0
Long March  China 22 20 1 1
Pegasus  United States 1 1 0 0
R-7  Russia 14 13 1 0
SLV  India 7 7 0 0
Shavit  Israel 1 1 0 0
Unha  North Korea 1 1 0 0
Universal Rocket  Russia 5 5 0 0
Vega  Europe 2 2 0 0

By type[edit]

Rocket Country Family Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Antares 200  United States Antares 1 1 0 0 Maiden Flight
Ariane 5  Europe Ariane 7 7 0 0
Atlas V  United States Atlas 8 8 0 0
Delta IV  United States Delta 4 4 0 0
Epsilon  Japan Epsilon 1 1 0 0
Falcon 9  United States Falcon 8 8 0 0 1 Pre-launch failure
GSLV  India SLV 1 1 0 0
H-IIA  Japan H-II 2 2 0 0
H-IIB  Japan H-II 1 1 0 0
Long March 2  China Long March 8 7 0 1
Long March 3  China Long March 7 7 0 0
Long March 4  China Long March 4 3 1 0
Long March 5  China Long March 1 1 0 0 Maiden flight
Long March 7  China Long March 1 1 0 0 Maiden flight
Long March 11  China Long March 1 1 0 0
Pegasus XL  United States Pegasus 1 1 0 0
Proton  Russia Universal Rocket 3 3 0 0
PSLV  India SLV 6 6 0 0
Shavit  Israel Shavit 1 1 0 0
Soyuz  Russia R-7 6 5 1 0
Soyuz-2  Russia R-7 8 8 0 0
Unha  North Korea Unha 1 1 0 0
UR-100  Russia Universal Rocket 2 2 0 0
Vega  Europe Vega 2 2 0 0

By configuration[edit]

By spaceport[edit]

Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur  Kazakhstan 11 10 1 0
Cape Canaveral  United States 18 18 0 0 1 Pre-launch failure
Jiuquan  China 9 9 0 0
Kourou  France 11 11 0 0
MARS  United States 1 1 0 0
Palmachim  Israel 1 1 0 0
Plesetsk  Russia 5 5 0 0
Satish Dhawan  India 7 7 0 0
Sohae  North Korea 1 1 0 0
Taiyuan  China 4 2 1 1
Tanegashima  Japan 3 3 0 0
Uchinoura  Japan 1 1 0 0
Vandenberg  United States 3 3 0 0
Vostochny  Russia 1 1 0 0 First launch
Wenchang  China 2 2 0 0 First launch
Xichang  China 7 7 0 0

By orbit[edit]

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric 0 0 0 0
Low Earth 42 41 1 0 Including 10 to ISS (+1 failed), 1 to Tiangong-2
Geosynchronous / transfer 32 31 1 0
Medium Earth 8 8 0 0
High Earth 0 0 0 0
Heliocentric orbit 2 2 0 0 Including planetary transfer orbits

References[edit]

Generic references:

Footnotes[edit]

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