2020 in spaceflight

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2020 in spaceflight
Bob and Doug during Crew Dragon Demo-2
Launch of Chang'e 5 prior to successful lunar sample return
Animation of the asteroid Bennu being sampled by OSIRIS-REX for return to earth
Seven-member crew of ISS Expedition 64
Highlights from spaceflight in 2020[a]
Orbital launches
First7 January
Last29 December
Total114
Successes104
Failures10
Partial failures0
Catalogued104
National firsts
Spaceflight
Satellite
Suborbital launch Netherlands
Rockets
Maiden flights
Retirements
Crewed flights
Orbital4
Suborbital0
Total travellers12
EVAs8

This article documents notable spaceflight events during the year 2020.

Overview[edit]

Exploration of the Solar System[edit]

Three missions to Mars were launched in 2020, including two rovers, two orbiters, and a lander. NASA has launched the Mars 2020 mission, which includes the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter, and will cache samples for eventual return to Earth.[1] The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has launched its Tianwen-1 mission, which includes an orbiter, a lander, a small rover and a deployable camera;[2] it is China's first mission to another planet using its own delivery vehicle.[1] Finally, the United Arab Emirates, in partnership with American universities, has launched the Hope Mars Mission orbiter on a Japanese rocket.[1]

In November, China launched Chang'e 5, the first sample-return mission to the Moon since Luna 24 in 1976. Chang'e 5 used the recently developed Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket. The mission performed the first-ever robotic lunar orbit rendezvous.[3]

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission landed on asteroid 101955 Bennu in October to obtain a surface sample for return to earth. JAXA's Hayabusa2 mission returned samples of 162173 Ryugu to Earth on 5 December 2020, with its re-entry vehicle recovered in Woomera, Australia.[4]

One solar mission was launched: ESA's Solar Orbiter, on 10 February 2020, intended to study the Sun's heliosphere. Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, decreased its minimal distance to the Sun further to 14.2 million km.

Human spaceflight[edit]

In the United States, SpaceX's Dragon 2 spacecraft made its first crewed flight to the International Space Station on 31 May 2020 as part of the Commercial Crew Program,[5] enabling American human orbital spaceflight capability for the first time since the Space Shuttle's retirement in 2011. Dragon 2 became the first commercial system to fly humans to Earth orbit. The second crewed Dragon mission and its first operational mission, Crew-1, launched on 15 November 2020.

China conducted an uncrewed flight test of a next generation crewed spacecraft in May 2020,[6] and continues preparations for the 2021 launch of the Tianhe Core Cabin Module of the Chinese Space Station.[7]

NASA astronaut Christina Koch set a women's record-breaking 328 days spaceflight ending on 6 February 2020. Scott Kelly still holds the all-time American record with 340 days; Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov holds the all-time spaceflight length record of 437 days. Koch also participated in the first all-female spacewalk with Jessica Meir on 18 October 2019.[8]

Rocket innovation[edit]

SpaceX made three atmospheric test flights with prototypes of its fully reusable two-stage-to-orbit vehicle Starship.[9][10][11]

The trend towards cost reduction in access continued and several rockets made their maiden flights in 2020. Despite the increasing competition the cost of delivering cargo to the ISS went up.[12]

Satellite innovation[edit]

SpaceX started operation of its Starlink constellation in late 2020.[13] As of 2 December 2020, 955 satellites have been launched and Starlink is in a public beta testing phase. OneWeb planned to start service in 2020 as well,[14] but filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 after 74 satellites were launched.[15] OneWeb emerged from bankruptcy and plans to restart launches in December 2020.[16]

The Mission Extension Vehicle MEV-1 became the first telerobotically-operated spacecraft to service another satellite on-orbit when it completed the first phase of a 5-year mission to extend the life of the Intelsat 901 (I-901) satellite. In February 2020, MEV-1 captured the communications satellite, which had been moved to graveyard orbit some months before. In April 2020, MEV-1 successfully brought Intelsat-901 it back to position in geosynchronous orbit where it is now expected to operate for another five years. This was a space industry first as satellite servicing had previously been accomplished only with on-orbit human assistance, during the missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope in the early 2000s.[17]

Orbital launches[edit]

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

January[edit]

7 January
02:19:21[18][19]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L2[20] United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
7 January
15:20:14[21][22]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y62[23] China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
China TJSW-5 Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Geosynchronous Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
15 January
02:53[24]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y58 China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China Jilin-1 Kuanfu-01 (Wideband-01) Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Argentina ÑuSat 7 (Sophie) Satellogic Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Argentina ÑuSat 8 (Marie) Satellogic Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Tianqi-5[25] Guodian Gaoke Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
16 January
03:02[26]
China Kuaizhou 1A Y9[27] China Jiuquan LA-4 China ExPace
China Yinhe-1 / GS-SparkSat-03 / Galaxy-1[28] Galaxy Space Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
16 January
21:05[29]
Europe Ariane 5 ECA VA251 France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
France Eutelsat Konnect[30] Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
India GSAT-30 ISRO Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
GSAT-30 will replace INSAT-4A.
29 January
14:06:49 [31][32]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L3 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
31 January
02:56[33]
United States Electron "Birds of a Feather" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
United States NROL-151 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
First launch contracted via the NRO's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) program.

February[edit]

6 February
21:42:41[34][35]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat ST27[36] Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 France Arianespace / Russia Starsem
United Kingdom OneWeb × 34 OneWeb Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Second OneWeb mission. Baikonur flight 1.
9 February
01:34[37]
Japan H-IIA 202 F41[38] Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
Japan IGS-Optical 7 CSICE Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
9 February
15:45[39]
Iran Simorgh Iran Semnan LP-2 Iran ISA
Iran Zafar 1[40] IUST Low Earth Earth observation 9 February Launch failure
Satellite failed to reach orbit.
10 February
04:03[41]
United States Atlas V 411 AV-087[42] United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States ULA
Europe Solar Orbiter ESA Heliocentric Heliophysics In orbit Operational
15 February
20:21:04[47]
United States Antares 230+ United States MARS LP-0A United States Northrop Grumman
United States Cygnus NG-13
S.S. Robert H. Lawrence
NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 29 May Successful
United States Red-Eye 2 DARPA Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States Red-Eye 3 DARPA Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States DeMi MIT Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States TechEdSat-10 (TES-10)[48] NASA Low Earth Technology demonstration 15 March 2021 Successful
Red-Eye 2, Red-Eye 3, DeMi, and the ELaNa 30 satellite TES-10 were carried within the Cygnus spacecraft and will be released into orbit at a later date.[43] Red-Eye 2 was deployed into orbit from ISS on 17 June 2020.[44] Red-Eye 3 was deployed into orbit on 23 June 2020.[45] DeMi and TechEdSat-10 were deployed on 13 July.[46]
17 February
15:05:55[49]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L4 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
18 February
22:18[50]
Europe Ariane 5 ECA VA252[51] France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Japan JCSAT-17[52] JSAT Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
South Korea GEO-KOMPSAT-2B[53][54] KARI Geosynchronous Ocean monitoring In orbit Operational
19 February
21:07[55][56]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y61[57] China Xichang LC-3 China CASC
China XJS-C SAST Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China XJS-D SAST Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China XJS-E HIT Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China XJS-F CAST Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
First Long March 2D launch from Xichang.
20 February
08:24:54[58][59]
Russia Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat-M Russia Plesetsk Site 43/3 Russia RVSN RF
Russia Meridian-M 9 (19L)[60] Ministry of Defence Molniya Communications In orbit Operational

