Talk:Timeline of first orbital launches by country

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German/US V-2 Rockets[edit]

Technically speaking, these were the first man made "objects" to make it to space, well before Sputnik, but a full orbit was never achieved until Sputnik. Not sure if that is worth mentioning.

Alouette 1?[edit]

I realize it was launched by the Americans, but this satellite has all-Canadian engineering. What are the precise guidelines concerning this list? Radagast 04:50, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

From the intro: "have sent objects into orbit using their own launch systems. " Rmhermen 23:57, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Yup, building a sattelite is meaningless unless you can launch it. Vastu 09:42, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, but shouldn't the Alouette be listed in the "Not Included" section if Australia's subsequent launch, also using an American launcher, is included? The Canadian satellite was launched in 1962. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:42, 11 April 2007 (UTC).
There are several other countries that have had satellites launched by third parties, not just Canada and Australia. Some of these have been developed "in-house", others contracted out to the third party with the more developed space program. This activity probably deserves a different list.--Pharos 17:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)


I thought their first launch in 1970 was a failure, and the launch infact took place in 1971? Or are we including 'almost successfull' launches, in which case, India's was 1979? Vastu 09:42, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

According to the article and its links the 1970 launch was a success - which is the purpose of this list -not failures. Rmhermen 00:19, 17 July 2006 (UTC)


Query: Why is the ESA included in this list, even if it is granted that it is a single entity? In any sense of which I am aware, the ESA is neither a nationality nor a nation, nor does it have standing in either category with the United Nations. "Nationality" implies a wide range of features, and the ESA exhibits virtually none of them. The ESA is a space agency. Perhaps a solution is the change the entry to refer to the "EU", instead.

However, a question may also be asked whether it is appropriate to include international efforts such as represented by the ESA as an entry on the list if international efforts such as Canada's and Australia's are not.

Further, please consider that the inclusion of the ESA means that the efforts of two of the ESA's countries (the U.K. and France) are double-counted, since they each are listed as having launched their own satellites. I have a philosophical problem with this double-counting, because part of the reason behind having the list of nationalities capable of satellite launches is the denotation of the level of development of such nationality. If, as patently obvious, two nations in and of themselves had already launched their own satellites, as is the case with Britain and France, then it is logical to conclude that their combined efforts would be sufficient to do so, as well. In this sense, the listing of ESA's launch is a mere superfluity because it only restates the obvious fact that the nations that make up the ESA are satellite launch-capable. We already know this from the fact that France, a founding member of the ESA, launched its first satellite well prior to the formation of the ESA. This said, therefore, what does naming the ESA's first launch contribute to our understanding of "nationalities" and their capability to launch satellites into space?

This also raises the question of the Soviet Union and Russia (and perhaps, Ukraine). See below. But the ESA is an actual space agency that is not a direct successor to anything else so it probably deserves its own entry.--Pharos 17:59, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Clearer guidelines - ESA, Ukraine, UK, France?[edit]

I suggest we need clearer guidelines. Which items of the following have to be "in-house" to a country for a launch to qualify: (1) the rocket, (2) the satellite, (3) the launch facility, (4) the space agency conducting the launch. The rocket seems like the most basic criterion, but if that's all we're looking at we've missed Ukraine's Zenit rocket and its other launchers, which however seems to fall short on the other points. Or is Ukraine's "first" already considered filled by the Soviet Union launches?--Pharos 17:33, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Few versions of Zenit-3 rockets that ordered by Russia and Sea Launch may be considered as Ukrainian-Russian (not a Ukrainian only) due to joint Ukrainian-Russian development and production of 1-st and 2-nd stages in Ukraine and of 3-rd stages in Russia. Two-staged Zenit-2 rocket is made fully by Ukraine but for purchase by Russia for Russian satellites only. But few times since 1995 Ukraine launched own satellites by Tsyklon rocket which produced completely in Ukraine like Zenit-2. About this case (similar to France and UK) see below (talk) 22:46, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I support the suggestion that ESA be removed -- it isn't a country or a nationality. I support the requirement that the launch vehicle and rocket engines must be manufactured in and launched from the territorial boundaries of the country in question. (Someone should figure out the first orbital launch from within post-Soviet Russia. Maybe a launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome?) I support the requirement that the organization performing the launch must be strongly associated with the nationality in question. I weakly oppose the requirement that the satellite payload must be constructed within the country in question, as this timeline is rather more about launch capability than it is about satellite construction. (In the power politics of launch capability, the satellites are mainly just placeholders for warheads anyway. ;-) (sdsds - talk) 07:13, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
But the problem is this would cut out Prospero X-3, which is I think a pretty widely-acknowledged "first launch" as the premier (and only) such effort by UK, which did however take off from Australian soil. So, if we agree to include the UK, and not add Ukraine, it seems we should go for (1) and (4).--Pharos 03:24, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


The ESA really doesn't fit into the "nationality" paradigm at all. Perhaps this should be renamed Timeline of first orbital launches by governmental space programs or something to that effect?--Pharos 18:14, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

This article has been renamed Timeline of first orbital launches by country as the result of a move request listed at Wikipedia:Requested moves. Dekimasuよ! 09:36, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't Ariel 3 count?[edit]

As early as 1967, Britain had launched its first satellite: Ariel 3. It was lauched from the USA, but it would still count as the first British orbital launch wouldn't it? The BBC describes it as "the first All-British satellite". --J. Atkins (talk | contribs) 10:51, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