March[edit]

7 March
04:50:31[66]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-082 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX CRS-20 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 7 April
18:50
Successful[67]
Japan G-SATELLITE TOCOG / University of Tokyo Low Earth Space advertising In orbit Operational
Guatemala Quetzal-1 (Guatesat-1)[68] UVG Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States Lynk-04 (Lynk the World)[69][70] Lynk Global Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Final flight of Dragon 1. G-SATELLITE (Gundam Satellite) carries two miniature Gundam figurines to promote the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Quetzal-1 is Guatemala's first satellite.[61] G-SATELLITE and Quetzal-1 were deployed into orbit from the ISS on 28 April 2020.[62][63][64] Lynk the World, Lynk's fourth satellite, was launched to the ISS on this flight and deployed into space by the Cygnus NG-13 spacecraft on 13 May.[65]
9 March
11:55[71]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y69[23] China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
China BeiDou-3 G2Q[72] CNSA Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational
16 March
13:34[73][74]
China Long March 7A Y1 China Wenchang LC-2 China CASC
China Xinjishu Yanzheng-6 (XJY-6) TBA Geosynchronous Technology demonstration 16 March Launch failure
First flight of Long March 7A. Failed to reach orbit.
16 March
18:28[75]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat-M Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia RVSN RF
Russia GLONASS-M 760[76] VKS Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
18 March
12:16:39[77]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L5 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Fifth flight of booster B1048; recovery was not successful.
21 March
17:06:58[78]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat ST28[79] Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 France Arianespace / Russia Starsem
United Kingdom OneWeb × 34 OneWeb Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Baikonur flight 2.
24 March
03:43[80]
China Long March 2C 2C-Y42[81] China Xichang LC-3 China CASC
China Yaogan 30-06 01 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Yaogan 30-06 02 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Yaogan 30-06 03 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
26 March
20:18[83]
United States Atlas V 551 AV-086[42] United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States ULA
United States AEHF-6[84] U.S. Space Force Geosynchronous Military communications In orbit Operational
United States TDO-2[85] U.S. Space Force Highly elliptical Laser ranging In orbit Operational
The TDO-2 Cubesat was also known as OrCa (Orbital Calibration) by the team which designed it at Georgia Tech University.[82]

April[edit]

9 April
08:05:06[86]
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz MS-16 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 62/63 22 October
02:31
Successful
First crewed flight of Soyuz-2.1a.
9 April
11:46[88]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y71[23] China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
Indonesia Nusantara Dua (Palapa-N1) PSN / Indosat Geosynchronous Communications 9 April Launch failure
Intended to replace Palapa-D. Failed to reach orbit.[87]
22 April
03:59[89]
Iran Qased Iran Shahrud Missile Test Site Iran IRGC
Iran Noor 1[90] IRGC Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
First launch of the Qased.
22 April
19:30:30[91]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L6 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
25 April
01:51:41[92]
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress MS-14 / 75P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 29 April 2021
00:42:27[93]
Successful

May[edit]

5 May
10:00[6]
China Long March 5B Y1[97] China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC
China Chinese next-generation crewed spacecraft CMSA Highly elliptical Flight test 8 May
05:49
Successful
China Flexible Inflatable Cargo Return Module[98] CASIC Low Earth Technology demonstration 6 May Spacecraft failure
First flight of Long March 5B, testing a new crewed spacecraft.[7] The capsule successfully returned to Earth on 8 May, following on-orbit testing.[94][95] An experimental secondary payload, meant to test inflatable heat shield reentry technologies, malfunctioned during its return to Earth on 6 May.[96]
12 May
01:16[99]
China Kuaizhou 1A Y6[100] China Jiuquan LA-4 China ExPace
China Xingyun-2 01 Xingyun Satellite Co. Low Earth (SSO) IoT In orbit Operational
China Xingyun-2 02 Xingyun Satellite Co. Low Earth (SSO) IoT In orbit Operational
Xingyun-2 01/02 are the first two small satellites launched for the Xingyun narrow-band Internet of Things constellation to perform data relay and tracking services. The constellation will eventually consist of 80 such satellites.[99]
17 May
13:14:00[101][102]
United States Atlas V 501 AV-081[42] United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States ULA
United States USSF-7 (X-37B OTV-6) U.S. Space Force Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States FalconSAT-8 U.S. Air Force Academy Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
20 May
17:31:00[103]
Japan H-IIB F9 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y2 Japan MHI
Japan HTV-9 JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 20 August
07:07
Successful
Final HTV cargo launch, and final flight of the H-IIB rocket. The HTV-X and H3 rocket will replace them, respectively.
22 May
07:31:17[104][105]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia RVSN RF
Russia EKS-4 (Tundra 14L)[106] VKS Molniya Early warning In orbit Operational
25 May
19:50[107]
United States LauncherOne F1 United States Cosmic Girl, Mojave United States Virgin Orbit
United States Dummy payload Virgin Orbit Low Earth Flight test 25 May Launch failure
United States Starshine 4[109] NASA Low Earth Education 25 May Launch failure
First orbital flight of LauncherOne. Mission was terminated shortly after first stage ignition.[107][108]
29 May
20:13[110][111]
China Long March 11 China Xichang LC-4[112] China CASC
China XJS-G CAS Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China XJS-H NUDT Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
30 May
19:22:45[115][116]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-085 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States SpX-DM2 Endeavour SpaceX / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 63 / Crewed flight test 2 August
18:48
Successful
Crew Dragon Demo 2: Crewed flight test of SpaceX Dragon 2 as part of the Commercial Crew Development program. Mission successfully concluded on 2 August after two months in space.[113] First crewed orbital spaceflight with a private spacecraft.[114]
31 May
08:53[117][118]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y51 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Gaofen-9 02[119] CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China HEAD-4[120] HEAD Aerospace Low Earth (SSO) AIS ship tracking In orbit Operational

June[edit]

4 June
01:25:33[18][121]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L7 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Fifth flight of booster B1049; recovery was successful (first booster to be recovered after 5th flight).
10 June
18:31:24[122][123]
China Long March 2C 2C-Yxx[57] China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China HaiYang 1D Ministry of Natural Resources Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
13 June
05:12:12[129]
United States Electron "Don't Stop Me Now"[130] New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
United States Photon (Pathfinder)[131] Rocket Lab Low Earth Flight test In orbit Operational
United States ANDESITE Mule + Node × 8[127] Boston University Low Earth Auroral science
Technology demonstration
In orbit Operational
United States USA-301[132] NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-302[132] NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-303[132] NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
Australia M2 Pathfinder UNSW Canberra Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Launch of the ELaNa 32 mission,[124] plus additional payloads.[125] ANDESITE will conduct magnetospheric research using an experimental fractionated formation of eight picosatellites, to be deployed after reaching orbit.[126][127] Three NRO payloads were deployed as part of RASR-2.[128]
13 June
09:21:18[134]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L8 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 58 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
United States SkySat 16–18[135] Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
First SmallSat Rideshare mission launch.[133]
17 June
07:19[136][137]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y52 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Gaofen-9 03[119] CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China HEAD-5 HEAD Aerospace Low Earth (SSO) AIS ship tracking In orbit Operational
China Pixing-3A Zhejiang University Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
23 June
01:43[139][140]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y68 China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
China BeiDou-3 G3Q[72] CNSA Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational
Last satellite of the BeiDou-3 constellation to be launched, completing the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.[138]
30 June
20:10:46[142][143]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-088 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States GPS IIIA-03 Matthew Henson U.S. Space Force Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
Named after African-American polar explorer Matthew Henson. Originally named Columbus.[141]

July[edit]

3 July
03:10[144][145]
China Long March 4B 4B-Y43 China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China Gaofen Duomo (Multi-Mode) CAST Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Xibaipo (BY70-2) Luquan No.1 Middle School Low Earth (SSO) Popular science In orbit Operational
4 July
21:19:36[147]
United States Electron "Pics Or It Didn't Happen" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
Japan CE-SAT-IB Canon Inc. Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation 4 July Launch failure
United States Flock-4e × 5 Planet Labs Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation 4 July Launch failure
United Kingdom Faraday-1 In-Space Missions Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration 4 July Launch failure
Failed during second stage flight.[146]
4 July
23:44[148]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y29[57] China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Shiyan-6 02 CAST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
6 July
01:00[149][150]
Israel Shavit-2 Israel Palmachim Airbase Israel IAI
Israel Ofeq 16 Israel Ministry of Defence Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
9 July
12:11:04[151][152]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y64 China Xichang LC-3 China CASC
China APStar 6D APT Satellite Co. Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
10 July
04:17[154][155]
China Kuaizhou 11 China Jiuquan LA-4 China ExPace
China Bilibili Video Satellite (Jilin-1 Gaofen-02E)[156] Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation 10 July Launch failure
China CentiSpace-1 S2 (Xiangrikui 2) Beijing Future Navigation Technology Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration 10 July Launch failure
First flight of Kuaizhou 11.[153] The rocket failed to reach space.
15 July
13:46[158]
United States Minotaur IV / Orion 38 United States MARS LP-0B United States Northrop Grumman
United States USA-305 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-306 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-307 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-308 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
NROL-129 mission.[157]
19 July
21:58:14[159][160]
Japan H-IIA 202[161] F42 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
United Arab Emirates Hope (Al-Amal) Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre TMI to Areocentric Mars orbiter In orbit Operational
Emirates Mars Mission; first Emirati space probe.
20 July
21:30[162]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-089 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
South Korea ANASIS-II[163] Republic of Korea Army Geosynchronous Military communications In orbit Operational
South Korea's first dedicated military communications satellite.
23 July
04:41[164]
China Long March 5 Y4[97] China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC
China Tianwen-1 CNSA TMI to Areocentric Mars orbiter and rover In orbit Operational
China Tianwen-1 Deployable Camera CNSA TMI (Martian flyby) Photography In orbit Successful
China Drop Camera[165] CNSA TMI to Areocentric Mars lander / Photography In orbit Successful
China's first independent Mars mission.
23 July
14:26:21[168]
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress MS-15 / 76P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 9 February 2021
09:13[169]
Successful
It was initially planned for this Progress vehicle to deorbit the Pirs module to make way for the arrival of Nauka in early 2021. This was later delayed to a subsequent mission.[166][167]
25 July
03:13[170][171]
China Long March 4B 4B-Y45 China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China Ziyuan III-03 Ministry of Natural Resources Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Tianqi-10 Guodian Gaoke Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China Lobster Eye X-ray Explorer (NJU-HKU №1)[172][173] NJU / HKU Low Earth (SSO) X-ray astronomy In orbit Operational
30 July
11:50[175]
United States Atlas V 541 AV-088 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States ULA
United States Perseverance NASA / JPL TMI to Martian surface Mars rover 18 February 2021
20:43:42[176]
Landed on Mars; Operational
United States Ingenuity NASA / JPL TMI to Martian surface Mars aircraft Landed on Mars
Mars 2020 mission.[174]
30 July
21:25:19[177]
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M P4 Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Ekspress 80 RSCC Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Ekspress 103 RSCC Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational

August[edit]

6 August
04:01:54[178][179]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y56 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Gaofen-9 04 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Q-SAT[180] Tsinghua University Low Earth (SSO) Gravitational research
Atmospheric science
In orbit Operational
7 August
05:12:05[183]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L9 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 57 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
United States BlackSky 5 (Global-7) BlackSky Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States BlackSky 6 (Global-8) BlackSky Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
Starlink SmallSat Rideshare mission to deploy BlackSky Global 7 and 8;[181] first Starlink rideshare contracted with Spaceflight Industries, dubbed "SXRS-1".[182]
15 August
22:04[185]
Europe Ariane 5 ECA VA253 France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Japan BSAT-4b BSAT Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
United States Galaxy 30 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
United States MEV-2 Northrop Grumman Geosynchronous Satellite servicing In orbit Operational
MEV-2 successfully docked with Intelsat 10-02 on 12 April 2021.[184]
18 August
14:31:16[186]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L10 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 58 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
United States SkySat 19–21[187] Planet Labs Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
Starlink SmallSat Rideshare mission to deploy SkySat 19–21.
23 August
02:27:04[188][189]
China Long March 2D 2D-Y57 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Gaofen-9 05 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Tiantuo-5 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China Duo Gongneng Shiyan Weixing AMS Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
30 August
23:18:56[190]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-092 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
Argentina SAOCOM 1B CONAE Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States EG-2 (Tyvak-0172)[191][192] EchoStar Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Spacecraft failure
United States GNOMES-1[193] PlanetIQ Low Earth (SSO) Radio occultation In orbit Operational
First polar orbit mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station since ESSA-9 in 1969. SmallSat Rideshare mission to deploy Tyvak-0172 and GNOMES-1.
31 August
03:05:47[194]
United States Electron "I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
United States Sequoia (Capella 2) Capella Space Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Photon (First Light) Rocket Lab Low Earth Flight test In orbit Operational[195]
Return-to-flight mission for Electron. Second launch of the Photon satellite bus.