It may have been an "all-British satellite", but it was launched by the American Scout rocket.--Pharos 09:33, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks; I've noted this in the Not included section.--J. Atkins (talk - contribs) 21:06, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
See Ariel 1 and Ariel programme. According to those, Britain was the third nation to put a satellite in space. (talk) 21:35, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
No they don't. Its launch in 1962 made the United Kingdom the third country to operate a satellite, after the Soviet Union and the USA.. "Operate" and "launch independantly" are two completely different things. ChiZeroOne (talk) 22:06, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
The section of the text being discussed isn't about independent launches, but rather satellite construction. The Canandian example that you reverted to is roughly the same as the British one; a Canadian built satellite that was launched by NASA from an American launchpad. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 22:42, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
What section of text being discussed? This comment is about Ariel 3. The change the IP made related to Ariel 1 and is false. No it is not equivalent, Ariel 1 was built by the US, not Britain. Alouette 1 was independantly built by Canada. ChiZeroOne (talk) 22:58, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
ChiZeroOne, I don't understand your position. What does the country in which the satellite was built have to do with this article? --GW 17:22, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Well everything according to the other comments made here in terms of whether it counts as a first. From above, "The section of the text being discussed isn't about independent launches, but rather satellite construction." as well as the first comment here. And indeed if you want to base things on sources I can find plenty that refer to Ariel 3 as the first British satellite (e.g. [1] etc). The article at present doesn't take a stance on what counts as a "British" or "Canadian" satellite so there's clearly going to be a disagreement about it. I, other commentors, and plenty of sources use the definition that the satellite be built by the country involved. Simply operating another country's satellite displays little capability, actually having the industrial capability to build satellites of your own however is significant. ChiZeroOne (talk) 22:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
One of the satellites mentioned explicitly is KazSat-1, which was built by Russia for Kazakhstan. The link which immediately precedes the disputed statement is to a list based on operator, not builder. In modern usage, operator is almost always used ([2], [3], etc). In either case the statement adds absolutely nothing to the article, and could just be removed. --GW 07:24, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

South Korea[edit]

A South Korean launch (Korea Space Launch Vehicle I [KSLV-I]) from their new spaceport is upcoming. But when? Initially reported as sometime in 2007, it now seems to have slipped to 2008[4]. Can we find anything more exact? Rmhermen 04:55, 12 October 2007 (UTC) might help provide some background info. (sdsds - talk) 06:47, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Don't worry, I'm sure we'll all hear about it when they do launch. I guess it's a race of sorts now between them and Brazil as to who will be next.--Pharos 17:24, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Brazil is back in the race? I missed that? Rmhermen 18:03, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Found this on Brazil: [5] It looks like they haven't even started rebuilding their spaceport yet. Rmhermen 18:06, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Another list needed[edit]

We're long overdue for a Timeline of first satellites by country. Time to clear out that Not included section.--Pharos 17:30, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that would likely be even more confused than this one. Is it a "first" if your country builds 50% of a satellite? Or builds one instrument? Rmhermen 18:02, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, there are two issues actually, building and ownership; Iran didn't build Sinah-1, but it is still considered an Iranian satellite. If we're going to have a cutoff for joint projects, I think 50% coming from the country would be a reasonable one.--Pharos 18:25, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
From our article, you can't tell that they didn't build Sinah-1, but that article is a mess. Rmhermen 18:41, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
It was in the original version, which I wrote back in 2005 when it was launched (Why was it deleted in the first place... national pride? the tendency toward entropy in the universe? who knows?). Anyway, I've restored that bit now. And I'm pretty sure Iran isn't alone in hiring another country to build their satellite.--Pharos 19:33, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Not included[edit]

The things that I removed were cluttering up the list.

  • The UK entry obviously does not belong here because the British government contracted NASA to do it for them.
  • The Iraq entry doesn’t even include a satellite.
  • The Iran entry was just a sounding rocket

There are dozens of launches that could be in the “not included” list, and I think there is really no reason to include these ones. – Zntrip 03:03, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the UK entry, are you saying that the Not included section only lists countries which coodinated their own launch but without their own launch vehicles (as, like you said, the UK contracted NASA for the launch)? If so, ok. However I remember seeing a documentary about the UK having launched satellites from the Isle of Wight (not sure, though). Thanks for your work on this article. --J. Atkins (talk - contribs) 15:22, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

That is what I'm saying. I looked up the Isle of Wight, but the rocket launches were just tests and they had no payloads. – Zntrip 22:46, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Zntrip: with this edit you, or someone using your account, added to the article several changes which are difficult to explain as anything other than vandalisms. This doesn't give you much credibility! Is there a good faith way to explain this? Did you perhaps have difficulty retyping some of the material? (sdsds - talk) 01:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Whoops, haven't been to this page in a while. As for the edit, I screwed up, but I fixed it with another edit. Anyway, that's old news now. – Zntrip 04:53, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Iran launches rocket[edit]

Iran launched a rocket today that put a test satellite in orbit marking the opening on their new space center and response to Israel's recent ICBM test. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:29, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Most reliable sources are reporting this as a sub-orbital launch of a test vehicle. The plan is to launch the first satellite on a subsequent vehicle. (sdsds - talk) 03:32, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

The satellite that was launched today is called the Safir. The future satellite is going to be called Ormid. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, DEBKAfile reports the name of the rocket as "Safir 1". They claim it reached space atop an "improved Shahab-3 which has a 4,000 km range". That doesn't make it a satellite in orbit! (sdsds - talk) 05:04, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Trimming down “Not included” section[edit]

For the sake of brevity and to exclude information that is moving away from the main focus of this page, I propose we remove all content regarding sub-orbital, failed, cancelled, or forthcoming programmes. – Zntrip 18:51, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree that it doesn't really belong in this article, but I think we should move it somewhere else, because much of it is valuable information, and people keep adding it here. — Swpbtalk.edits 23:56, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

If we find a timeline article, I think it would fit there. – Zntrip 00:08, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

It might be that the "Not included" section is here specifically to discourage other editors from adding this material (for the zillionth time) to the main section. (sdsds - talk) 04:33, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
We can do that, of course, with hidden text. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 04:55, 16 March 2008 (UTC)


Nothing in the section about Ecuador says anything about an orbital flight. Furthermore, the plans seem a little far fetched. – Zntrip 05:46, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Verifiability, which is policy, does not mention anything about plans seeming "far fetched" to you or me or any other editor. This page, though, should make it clear these plans have some validity! (Do you agree this site would meet the Wikipedia:Reliable sources guideline?) (sdsds - talk) 06:45, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

That's besides the point. There is nothing said about an orbital flight. – Zntrip 06:56, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

The discussion about the program including orbital flights is in the cited reference you have twice now removed from the article.