September[edit]

3 September
01:51:10[203][204]
Europe Vega VV16 France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
United States Athena Facebook[205] Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
Canada ESAIL[196] exactEarth Low Earth (SSO) AIS ship tracking In orbit Operational
Canada GHGSat-C1 (Iris)[206][197] GHGSat Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Canada Slovenia NEMO-HD[196][197] UTIAS / Space-SI Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Argentina ÑuSat 6 (Hypatia)[207] Satellogic Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Spain UPM-Sat 2[196] UPM Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration
Education
In orbit Operational
Italy ION CubeSat Carrier 1 (ION SCV LUCAS)[196] D-Orbit Low Earth (SSO) CubeSat deployer In orbit Operational[208]
United States Flock-4v × 26[209] Planet Labs Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
France Russia AMICal SAT[196] CSUG / MSU Low Earth (SSO) Auroral science In orbit Operational
Israel Switzerland Italy DIDO-3[197] SpacePharma / ISA / ASI Low Earth (SSO) Microgravity research In orbit Operational
Spain FSSCAT A and B[197][210] UPC Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 × 8[196] Spire Global Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational (6/8)
Monaco OSM-1 Cicero[201][211] OSM Low Earth (SSO) Radio occultation In orbit Operational
Thailand NAPA-1 (RTAFSAT-1)[197][212] RTAF Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Belgium PICASSO[197] BIRA-IASB Low Earth (SSO) Atmospheric research In orbit Operational
Belgium SIMBA[197] RMI Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States SpaceBEE × 12[196] Swarm Technologies Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
Canada TARS[196] Kepler Communications Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
Slovenia TRISAT[197] University of Maribor Low Earth (SSO) Education In orbit Operational
Estonia TTÜ100[197] TalTech Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States EG-1 (Tyvak-0171)[196][191][192] EchoStar Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Partial spacecraft failure; Operational
Small Satellites Mission Service Proof of Concept (SSMS PoC) mission.[196][197] Return to flight for Vega after the July 2019 launch failure. 53 satellites were deployed by the SSMS dispenser, including 14 Flock CubeSats carried on SSMS QuadPack deployers, while 12 additional Flock CubeSats were deployed separately by the ION SCV LUCAS satellite.[198][196][199] NEMO-HD and TRISAT are Slovenia's first satellites,[200] and OSM-1 Cicero is Monaco's first satellite.[201] Two of the Lemur-2 CubeSats failed to deploy, leading them to de-orbit along with the fourth stage of the Vega booster.[202]
3 September
12:46:14[213]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L11 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
4 September
07:30[214][215]
China Long March 2F/T 2F-T3[57] China Jiuquan SLS-1 China CASC
China Chongfu Shiyong Shiyan Hangtian Qi (Reusable Experimental Spacecraft) CASC Low Earth Flight test 6 September
02:00[216]
Successful
China Unidentified satellite[217] CASC Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Chinese experimental reusable spaceplane.
7 September
05:57[218][219]
China Long March 4B 4B-Y46 China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China Gaofen 11-02 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
12 September
03:19[222][223]
United States Rocket 3 Rocket 3.1 United States Kodiak LP-3B United States Astra
United States Astra Test Payload Astra Low Earth Flight test 12 September Launch failure
First flight of Rocket 3. Failed during first stage flight. Originally intended to be the second of two launches for the DARPA Launch Challenge, Rocket 3.1's launch was Astra's first orbital launch attempt following the loss of Rocket 3.0 during a prelaunch test in March 2020.[220][221]
12 September
05:02[224][225]
China Kuaizhou 1A Y3[100] China Jiuquan SLS-2 China ExPace
China Jilin-1 Gaofen-02C Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation 12 September Launch failure
15 September
01:23[226]
China Long March 11H Y2 China De Bo 3 Launch Platform, Yellow Sea China CASC
China Jilin-1 Gaofen-03B × 6 Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Jilin-1 Gaofen-03C × 3 Chang Guang Satellite Technology Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Second Long March 11 sea launch.
21 September
05:40[227][228]
China Long March 4B 4B-Y41 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China HaiYang 2C Ministry of Natural Resources Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
27 September
03:23[229]
China Long March 4B 4B-Y42 China Taiyuan LC-9 China CASC
China Huanjing 2A CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Huanjing 2B CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
28 September
11:20[230]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Gonets-M 17[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Gonets-M 18[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Gonets-M 19[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Finland ICEYE X6[232] ICEYE Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Finland ICEYE X7[232] ICEYE Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Germany SALSAT[232][233] TU Berlin Low Earth (SSO) Spectrum analysis In orbit Operational
Canada Kepler × 2[234] Kepler Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
Lithuania LacunaSat-3[232][235] NanoAvionics / Lacuna Space Low Earth (SSO) IoT In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 × 4[232] Spire Global Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United Arab Emirates MeznSat[232][236] Khalifa University / AURAK Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
Germany NetSat × 4[232][237] ZFT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Russia Descartes[238] MSU Low Earth (SSO) Space weather In orbit Operational
Russia Norby[238] NSU Low Earth (SSO) Space weather In orbit Operational
Russia Yarilo × 2[232][239] BMSTU / Lebedev Physical Institute Low Earth (SSO) Heliophysics In orbit Operational

October[edit]

3 October
01:16:14[241]
United States Antares 230+ United States MARS LP-0A United States Northrop Grumman
United States Cygnus NG-14
S.S. Kalpana Chawla[242]
NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 26 January 2021
20:23
Successful[243]
United States Bobcat-1 Ohio University Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States NEUTRON-1 University of Hawaii Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States SPOC University of Georgia Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Djara[244] ONI Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Canada DESCENT York University Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Israel SATLLA-1[245] Ariel University Low Earth Education In orbit Operational
The ELaNa 31 mission launched on this resupply flight.[124] All CubeSats launched on this mission were successfully deployed on 5 November 2020.[240]
6 October
11:29:34[246]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L12 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
11 October
16:57[247][248]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y63[249] China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
China Gaofen-13 SASTIND Geosynchronous Earth observation In orbit Operational
14 October
05:45:04[18][250]
Russia Soyuz-2.1a Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz MS-17 Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 63/64 17 April 2021
04:55[251]
Successful
18 October
12:25:57[252]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L13 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
24 October
15:31:34[253]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L14 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
25 October
19:08:42[255][256]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/3 Russia RVSN RF
Russia GLONASS-K 15 (K1 №3)[257] VKS Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
Also known as GLONASS-K 705. Replaced Kosmos 2516 (GLONASS-M 753) following its failure in November 2020.[254]
26 October
15:19[258]
China Long March 2C 2C-Y43 China Xichang LC-3 China CASC
China Yaogan 30-07 01 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Yaogan 30-07 02 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Yaogan 30-07 03 CAS Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Tianqi-6 Guodian Gaoke Low Earth IoT In orbit Operational
28 October
21:21:27[259][260]
United States Electron "In Focus" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
Japan CE-SAT-IIB Canon Inc. Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States Flock-4e' × 9 Planet Labs Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational

November[edit]

5 November
23:24:23[261]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-097 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States GPS IIIA-04 Sacagawea U.S. Space Force Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
Named after the Shoshone woman Sacagawea, who helped guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition.[141]
6 November
03:19[262][263]
China Long March 6 Y3 China Taiyuan LC-16 China CASC
Argentina ÑuSat × 10 Satellogic Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Taiyuan (BY-03)[264] Jinshan Middle School / Origin Space Low Earth (SSO) Education / Ultraviolet astronomy In orbit Operational
China Tianyan 05 (UESTC)[264] ADASpace / MinoSpace Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Beihangkongshi-1[265] Spacety Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
ÑuSat 9–18.[207] Beihangkongshi-1 carries the first iodine electric space propulsion system to be tested in space.
7 November
07:12[266][267]
China Ceres-1 China Jiuquan China Galactic Energy
China Tianqi-11 Guodian Gaoke Low Earth (SSO) IoT In orbit Operational
First flight of Ceres-1.
7 November
09:41[268][269]
India PSLV-DL C49 India Satish Dhawan FLP India ISRO
India EOS-01 (RISAT-2BR2)[270] ISRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
Luxembourg KSM × 4[271] Kleos Space Low Earth Navigation In orbit Operational
United States Lemur-2 × 4 Spire Global Low Earth Earth observation In orbit Operational
Lithuania R2 (LacunaSat-2)[272] NanoAvionics Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
12 November
15:59:04[273][274]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y73 China Xichang LC-2 China CASC
China Tiantong-1 02 China Satcom Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
13 November
22:32[275]
United States Atlas V 531 AV-090[42] United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States ULA
United States NROL-101 NRO Molniya Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
The first GEM 63 solid rocket motors flew on this mission. May be an SDS satellite.
16 November
00:27:17[277]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-098 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX Crew-1 Resilience SpaceX / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 64/65 2 May 2021
06:56
Successful
Carrying four astronauts. Second crewed and first operational Crew Dragon mission, as part of the Commercial Crew Program.[276]
17 November
01:52:20[279]
Europe Vega VV17[280] France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Spain SEOSat-Ingenio ESA / CDTI / INTA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation 17 November Launch failure
France TARANIS CNES Low Earth (SSO) TLE observation 17 November Launch failure
Mission failure due to human error. Cables leading to thrust vector control actuators were inverted during engine assembly, causing the AVUM upper stage to tumble upon ignition.[278]
20 November
02:20:01[285]
United States Electron "Return to Sender" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
United States Alchemy (DragRacer A) TriSept Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration 19 July 2021 Successful
United States Augury (DragRacer B) TriSept Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
France BRO-2 UnseenLabs Low Earth (SSO) SIGINT In orbit Operational
France BRO-3 UnseenLabs Low Earth (SSO) SIGINT In orbit Operational
New Zealand APSS-1 (Waka Āmiorangi Aotearoa) University of Auckland Low Earth (SSO) Ionospheric research In orbit Spacecraft failure[286]
United States Landmapper-BC 5[287] Astro Digital Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
United States SpaceBEE × 18 Swarm Technologies Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
New Zealand SpaceBEE NZ × 6 Swarm Technologies NZ Low Earth (SSO) Communications In orbit Operational
United States Gnome Chompski[288] Gabe Newell Low Earth Charity / Mass simulator In orbit Operational
The DragRacer mission tested Tethers Unlimited's Terminator Tape, an electrodynamic tether that can passively de-orbit satellites in order to reduce space debris.[281][282] Alchemy, the tethered satellite, was expected to take 45 days to de-orbit; Augury, the untethered satellite, was expected to take up to 9 years.[283] Alchemy re-entered the atmosphere on 19 July 2021, after 241 days in orbit.[284] First stage recovery using parachutes was successfully attempted on this flight, with the intact booster splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
21 November
17:17:08[289]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-099 United States Vandenberg SLC-4E United States SpaceX
United States Europe Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich NASA / NOAA / ESA / Eumetsat Low Earth Oceanography In orbit Operational
23 November
20:30:12[291]
China Long March 5 Y5[97] China Wenchang LC-1 China CASC
China Chang'e 5 lander CNSA Selenocentric Lunar lander 1 December
15:11
Successful
China Chang'e 5 ascender CNSA Selenocentric Space rendezvous 7 December
23:30
Successful
China Chang'e 5 orbiter CNSA Initial: Selenocentric
Current: Sun–Earth L1
Lunar orbiter In orbit Operational
China Chang'e 5 return capsule CNSA Selenocentric Lunar sample return 16 December
17:59
Successful
China's first lunar sample return mission. Lunar landing was confirmed on 1 December. The reentry capsule landed on Earth on 16 December and safely delivered 1.7 kg (3.7 lb) of lunar soil and rock samples. The orbiter is currently on an extended mission to the Sun–Earth L1 point.[290]
25 November
02:13:12[292]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 Starlink V1.0-L15 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Starlink × 60 SpaceX Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
First time that a Falcon 9 first-stage booster (B1049.7) has been launched and recovered for the seventh time.
29 November
07:25[293][294]
Japan H-IIA 202 F43 Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
Japan JDRS-1 (LUCAS)[295] CAS / JAXA Geosynchronous Data relay In orbit Operational
Japanese Optical Data Relay Satellite.