2012 - 2016 •Entrenamiento del segundo astronauta ASA/T Ecuatoriano. • •Al menos una misión tripulada a la órbita terrestre, llevando 2 experimentos de universidades seleccionados por concurso. • •Lanzamiento del primer satélite ecuatoriano a la órbita terrestre, del tipo microsat, llevando a bordo un instrumento científico hecho por una universidad nacional, seleccionado por concurso. •

•Impulsar el establecimiento de un puerto espacial civil en suelo ecuatoriano.
That sure looks like a planned orbital flight in the 2012 - 2016 timeframe! (sdsds - talk) 08:08, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Why didn't you include this on the page? If this information is on the page than I would agree it should stay. – Zntrip 18:18, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

This would still fail as Ecuador has no domestic launch vehicle or launch services. It apppears that they intend to purchase space on Russian flights through the Space Adventures company from all I can find. Rmhermen (talk) 19:20, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


I have removed Iran until we have a good source saying it happened already. BBC is ssaying that Iranian media have removed mention of a satellite from their stories.[6] Rmhermen (talk) 17:39, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

A report from Reuters now claims that they launched a dummy satellite only. I would be inclined to add this launch to the list if we could confirm the "dummy" is orbital. Rmhermen (talk) 23:47, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
U.S. is now saying that the launch was a failure with the second stage out of control.[7] Rmhermen (talk) 15:53, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


Why has Ukraine been added to the list? So far, all Ukrainian launches have used post-Soviet rockets containing some Russian-manufactured components. Ukraine is not generally considered a launch capable country --GW 08:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I did a search and it seems:

- Sich-1 has been launched from "Plesetsk Cosmodrome" using a "Tsiklon-3" rocket. Sich-1

The launch has been a partial failure, the Chilean micro-satellite Fasat-Alpha has failed to separate from Sich-1 (secondary payload) 1995

- Anyway Plesetsk Cosmodrome belongs to Russia and Tsyklon-3 (and also Tsyklon-2 and Tsyklon) rockets are mentioned to be Russian and subsequently Ukrainian (derivatives of russian R-36 (missile) missile).

NASA source above quoutes: "The spacecraft and instruments on board were similar to those of the Soviet Okean series." (i.e. Sich-1)

I am not sure how should the launch be interpreted. A Russian-Ukrainian rocket launched from a Russian space field carrying a similar to Soviet Okean series satellite? Sarmadys (talk) 02:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

According to NASA and several other sources It was a soviet satellites on board a Russian rocket, so it does not belong on the list. Noaccess2k (talk) 12:47, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Both Sich-1(Okean) type satellite and Tsyklon launcher were developed in Soviet Union in Yangel Bureau in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR. At launch 31.08.1995 both were no Russian-Ukrainian or Ukrainian-Russian even but fully Ukrainian for the first time because, first, were completely produced in Yuzhmash plant in independent Ukraine and, secondly+mainly, belonged to Ukraine that ordered the launch service in Russia (Russian spaceport Plesetsk) only. On the one hand, if we no recognize these launcher and satellite as Ukrainian due to Soviet origin, then we absurdly must consider as Soviet but non-Russian all of currently operating Russian launchers and most of currently operating Russian satellites that were developed under USSR also. And, on the other hand, case of first Ukrainian launch at 31.08.1995 from foreign spaseport is absolutely equal for France and British launches of their first own rockets with own satellites from spaceports abroad (from independent Algeria and Australia) - so if we will delete Ukraine from list, we must delete UK and France also; but all these would be wrong. (talk) 22:46, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
The argument is that the rocket was not developed in Ukraine. As far as I'm concerned, launch site is irrelevant. How about this as a compromise?
Order Country Satellite Rocket Location Date
1  Soviet Union Sputnik 1 Sputnik-PS Baikonur Cosmodrome, Soviet Union (today Kazakhstan) 4 October 1957
2  United States Explorer 1 Juno I Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, United States 31 January 1958
3  France Astérix Diamant Hammaguir, Algeria 26 November 1965
4  Japan Ōsumi Lambda Kagoshima Space Center, Japan 11 February 1970
5 China People's Republic of China Dong Fang Hong I Long March Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China 24 April 1970
6  United Kingdom Prospero X-3 Black Arrow Woomera, Australia 28 October 1971
7  India Rohini 1 SLV Satish Dhawan Space Centre, India 18 July 1980
8  Israel Ofeq 1 Shavit Palmachim Air Force Base, Israel 19 September 1988
-  Russia Kosmos 2175 Soyuz-U Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia 21 January 1992
-  Ukraine Strela-3 (x6) Tsyklon-3 Plesetsk, Russia 13 July 1992
9  Iran Omid Safir-2 Semnan, Iran 2 February 2009
With a note to the effect that Russia and Ukraine inherited launch capability from the Soviet Union, rather than developing it themselves. --GW 20:06, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Since there have been no objections, I have implemented this proposal. --GW 14:43, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
to say "the rocket was not developed in Ukraine" is somehow not true; because we know that Tsikoln 3 was developed in "Ukrainian SSR", now "Ukraine". Raamin (talk) 23:13, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Which was part of the USSR at the time of the rocket's development. To start with, can you prove that it was built entirely using Ukrainian expertise, equipment and technology? --GW 23:16, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I did't claim such a thing. I said the Rocket was developed in Ukraine; the manufacturer and the Designer Company were there, weren't they? Raamin (talk) 23:59, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I still think it should be regarded as being Soviet-developed. I feel the compromise solution, listing Ukraine and Russia in the table, but not in the count of countries which have developed launch capability, is still the best way forward. --GW 00:42, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Is "Strela-3" Ukrainian? I thought "Sich-1" was the first ukrainian satellite [8]. Raamin (talk) 22:17, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

  • The issue here is the nationality of the rocket, not the nationality of the satellite. It actually says "Russian" next to the satellites in the table. --GW 22:24, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, you mean ukrainian Rocket carrying russian satellite? :) Raamin (talk) 22:38, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes. --GW 22:46, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and that is the whole argument. Ukraine did not use a Ukrainian satellite launcher and therefore can not be included in the countries that launched their satellite independently. This source also, does not include Ukraine. Parvazbato59 (talk) 17:16, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes? Yes to what? What question did you answer here? Did you bother to read the discussion? Raamin (talk) 22:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)


Why is not considered in the list the italian San Marco platform? This platform operated many space launches between 1967 and 1988-- (talk) 12:02, 17 April 2009 (UTC) about the space capability of Italy you can also see Italian Space Agency, that is the seventh in the world by budget