December[edit]

2 December
01:33:28[296]
Russia Soyuz ST-A / Fregat-M VS24 France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
United Arab Emirates FalconEye-2 UAE Armed Forces Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance (IMINT) In orbit Operational
3 December
01:14:36[297][298]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/3 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Gonets-M 20[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Gonets-M 21[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Gonets-M 22[231] Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia ERA-1 (Kosmos 2548)[299] Ministry of Defence Low Earth Military In orbit Operational
6 December
03:58[300][301]
China Long March 3B/E 3B-Y70 China Xichang LC-3 China CASC
China Gaofen-14 SASTIND Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
First Long March 3B launch to sun-synchronous orbit.
6 December
16:17:08[302]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-101 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX CRS-21 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 14 January 2021 Successful
United States Nanoracks Bishop Airlock Nanoracks / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Satellite deployment / ISS assembly In orbit Operational
First flight of the cargo version of Dragon 2. Nanoracks Bishop Airlock launched aboard this resupply flight.
The airlock is now docked to the ISS as of 12/22/20.
9 December
20:14[303][304]
China Long March 11 Y9[112] China Xichang LC-4 China CASC
China GECAM A and B[305] CAS Low Earth Gravitational-wave astronomy In orbit Operational
11 December
01:09[306]
United States Delta IV Heavy D-385 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States ULA
United States Orion 10 / NROL-44[307] NRO Geosynchronous Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
First launch from the newly renamed Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
13 December
17:30[309]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-102 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States SXM-7[310] Sirius XM Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Spacecraft failure
Replacement for the XM-3 satellite launched in 2005. While conducting in-orbit testing the satellite experienced payload unit failures. Exact cause has not been announced.[308]
14 December
05:50:00[311][312]
Russia Angara A5 / Briz-M Russia Plesetsk Site 35/1 Russia RVSN RF
Russia IPM 2 (dummy payload)[313] VKS Geosynchronous Flight test In orbit Successful
Second orbital flight of Angara A5.
15 December
10:09:27[18][314]
United States Electron "The Owl's Night Begins" New Zealand Mahia LC-1A United States Rocket Lab
Japan StriX-α Synspective Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
15 December
20:55[316][317]
United States Rocket 3 Rocket 3.2 United States Kodiak LP-3B United States Astra
No payload Astra Low Earth (SSO) Flight test 15 December Launch failure
Second of three Rocket 3 orbital launch attempts. Successfully achieved an apogee of 390 km (240 mi), but fell just short of orbital velocity due to a suboptimal second stage fuel mixture.[315]
17 December
10:11[319]
India PSLV-XL C50[320] India Satish Dhawan SLP India ISRO
India CMS-01 (GSAT-12R) ISRO Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Replacement for GSAT-12.[318]
18 December
12:26:26[322]
Russia Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat ST29 Russia Vostochny Site 1S France Arianespace / Russia Starsem
United Kingdom OneWeb × 36 OneWeb Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Vostochny flight 1. Third large batch of satellites, and the first after bankruptcy in early 2020.[321]
19 December
14:00[324]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 F9-103 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States USA-312 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
United States USA-313 NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
NROL-108 mission.[323]
22 December
04:37:37[325][326][327]
China Long March 8 Y1 China Wenchang LC-2[328] China CASC
China Xinjishu Yanzheng-7 (XJY-7) CAST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China Hisea-1[329] Spacety Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Tianqi-8 (Ping'an-1) Guodian Gaoke Low Earth (SSO) IoT In orbit Operational
China Yuanguang Spacety / HBUT Low Earth (SSO) Space tribology In orbit Operational
Ethiopia China ET-SMART-RSS (Zhixing-1A)[330] ESSTI / SMART Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
First flight of Long March 8.
27 December
15:44[331]
China Long March 4C 4C-Y35 China Jiuquan SLS-2 China CASC
China Yaogan 33(R) CAS Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational
China Weina-2 SECM Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
Replacement for Yaogan 33, which was lost in a launch failure on 22 May 2019.
29 December
16:42:07[332][333]
Russia Soyuz ST-A / Fregat-M VS25 France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
France CSO-2 CNES / DGA Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational

Suborbital flights[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
9 January
08:00:00
Japan S-310 45 Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
JAXA Suborbital Technology 9 January Successful
Apogee: 131 km[334]
19 January India K-4 India Visakhapatnam India Indian Navy
Indian Navy Suborbital Missile test 19 January Successful
Apogee: 500 km? The missile was from a submerged platform located in the coastal waters of Andhra Pradesh. This test was undertaken in full operational configuration during which the missile traversed a distance of over 3,500 km in approximately 21 minutes.[335]
19 January
15:30[340]
United States Falcon 9 Block 5 United States Kennedy LC-39A United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX Dragon 2 SpaceX Suborbital Test flight 19 January Successful
Apogee: 40 km.[336] In-flight abort test at Max Q. It was planned that the capsule from the first demonstration mission SpX-DM1 would be used, but that capsule having been subsequently destroyed after the mission in a fire during a ground-test, a new capsule was assigned for this mission.[337][338][339]
24 January India K-4 India Visakhapatnam India Indian Navy
Indian Navy Suborbital Missile test 24 January Successful
Apogee: 500 km?
27 January
13:40
Canada Black Brant IX United States Poker Flat Research Range United States NASA
United States PolarNOx 2 Virginia Tech Suborbital Thermosphere research 27 January Successful
Apogee: 260 kilometres (160 mi)
5 February
08:33
United States Minuteman-III United States Vandenberg Air Force Base LF-04 United States US Air Force
United States FTU-2 US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 5 February Successful
12 February United States UGM-133 Trident II United States USS Maine (SSBN-741), Pacific Missile Range Facility United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital Missile test 12 February Successful
Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 30
16 February United States UGM-133 Trident II United States USS Maine (SSBN-741), Pacific Missile Range Facility United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital Missile test 16 February Successful
Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 30
19 February
23:14
United States Improved Malemute Sweden Esrange Sweden SSC
SPIDER-2 SNSA Suborbital Atmospheric analysis 19 February Successful
Apogee 120 km (74 mi)
20 March
08:30
United States UGM-27 Polaris (STARS) United States Barking Sands LC-42 United States US Navy
United States C-HGB US Navy Suborbital Technology 20 March Successful
Common-Hypersonic Glide Body, successful hypersonic glide vehicle test.[341]
15 April
15:00 [342]
Russia PL-19 "Nudol" Russia Plesetsk cosmodrome Russia
Suborbital Missile test 15 April Successful
Anti-satellite missile test
12 June France M51 France Le Téméraire, Audierne Bay France DGA/Marine nationale
DGA/Marine nationale Suborbital Test flight 12 June Successful
Apogee: 1,000 kilometres (620 mi)?
14 June Japan Momo 5 Japan Taiki Aerospace Research Field Japan Interstellar Technologies
Japan Kochi University of Technology Suborbital ? 14 June Launch failure
About 35 seconds into flight, sparks were observed near the engine nozzle. About thirty seconds later, the engine failed and the rocket tumbled out of control.
4 August
07:21
United States Minuteman-III United States Vandenberg Air Force Base LF-10 United States US Air Force
United States 3x Mk 12 RV US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 4 August Successful
Mission GT-235GM
12 August Israel Silver Sparrow? Israel F-15 Eagle, Israel Israel IAF
Israeli Air Force Suborbital ABM target 12 August Successful
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)?, AST-18a target, successfully intercepted by Arrow 2
16 August [344] United Kingdom Skylark Micro Launch I Iceland Langanes Peninsula Launch Site United Kingdom Skyrora
Skyrora Suborbital Test flight 16 August Successful
Maiden flight of Skylark Micro. Apogee: 26,86 km.[343]
2 September
07:03
United States Minuteman-III United States Vandenberg Air Force Base LF-04 United States US Air Force
United States 1x RV US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 2 September Successful
Mission GT-233GM
8 September
18:00[345]
Canada Black Brant IX United States White Sands Missile Range United States NASA
United States Japan DUST-2 NASA / JAXA Suborbital Formation and growth of small particles 8 September Successful
Apogee: 346 kilometres (215 mi)
19 September
00:39
Netherlands T-Minus Engineering Dart TED-1 Australia Koonibba Test Range Netherlands T-Minus Engineering
Australia DEWC-SP1 DEWC Systems Suborbital Miniaturized Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor System 19 September Successful
First flight of the T-minus Dart. First Dutch space launch
19 September
02:19
Netherlands T-Minus Engineering Dart TED-2 Australia Koonibba Test Range Netherlands T-Minus Engineering
Australia DEWC-SP2 DEWC Systems Suborbital Miniaturized Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor System 19 September Successful
Flew 1 hour and 40 minutes after the previous flight.
13 October
13:36
United States New Shepard NS-13 United States Corn Ranch United States Blue Origin
United States Crew Capsule 2.0 Blue Origin Suborbital Test flight/Payload delivery 13 October Successful
Principality of SealandUnited States Postcards[346] Club For The Future Suborbital Education 13 October Successful
7th flight of the same capsule and booster. Onboard payloads include Space Lab Technologies, Southwest Research Institute, seeds and postcards for Club for the Future, and multiple payloads for NASA including SPLICE to test future lunar landing technologies in support of the Artemis program. A Sealandic postcard was the first payload from Sealand to be sent into space.
29 October
19:27 [347]
United States Minuteman-III United States Vandenberg Air Force Base LF-09 United States US Air Force
United States 1x RV US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 29 October Successful
Mission GT-236GM
29 October[348] Turkey SR-0 Turkey Sinop Turkey Roketsan
Turkey Roketsan Suborbital Test flight 29 October Successful
Apogee 136 kilometers (84.5 mi).
2 November
10:20[349]
Canada Black Brant IX United States White Sands Missile Range United States NASA
United States DEUCE NASA Suborbital Astronomy 2 November Successful
Apogee: 285 kilometres (177 mi)
17 November
05:50[350][351]
United States ICBM-T2 FTM-44 Marshall Islands Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site United States US Missile Defense Agency
United States SM-3 target United States Suborbital Target for SM-3 FMT-44 17 November Successful
ICBM target for and intercepted by SM-3 FMT-44.
17 November
[350][351]
United States SM-3 Block IIA FTM-44 United States USS John Finn United States US Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Navy
United States Kill vehicle United States U.S. Navy Suborbital ICBM interceptor 17 November Successful
Intercepted ICBM-T2 in space.
9 December
[352][353]
Russia R-29RMU Russia Karelia (submarine), Barents Sea Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV? Suborbital Missile test 9 December Successful
9 December
[352][354]
Russia RS-24 Yars Russia Plesetsk cosmodrome Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV? Suborbital Missile test 9 December Successful
12 December
16:15 [356]
United States SpaceShipTwo 19 United States Spaceport America United States Virgin Galactic
United States VSS Unity Virgin Galactic Suborbital Crewed spaceflight 12 December Aborted
First attempted crewed spaceflight from New Mexico. One second after ignition, the spacecraft's engine aborted, and shut down. The two crewmembers aboard, David Mackay and Frederick Sturckow, piloted the spacecraft to a safe landing.[355]
12 December[357] Russia RSM-56 Bulava Russia K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (submarine), Sea of Okhotsk Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV Russian Ministry of Defense Suborbital Missile test 12 December Successful
Rapid launch of four intercontinental ballistic missiles.
12 December Russia RSM-56 Bulava Russia K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (submarine), Sea of Okhotsk Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV Russian Ministry of Defense Suborbital Missile test 12 December Successful
Rapid launch of four intercontinental ballistic missiles.
12 December Russia RSM-56 Bulava Russia K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (submarine), Sea of Okhotsk Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV Russian Ministry of Defense Suborbital Missile test 12 December Successful
Rapid launch of four intercontinental ballistic missiles.
12 December Russia RSM-56 Bulava Russia K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (submarine), Sea of Okhotsk Russia Russian Ministry of Defense
1x RV Russian Ministry of Defense Suborbital Missile test 12 December Successful
Rapid launch of four intercontinental ballistic missiles.
16 December
[358]
Russia PL-19 "Nudol" Russia Plesetsk cosmodrome Russia
Suborbital Missile test 16 December Successful
Anti-satellite missile test

Launches from the Moon[edit]

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
3 December
15:10 [359][360]
China Chang'e 5 ascent vehicle Chang'e 5 descent stage, Mons Rümker CNSA
China Lunar soil sample ChinaCNSA Selenocentric orbit Sample return 7 December 2020 Successful
Sample return mission. First flight of the Chang'e ascent stage. Rendezvoused and docked with the Chang'e 5 Earth return vehicle to transfer lunar soil samples for return to Earth.

Deep-space rendezvous[edit]

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
29 January Parker Solar Probe 4th perihelion
17 February Juno 25th perijove of Jupiter
10 April Juno 26th perijove
10 April BepiColombo Gravity assist at Earth
2 June Juno 27th perijove
7 June Parker Solar Probe 5th perihelion
11 July Parker Solar Probe Third gravity assist at Venus
25 July Juno 28th perijove
16 September Juno 29th perijove
27 September Parker Solar Probe 6th perihelion
16 October BepiColombo First gravity assist at Venus
20 October [361] OSIRIS-REx Touch-and-go maneuver on Bennu for sampling
8 November Juno 30th perijove
28 November Chang'e 5 Lunar orbital insertion [362]
1 December Chang'e 5 lander and ascent vehicle Lunar landing Sample return mission successfully landed in Mons Rümker region of Oceanus Procellarum, coordinates 43°03′27″N 51°54′58″E / 43.0576°N 51.9161°E / 43.0576; 51.9161.
5 December Chang'e 5 ascent vehicle and orbiter Lunar orbit rendezvous First-ever robotic rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit
5 December [363] Hayabusa2 Sample return to Earth
7 December Chang'e 5 ascent vehicle Lunar impact Intentional de-orbit following docking and transfer of samples to orbiter and reentry capsule
13 December Chang'e 5 orbiter and reentry capsule Trans-Earth injection
16 December Chang'e 5 reentry capsule Lunar sample return Perform a skip reentry to reduce the heating loads
26 December Solar Orbiter First gravity assist at Venus [364]
30 December Juno 31st perijove

Extravehicular activities (EVAs)[edit]

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
15 January 18:04 7 hours 29 minutes 01:33 Expedition 61

ISS Quest

United States Christina Koch

United States Jessica Meir

During the 7-hour, 29-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station's solar arrays.[365]

20 January 17:33 6 hours 58 minutes 00:31 Expedition 61

ISS Quest

United States Christina Koch

United States Jessica Meir

During the six hour and 58-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully completed the battery upgrade for one channel on one pair of the station's solar arrays.