  • This list is for countries developing indigenous launch capability, not for countries that contain launch sites. --GW 12:59, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:10, 17 April 2009 (UTC) 
Did you even read the article? How did you measure the launch capability of a country? In the sixties Italy built an equatorial launch platform in the Indian Ocean, near the coast of Kenya. The first experimental launch was with the assistance of USA, but after and for twenty years the platform launched and controlled 27 launches, with orbital positioning of Italian, American and British satellites-- (talk) 19:00, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Anyone with a source to cite indicating an orbital launch was conducted from San Marco using any carrier rocket other than a (US made) Scout should please add that source citation to the San Marco article right away! Without that, it's difficult to see San Marco's existence as evidence of Italian orbital launch capability. The first Vega launch, on the other hand, will call into question whether Italy should be credited for this (ESA) programme. (sdsds - talk) 19:15, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Ariane is generally considered European rather than French, so I would suggest we follow the same here. Also calls into question whether the LSP nationality is important to this list (Vega launches will be conducted by Arianespace, which is French). --GW 20:24, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Which rather begs the question: is this timeline page inherently biased against countries which accomplish their spaceflight agendas by participating in multinational agencies rather than by unilateral programmes? (sdsds - talk) 04:05, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

It isn't biased against them, it simply flat out isn't about them. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 18:39, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Good point. The article about them, Timeline of orbital launch technology development by country, has yet to be written! (sdsds - talk) 18:45, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Italy may be added with Vega (rocket) - first flight in 2012. It's not 100% italian but it's an italian-led european rocket. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:58, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

Canada - why include?[edit]

It was a Canadian satellite on top of an American rocket, launched from the USA. The rocket is the important thing, while a can of baked beans could be a satellite. So it seams unreasonable to include it. Anyone disagree who is not Canadian? Similar reasoning to mine in the Not Included section above was given to exclude a British rocket in the same circumstances. (talk) 16:30, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

A vandal had replaced France with Canada. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 16:59, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

RSA-3 "political reasons"[edit]

What are the "political reasons" for cancelling RSA-3. This is a pretty meaningless statement because government space agencies are always political. Yaris678 (talk) 12:11, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

RSA-3 would seem to the right location for that information. If it isn't mentioned there, it shouldn't be mentioned here either. Rmhermen (talk) 15:02, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, RSA-3 redirects to an Isreali rocket. There was collaberation between Israel and South Africa at the time. Possibly the redirect should be cancelled and a separate article should be written for RSA-3. I don't know much about it but I could create a fairly rudimentary stub... unless someone with more knowledge wants to volunteer. Yaris678 (talk) 11:16, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Inclusion of South Korea[edit]

Since the first stage of the Naro-1 rocket is Russian, surely it cannot count as an indigenous launch. --GW 10:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Took South Korea off because their sat was not launched into a stable orbit and has not been tracked or confirmed by NORAD to still be in orbit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Disagree, as getting into individual components' country of manufacturer seems like overkill. However, as the launch did not achieve orbit for the satellite, it should probably be removed anyway. [9] — MrDolomite • Talk 14:59, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

If the satellite reaqched orbit (even a non-usable one) I would suggest we should include it. Perhaps a footnote indicating the Russian assistance is required though. Rmhermen (talk) 15:52, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Disagreement to disagree, if I may ask, who said the orbit that the satellite STSAT-2 reached was non-operational or unstable orbit. The news report from South Korea stated that "The rocket had to separate from the scientific satellite at an altitude of 306 km but instead, the rocket separated at an altitude of 340 km", furthermore, under the "list of orbits" article indicates that Low Earth Orbit is from 0 - 2,000km. So I don't understand why 340 km orbit is "unstable" or "non-functional" while 306 km is a "stable" orbit. They never claimed that the satellite non-usable due to higher orbit.

[S. Korea cannot join in the list] Even if the launch was successful in Korea, I think, they cannot join in the main list. 1st stage of Korean rocket is totally Russian URM-1 (Universal Rocket Module-1 with RD-191 engine). They just bought the whole 1st stage from Russia. It means, Any Korean engineers did not participate in any process to make their 1st stage. They Just paid and it was delivered. They still don't have the capability to design, manufacure such a big 1st stage in Korea. They only made just small 2nd stage and satellite. It cannot be domestic launch vehicle. Australia also bought american rocket and launched their own satellite in ther launch pad. Australia is not in the main list. The difference between South Korea and Australia is only small acceleration stage. --Daniel3327 (talk) 14:01, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I think even if there is going to be a successful launch, South Korea can not be included in the list since the first stage of their rocket which is the main part of launch vehicle is not made by South Korea and even at the launch pad the Russian engineers would be directing the launch. Furthermore Russia had agreed to give only three first stage rockets so after the third launch come success or failure, South Korea can not launch anything into space until they develop their own first stage.
The MTCR agreement basically limits these endeavors so that only indigenous systems developed by a nation capable of successful launch should be included in this list. Unsuccessful attempts or using foreign bought rockets does not qualify to be included in this list. Otherwise we have to include those nations that launched their own satellites atop foreign rockets as most even had experts at the launch pad. And they number in dozens. Launching merely from the soil of a nation does not qualify. The only criteria is a successful launch using local indigenous technology and experts. I think the best course of action if the South Korean launch is successful is to include it in the "Launches of non-domestic launch vehicles" section.-- (talk) 16:22, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

The first-stage was brought in from Russia, but the second-stage was completely developed by South Korea. From the launch video, it was clear that South Korean engineers were directing the launch. Ultimately the satellite was put into space by the South Korean developed second-stage rocket. The same rocket can be used to launch another satellite into space and given that it was assembled in South Korea under the direction of South Korean engineers, I believe should be overall be classified as a successful launch for the country. Duesride (talk) 09:25, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

The first stage provided virtually all the thrust necessary to reach orbit. Which stage happened to be burning when the satellite reached orbit is incidental. Even if "it was clear that South Korean engineers were directing the launch", the same is true of Italy conducting Scout launches, and Italy is not considered launch-capable. I'm not sure it was "it was assembled...under the direction of South Korean engineers" - Khrunichev were highly involved in the launch campaign - and in any case this is again no different to Italy with the Scout. "The same rocket can be used to launch another satellite into space" - again, the US could bring Scout back into production and Italy could launch it from San Marco; that doesn't make Italy any more a country with indigenous launch capability than it did the first time around. It is clear that there was some indigenous achievement, however, so I would suggest as a compromise that we treat South Korea in the same way as Ukraine; listing it in the table but without a number, as it effectively bought orbital launch capability from Russia instead of developing it itself.
For the record, please don't make edits "per the talk page" if there is no consensus on the talk page. --W. D. Graham 10:09, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
This is certainly a tough one to call - I think the situation can be explained by this case classification by Jonathan McDowell:
  • Case 1: Buy a satellite and buy launch services in another country
  • Case 2: Build your satellite, buy launch services elsewhere
  • Case 3: Buy the rocket and launch it from your own launch site
  • Case 4: Buy all the bits of the rocket, but design and assemble the completed rocket yourself (e.g. make an Atlas with an Ariane upper stage or something). This is what Boeing did with Sea Launch!
  • Case 5: (KSLV) Build a rocket, using some bits of your own and some bits that you bought...
  • Case 6: Build and launch a completely local rocket.

The problematic cases are no. 4 and 5. I would argue that in the South Korean case, the project was under their management and at least some significant parts of the rocket was built and developed by the Koreans (second stage and its control systems, fairings etc.). On the other hand the Russian first stage provides more than 50% of the impulse needed to reach orbit. So I think the best way is to count the South Koreans as a "half membership nation", if such a thing does exist. Thoughts? Galactic Penguin SST (talk) 10:57, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I totally agree with Galactic Penguin SST. The first stage is a black box to Korean as all the sources say. However probably some (so called) reliable sources may say "South Korea is the eleventh nation to launch its own satellite."―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 11:21, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with GP that South Korea should be considered a "half membership nation". Now the question is how to handle that...I would argue that it should not be listed equally with "full membership nations". --W. D. Graham 11:24, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
The most important component of a launch vehicle is its first stage. In this case South Korea has imported that, with Russian engineers in South Korea taking care of it. As per MTCR, South Korea was not allowed to have any kind of access to this technology. And at any rate, South Korea is not capable of launching another satellite if it can not import rockets from Russia or US. So it is not an indigenous capability. The second stage is not enough to put anything to space. Angara rocket is a monster rocket with most sophisticated technology. It can put a light load into orbit without even the need for a second stage. I think until South Korea does not develop its own rocket (KSLV-2), it can not be considered a space launch capable nation. This was a one off attempt by a Russian rocket. It should be mentioned in non-domestic vehicle launches as pointed above. South Korea itself is not capable of putting anything into orbit as of now. Such cases have happened before such as in Italy or Australia. -- (talk) 17:13, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

What people seem to be forgetting is that 70% of the launch essentially goes credit to South Korea given that the second-stage rocket, fairing, satellite, assembly and direction was done there. Even the Russian first-stage is a modified one specifically tailored for KSLV-1. There is no source to prove that the contract is over - South Korea continues to hold partnership with Russia and can purchase the modified first-stage at anytime if they'd like to go for another launch. So it is 70% indigenous capability, and with that, more than the majority of credit goes to South Korea. Duesride (talk) 04:20, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

The world's leading media are sharing the same consensus:

Wall Street Journal: "With the launch, South Korea became the 11th country to successfully put a satellite into space with a rocket it developed."
Engadget: "To date, just 10 countries have managed to build their own rocket and successfully deploy at least a satellite. Make that 11. South Korea has entered the fold by successfully launching its mostly self-developed, two-stage Naro rocket"
Science World Report: "South Korea is now officially the 11th country to successfully put a satellite into space with a rocket that it developed."
Spaceflight Now: "South Korea becomes the 11th country to launch its own satellite into orbit"
Global Post: " South Korea has earned the badge as the 11th country to successfully launch a satellite using its own rocket"

To make things clear, the one used in this launch is the RD-191 model which is intended for use on the Angara Rocket instead of the slightly modified RD-151 used on the first and second launches. For the first 2 rockets, the Russians modified their system so it could be compatiable with that of the Koreans. But for this time, the Koreans modified their system so it could be compatiable with that of the Russians. Thats why the Russian Deputy Premier and Roskosmos announced that Angara rocket tests have started yesterday. The launch itself was directed by Koreans but with the help of Russian assistants. Russians were heavily involved in the assembly and the systems of the rocket. Also, the contract between South Korea and Russia stated that Russia would provide up to 2 launches and another extra launch in case of a failure. Nowhere in the contract says that the Koreans can purchase the 1st stage anytime they want. The Russians provided 3 launches, thus fulfilling the contract, and has no other obligation to provide the Koreans with further launches. Also, this project is not a joint development project. The contract between Russia and Korea is a "Prototype Assembly and Purchase" contract. I just cannot agree in any way how 70% of the credit has to go to South Korea. Russia receiving 70% of the credit makes more sense to me. The 1st stage is the most important part of the Space Launch Vehicle, because it gives it energy to actually get to space. Without the 1st stage, the KSLV-1 would just be a normal rocket, not a Space Launch Vehicle. You cannot possibly climb a mountain without legs (talk) 21:55, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Your claim does not have any source - please back up your claim that "the one used in this launch is the RD-191 model". The first-stage is a heavily modified version for the KSLV-1 specifically designed only for KSLV-1. The point isn't about the initial development contract - South Korea maintains a partnership with Russia which allows them to purchase the first-stage if they'd like to launch it again. Also, for people comparing this launch with Italy and other countries who launched with 100% foreign rockets, this is a completely different situation where South Korea was heavily involved in the making of this rocket - the second-stage, fairing, satelllite, space port, launch and assembly was all done in South Korea by South Korean engineers. Without the second-stage, the rocket would have never fulfilled its mission of putting the satellite into space. People are forgetting that the point of this launch isn't just to put a rocket into space, but the *satellite* into its orbit - without the Korean developed second-stage, the mission would have been a failure. Duesride (talk) 05:32, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
So, would it be possible to say that we have reached a "consensus"? Most of the news reports state that South Korea is the 11th country to successfully launch a satellite by 'itself'. It seems quite obvious that, although Russia did help, it was the Korean engineers and scientists that did most of the work; also, South Korea has also received a seperate first rocket stage engine from Russia.