Work included removing the last two nickel-hydrogen batteries from this area of the station's backbone near the port solar array and moving them to an external platform. The batteries will be stored there until they can be disposed of in the next Japanese HTV cargo spacecraft after it delivers tons of supplies to the space station later this year. Meir and Koch also installed the sixth and final new lithium-ion battery, and ground controllers verified the new batteries powered up successfully to provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for station operations.[366]

25 January 11:04 6 hours 16 minutes 17:20 Expedition 61

ISS Quest

United States Andrew Morgan

Italy Luca Parmitano

During the 6 hour, 16 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully completed leak checks for the cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and opened a valve to being pressurizing the system. Preliminary testing shows AMS is responding as expected.[367]

26 June 11:02 6 hours 7 minutes 17:39 Expedition 63

ISS Quest

United States Chris Cassidy

United States Robert Behnken

The spacewalkers removed five of six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed two of three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed two of three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that the two new batteries are working.
The two NASA astronauts completed all the work planned for this first of four spacewalks to replace batteries that provide power for the station's solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex as well as initial tasks originally planned for the second scheduled spacewalk next Wednesday. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.[368]
1 July 11:13 6 hours 1 minutes 17:14 Expedition 63

ISS Quest

United States Chris Cassidy

United States Robert Behnken

During the six hour and one-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed half the work to upgrade the batteries that provide power for one channel on one pair of the station's solar arrays. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

They successfully moved and connected one new, powerful lithium-ion battery and its adapter place to complete the circuit to the new battery and relocated one aging nickel-hydrogen battery to an external platform for future disposal.[369]

16 July 11:10 6 hours 17:10 Expedition 63

ISS Quest

United States Chris Cassidy

United States Robert Behnken

The two NASA astronauts completed all the work to replace batteries that provide power for the International Space Station's solar arrays on the starboard truss of the complex. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

The spacewalkers removed six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for the second of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed the three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries.[370]

21 July 11:12 5 hours 29 minutes 16:41 Expedition 63

ISS Quest

United States Chris Cassidy

United States Robert Behnken

The two NASA astronauts installed a protective storage unit that includes two Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) units the Canadian Space Agency's Dextre robot can use to detect leaks of ammonia, which is used to operate the station's cooling system. They removed two lifting fixtures at the base of station solar arrays on the near port truss, or backbone, of the station. The "H-fixtures" were used for ground processing of the solar arrays prior to their launch.

They then completed tasks to prepare the outside of the Tranquility module for the arrival later this year of the Nanoracks commercial airlock on a SpaceX cargo delivery mission. They also routed ethernet cables and removed a lens filter cover from an external camera.[371]

18 November 15:12 6 hours 48 minutes 22:00 Expedition 64

Poisk Airlock

Russia Sergey Ryzhikov

Russia Sergey Kud-Sverchkov

Spacewalk was conducted using Poisk Module airlock for the first time in 11 years.

This spacewalk includes works in preparation of Pirs module decommissioning and departure: relocated antenna and repositioned instruments Replacement of fluid flow regulator was not done as astronauts were unable to open new module compartment, this task was deferred to a future spacewalk.[372]

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. Launches from the Moon are not included in the statistics.

China: 39Europe: 5India: 2Iran: 2Israel: 1Japan: 4North Korea: 0Russia: 17Ukraine: 0USA: 44Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 China 39 35 4 0
 Europe 5 4 1 0
 India 2 2 0 0
 Iran 2 1 1 0
 Israel 1 1 0 0
 Japan 4 4 0 0
 Russia 17 17 0 0 Includes two European Soyuz launches from Kourou, French Guiana by Arianespace.
 United States 44 40 4 0 Includes seven Electron launches from Mahia
World 114 104 10 0

By rocket[edit]

By family[edit]

By type[edit]

By configuration[edit]

By spaceport[edit]

10
20
30
40
China
France
India
Iran
Israel
Japan
Kazakhstan
New Zealand
Russia
United States
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur  Kazakhstan 7 7 0 0
Cape Canaveral  United States 20 20 0 0
Jiuquan  China 13 11 2 0
Kennedy  United States 10 10 0 0
Kourou  France 7 6 1 0
Mahia  New Zealand 7 6 1 0
MARS  United States 3 3 0 0
Mojave  United States 1 0 1 0
PSCA  United States 2 0 2 0
Palmachim  Israel 1 1 0 0
Plesetsk  Russia 7 7 0 0
Satish Dhawan  India 2 2 0 0
Shahrud  Iran 1 1 0 0 First orbital launch
Semnan  Iran 1 0 1 0
Taiyuan  China 7 7 0 0
Tanegashima  Japan 4 4 0 0
Vandenberg  United States 1 1 0 0
Vostochny  Russia 1 1 0 0
Wenchang  China 5 4 1 0
Xichang  China 13 12 1 0
Yellow Sea  China 1 1 0 0
Total 114 104 10 0

By orbit[edit]

  •   Low Earth
  •   Low Earth (ISS)
  •   Low Earth (SSO)
  •   Low Earth (retrograde)
  •   Medium Earth
  •   Molniya
  •   Geosychronous
  •   Lunar transfer
  •   Heliocentric
  •  
Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not achieved Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric 0 0 0 0
Low Earth / Sun-synchronous 82 74 8 0 Including flights to the ISS
Geosynchronous / GTO 19 17 2 0
Medium Earth / Molniya 8 8 0 0
High Earth / Lunar transfer 1 1 0 0
Heliocentric orbit / Planetary transfer 4 4 0 0
Total 114 104 10 0

Suborbital launch statistics[edit]

By country[edit]

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of suborbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the rocket, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. Flights intended to fly below 80 km (50 mi) are omitted.

Canada: 3France: 1India: 2Israel: 1Japan: 2The Netherlands: 2Russia: 8Turkey: 1USA: 11Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 Canada 3 3 0 0
 France 1 1 0 0
 India 2 2 0 0
 Israel 1 1 0 0
 Japan 2 1 1 0
 Netherlands 2 2 0 0 Includes T-Minus Dart launches from Australia
 Russia 8 8 0 0
 Turkey 1 1 0 0
 United States 11 11 0 0
World 31 30 1 0

First successful orbital launch[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Clockwise from top:

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