Joongang Ilbo: "3 years spent like a sinner" (talk) 15:48, 1 February 2013 (UTC))

No. Forming a consensus means that all parties discuss the issue and find a mutually acceptable solution. As things stand, this discussion seems to show a fairly even split in support between the viewpoints that South Korea should and should not be considered launch-capable. We need to find a compromise. --W. D. Graham 16:59, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems that most people agree that South Korea shoud not be listed "full membership nation" except for a few Korean users. Travelbybus (talk) 05:10, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
It seems that most people agree that South Korea should be listed "full membership nation" except for a few angry Australian and Italian users. (Franknam96 (talk) 06:38, 2 February 2013 (UTC))
I believe it to be quite possible to put South Korea in bold, while not including them in number of order. Unlike France or the United Kingdom, South Korea did not become united with another nation and hand over its technology. Nor did they become disintegrated into several states, like the Soviet Union. However, it is true that South Korea did not launch the satellite purely with its own technology. Therefore, they have a status enough to be stated in bold while not being able to be listed as the eleventh nation to have an orbital launch.( (talk) 06:32, 2 February 2013 (UTC))
I do not think so. Only the countries that currently have the technical capability to put an object into orbit should be in bold. Depending on Russian rockets is not considered a kind of space capability in most parts of the world. Aspiration is not enough. Physical capability is. United Kingdom is not in bold because though they did launch a satellite independently and without Russian help, they later on stopped their orbital space program and lost the capability. That is, they are no longer able to put a satellite into orbit without Russian, American or Chinese help. If they are not in bold, South Korea whose only launched happened because of a Russian rocket can not be in bold either. -- (talk) 22:36, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
You're forgetting that South Korea maintains bilateral cooperation with Russia regarding KSLV-1. In another words, they can purchase the first stage at any time if they want to launch it again. All the rest (second-stage, fairing, space port, satellite, electronic system..etc) are all developed by South Korea. There's no point in comparing it to the UK because they never maintained a partnership with Russia after the launch. So South Korea does maintain launch capability in this regard. The bilateral cooperation will expand to Ukraine this year and will continue at least until the launch of KSLV-2. Duesride (talk) 05:54, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
If you have a reliable source "South Korea maintains bilateral cooperation with Russia regarding KSLV-1. In another words, they can purchase the first stage at any time if they want to launch it again," please provide it. The Russian participation was based on the 200 million dollar contract with Russia in 2004.[10] And Korean news says it was the success of Russia.[11]" Naro success ... calmly look at the success of Russia" Russia sent the 150-man team of Russian engineers and formed "Korea-Russia Flight Test Committee".[12][13] Russian lent expertise in construction of the Naro launch pad and control center under a 2004 contract.[14][15] How can this be called "Korean independently developed launch vehicle"?part-Russian, part-Korean rocket―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 09:31, 3 February 2013 (UTC) This shows that Korea has not only the capability of acquiring another first-stage rocket, but already has done so.( (talk) 12:23, 3 February 2013 (UTC))
Are you talking about this? "우주센터 조립동에는 러시아 1단 로켓이 하나 더 있다. 엔진은 제외됐지만 앞으로도 유용하게 활용할 수 있는 것이다." ("There is one more Russia's first stage rocket except the engine in the assembly building of the space center. But it will be useful in the future.") Can a rocket be launched without an engine? ―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 20:30, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
South Korea has a "hidden cooperation with Russia" not known in the foreign media that involved a "significant transfer of technology" according to the chief developer of Naro-1, who says South Korea can now launch a fully indigenous rocket within 3 years if it wants to: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Duesride (talkcontribs) 14:52, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, there may be a "hidden cooperation with Russia" behind "The technical cooperation agreement with Russia prohibits Korean engineers even to peep the 1st stage engine."[16] He added "Saying so will reassure the public."[17]―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 21:13, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
...When is it possible to know that we have made a consensus?( (talk) 00:47, 8 February 2013 (UTC))

The assertion that South Korea has some overt or covert " bi-lateral" relations with Russia and that makes South Korea a space launch capable nation is a laughable notion. This thing has become too political and yellow journalists who do not know anything about space technology are pushing to "make" South Korea space capable, which it is not. The article makes the criteria quite clear. A nation that can put an object into orbit indigenously. That object could be a steel ball, a chocolate bar, Barbie doll or even a "sophisticated" electronic satellite. The inclusion criteria does not give a nation that makes fairings the space capability designation.

Many countries can make a small solid rocket motor similar to what South Koreans claim to have built for the second stage. Practically it means nothing. It is on par with many small solid state rockets made around the world for purposes of weaponry, fun or as a sounding rocket. Again the piece of equipment that put the South Korean object into orbit without which a launch was impossible was the Russian first stage which is so powerful theoretically that it can literally launch an object into orbit without even a second stage. South Koreans had no access to this technology. In fact the Russians set it up for them and on occasions that faults were found the entire rocket had to be shipped back to Russia to be repaired. This is not how a space launch capable nation looks like. Not even one bit.

If South Korea develops its own launcher then yeah, that becomes a new case for consideration. But now, South Korea is not a space launch capable nation. Similarly Brazil is going to launch a Ukrainian rocket from Brazil this year or next. This will not make them space launch capable. The countries that owned Sea Launch were not space launch capable either by the same reason. South Korea should be removed from the table and put in the section of non-domestic launches. Brazil seems to be joining them too. If they develop their own launcher then they will come to the table. Right now we can not extend the Russian space launch capability to South Korea because of politics involved. This is an encyclopedia and not a political score board. Get over it. -- (talk) 01:45, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

I think saying "we have made the consensus" when following the end of this procedure would be nice... (talk) 16:27, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

I think it is fairly obvious that there is no consensus to change anything, so the article should retain the unnumbered entry for now. --W. D. Graham 17:10, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I also believe South Korea should not be on the list. Their launch was not possible without Russians. The rocket basically was Russian and a one off offer. I think South Korea should be removed from the list and a new category of countries that launch foreign built rocket added at the end of the article similar to other categories present. -- (talk) 23:09, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
While I strongly believe that South Korea should not be included as a country with indigenous launch capability, I would say there is a distinction between them and, say, Italy, who bought and launched American Scout rockets. South Korea has played a role in the development of the rocket and contributed components critical to the system - the upper stage, for instance. While this is still far short of having indigenous launch capability, I feel that it does surpass merely buying foreign rockets. --W. D. Graham 23:29, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

ESA, again[edit]

I just added ESA and then saw that there were such debates in the past. My reasoning for adding it - while it is clear that Ariane 1 rocket has dominantly French heritage there was participation in its funding, development, manufacturing and usage by the rest of the partners. It is clear that Denmark will not have contribution equal to France, but in any case Ariane is a joint effort of ESA members. So, they are listed in the footnote (as it would be bad for the layout if we list them in the "Country" column). Also without an ESA entry the table looks like UK/France have abandoned their space launch capabilities (since in contrast to Soviet->Russia/Ukraine there was no entry for UK/France->ESA). Alinor (talk) 05:42, 18 September 2010 (UTC) Also, about the "ESA is not a country" argument - yes, but is an intergovernmental organization (not a commercial entity with shareholders from various states) - as the countries of Europe realized that they are too small to achieve meaningful results in space on their own they decided to conduct some activities jointly. So, ESA is not a country, but it "represents" countries - these listed in the footnote. Alinor (talk) 05:47, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Just to add, the UK *has* abandoned its spaceflight capabilities. It funded 2.5% of the development costs of Ariane 1, and then pulled out entirely from all subsequent Ariane launcher projects. Therefore it is not accurate to say that the UK has a stake in the Ariane capability, despite being a member of the ESA. This is similar to the ISS - the UK signed the original agreement, but never funded the ISS and has no stake in it, despite being a member of the ESA. Thom2002 (talk) 11:34, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


The first country to have a satellite launched on a non-indigenous rocket was the UK, with Ariel 1. Canada was the first country to build its own satellite for launch on a non-indigenous system, but that is not the issue here, and given the context the current text (Canada instead of the UK) is completely wrong. --GW 23:09, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Like in most cases it really depends on definitions. As established a while ago with the first comments in Talk:Timeline_of_first_orbital_launches_by_country#Doesn.27t_Ariel_3_count.3F it seems who the satellite was built by is what editors consider important. Frankly I don't see why a British operated satellite counts as the first British satellite for the purposes of this article. However the point is there is no absolute, the point is arguable. ChiZeroOne (talk) 23:16, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Trimming unconfirmed orbital launches section[edit]

For more information on the Tammouz rocket, see and Since the Al Abid rocket never made it into orbit, it might be best to include Iraq in Failed launches section. (talk) 01:28, 14 April 2012 (UTC)Vahe Demirjian

Well the launch was never confirmed by any other nation or international bodies and only Iraq claimed that space launch had occurred (Iraq had even claimed that they reach orbit but no one else confirmed that). That is why it is in unconfirmed section since it is possible they were just lying for the sake of it. Only a launch that is confirmed internationally to have occurred but failed to reach orbit should be included in failed launches section. -- (talk) 18:20, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
For more information on Iraq's space program, see The second and third stages of the al-Abid rocket were merely steel mockups (which are not picked up by radar), which partly explains why no one could ever detect the rocket. As a matter of fact, no satellite or warhead was ever mounted on the al-Abid rocket used in the launch, so it's parsiminous to describe the maiden launch of the al-Abid as merely a suborbital launch. Iraq may one day restart its dormant space program initiated under Saddam (as long as the rocket technology isn't used in developing an ICBM). (talk) 01:43, 28 December 2012 (UTC)Vahe Demirjian

DPRK orbital launch is confirmed[edit]

The map should reflect that the DPRK's launch has been fully confirmed by NORAD and by South Korean scientists. The only remaining question is whether it can accomplish its in-orbit mission. (talk) 20:50, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

It is not as easy to edit a map as the text. I think we could go for a new version with NK red and all the blue and greens removed. Rmhermen (talk) 02:18, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree. It would be simpler. Just the actual launches would suffice. -- (talk) 18:59, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I changed NK to red several days ago... --W. D. Graham 22:39, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
It didn't take. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 15:15, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Must be a caching issue - I still see the old version until I click on the image. Rmhermen (talk) 17:05, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
After doing purges of the article, the image page, and the commons image page, North Korea is starting to show up as red. (talk) 05:15, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

USSR footnotes[edit]

Currently there are two USSR footnotes in the table:

  1. The Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, took over the Soviet space program after the Soviet Union's dissolution with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part of the Soviet space program.
  2. Russia and Ukraine inherited space launcher and satellite capability from the Soviet Union as successor states.

I combined them as:

  • The Russian Federation, successor of the Russian SFSR, assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and is recognised as its continued legal personality.[1] Russia, took over the Soviet space program after the Soviet Union's dissolution with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part of the Soviet space program's space launcher and satellite capability.
  1. ^ "Russia is now a party to any Treaties to which the former Soviet Union was a party, and enjoys the same rights and obligations as the former Soviet Union, except insofar as adjustments are necessarily required, e.g. to take account of the change in territorial extent. [...] The Russian federation continues the legal personality of the former Soviet Union and is thus not a successor State in the sense just mentioned. The other former Soviet Republics are successor States.", United Kingdom Materials on International Law 1993, BYIL 1993, pp. 579 (636).

My edit was reverted citing "effectively synthesis wrt "Legal personality", partially incorrect wrt Ukraine, if it 'ain't broke don't fix it"

The "legal personality" sentence is direct copy from Soviet Union article and is also sourced (see above), clearly no synthesis here. Anyway, it's purpose is only to supplement the unsourced in the status quo "Russia, took over the Soviet space program ... with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part".

What's "partially incorrect wrt Ukraine"? Let's correct it. Jeffsapko (talk) 22:02, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

What about the following combination (without adding anything to the stats quo, only removing redundant text):

  • The Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, took over the Soviet space program after the Soviet Union's dissolution with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part of the Soviet space program's Russia and Ukraine inherited space launcher and satellite capability from the Soviet Union as successor states. —?Jeffsapko (talk) 12:26, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Anybody disagrees? Jeffsapko (talk) 11:41, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Sortable table with current and historic ordering[edit]

Historic Current[a] Country Satellite Rocket Location Date (UTC)
099 099 1 January 1900
1 399[b]  Soviet Union Sputnik 1 Sputnik-PS Baikonur, Soviet Union (today Kazakhstan) 4 October 1957
2 2  United States[c] Explorer 1 Juno I Cape Canaveral, United States 1 February 1958
3 299[d]  France Astérix Diamant A Hammaguir, Algeria 26 November 1965
4 4  Japan Ōsumi Lambda-4S Uchinoura, Japan 11 February 1970
5 5  China Dong Fang Hong I Long March 1 Jiuquan, China 24 April 1970
6 199[e]  United Kingdom Prospero Black Arrow Woomera, Australia 28 October 1971
199[d] 3[d] European Space Agency[f] CAT-1 Ariane 1 Kourou, French Guiana 24 December 1979
7 6  India Rohini D1 SLV Sriharikota, India 18 July 1980
8 7  Israel Ofeq 1 Shavit Palmachim, Israel 19 September 1988
299[b] 8  Ukraine[g] Strela-3 (x6, Russian) Tsyklon-3 Plesetsk, Russia 28 September 1991
399[b] 1[b]  Russia Kosmos 2175 Soyuz-U Plesetsk, Russia 21 January 1992
9 9  Iran Omid Safir-1A Semnan, Iran 2 February 2009
10 10  North Korea Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 Unha-3 Sohae, North Korea 12 December 2012[h]


  1. ^ The ten countries and successor states/union indicated in bold retain orbital launch capability.
  2. ^ a b c d Russia, took over the Soviet space program after the Soviet Union's dissolution with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part of the Soviet space program's space launcher and satellite capability. Russia and Ukraine inherited space launcher and satellite capability from the Soviet Union as successor states.
  3. ^ United States also has private companies capable of space launch
  4. ^ a b c France launched its first satellite by its own rocket from Algeria, which had been a French territory when the spaceport was built but had achieved independence before the satellite launch. Later France provided a spaceport for ESA space launchers in French Guyana, transferring its capability to ESA as a founding member.
  5. ^ UK only self-launched a single satellite and that from a commonwealth (Australian) spaceport. Later it joined the ESA, but not the launcher consortium Arianespace, therefore becoming the only nation that developed launch capability and then officially lost it.
  6. ^ The European Space Agency developed the Ariane rocket family (the second European launcher program after the failed Europa rocket program under ELDO) operating from its Guiana Space Centre spaceport (first successful launch in 24 December 1979 when Ariane 1 launcher placed the technological capsule CAT-1 on orbit). ESA signatories at the time of first launch were Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, France and Ireland. Private/public companies and/or governments of these countries (with the exception of Ireland and the United Kingdom) became shareholders in the commercial company Arianespace dealing with production, operation, and marketing. Later Norway became an ESA member and Arianespace shareholder. Additional subsequent ESA member states are Austria, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland.
  7. ^ Ukraine provides its own space launcher to Russia and does not use its own space launcher to put satellites in orbit (first Ukrainian satellite is Sich-1 launched on August 31, 1995 by Ukrainian Tsyklon-3 from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia).
  8. ^ The North Korean government first claimed a successful launch in August 1998 with Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1, which was internationally determined to be a failure. The government retracted this claim only after the launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2.


This table is almost the same as the status quo table, but has one more column were only the bold rows are numbered (currently capable of orbital launch) - in contrast to the status quo "order" column meaning of "historical first launch by country". The bolding and relevant footnote for column "current" were already in the status quo. The table default view remains as in the status quo (ordered by date - and can be restored by the reader after applying different sorting - by clicking on the "date" column), but it's also sortable according to "historical firsts" (pushing ESA, Ukraine and Russia to the bottom; not numbered - per status quo "order" column) and according to "current capability" (pushing UK, France, USSR to the bottom; not numbered). The table also has a division line separating the dashed/not numbered rows from the rest when in one of the two reader-effectuated sort modes.

I added the "current" column to the table, but my edit was reverted citing "non-improvement".

I think that providing the readers with capability to sort the table according to the "currently capable of orbital launch" is a notable improvement (not surprisingly those rows were already bolded) and in the above proposal it's accomplished with a minimal visual change (addition of a column). Jeffsapko (talk) 22:37, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

If you think it's better we can also switch the "Date" and "Current" columns locations - or move "Current" to the far right, etc. Jeffsapko (talk) 22:40, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

"Historical" vs "Current" is complete OR, as is numbering Russia and Ukraine in that manner: either they both got their rockets from the USSR or neither did. It adds nothing to the article and looks ridiculous. I strongly oppose the proposal. --W. D. Graham 11:24, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
"Historical" vs "Current" distinction is already in the status quo - the bolding of certain rows (the "current" ones).
The status quo says "Russia, took over the Soviet space program ... with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part" and that's correct - as stated in the source I provided in the above section Russia is more than a regular "successor state" of the USSR - unlike the other former Soviet republics. As the source explains Russia takes the USSR seat in all international organizations and treaties, not Ukraine or some other former Soviet republic. Nothing OR or ridiculous here. Jeffsapko (talk) 14:21, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Firstly, the numbers you added were entirely made-up; that is at best OR. With regards Russia/Ukraine, regardless of how much of the Soviet programme each inherited, they both have a common heritage, so we can't just claim that Ukraine suddenly developed indigenous launch capability while Russia did not. --W. D. Graham 16:35, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
The numbers in the "historic" column are from the status quo. The numbers in the "current" column are the same with the following adjustments required to number only the status quo bold (currently capable) entries: USSR, France, UK are without a number; Russia as the inheritor of the bulk of the Soviet launcher program is assigned the USSR number; ESA as inheritor of the French launcher program (as correctly stated in the status quo France transferred its capability to ESA) is assigned the French number; Ukraine (with 1991 launch) is assigned the next number after Israel (with 1988 launch). None of this is "more made-up/OR" than the status quo "order" column numbers.
Russia took over the Soviet space program. The other former Soviet republics only got whatever facilities and design bureaus were on their territory. Of course all of that is "common Soviet heritage". And the column I propose to add doesn't claim that "Ukraine suddenly developed indigenous launch capability while Russia did not". As you can see the "current" column footnote (the same as in the status quo) clearly states that column is about entries in bold that currently retain orbital launch capability. And both Russia and Ukraine are numbered there, because both of them have this capability.
Actually, the change I propose is not related to the "developing of indigenous capability" - that's what the stats quo "order" column (renamed "historic" in my proposal) is for. And there again Russia and Ukraine are both with the same "status", e.g. without a number. Maybe it will be good to add a footnote to the "historic/order" column explaining that the numbered entries are those where "indigenous launch capability" was developed (check one variant here). Jeffsapko (talk) 18:51, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
There is a big difference between saying something is active, and assigning arbitrary and unexplained numbers to it. I don't see what those numbers add to the list, and I don't think you have a snowball's chance in hell of finding references to support them. --W. D. Graham 23:36, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
The numbers simply follow the chronological order - with the exception of two entries with an explanatory footnote. Not more arbitrary, less referenced and certainly not more "unexplained" than the "historic" numbers in the status quo. Which number do you disagree with? Jeffsapko (talk) 06:52, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to get into specifics, I disagree with the entire system. They are not used by any other source of classification system, and it makes no sense to remove numbers from countries that once had, but no longer have, launch capability. I fail to see the advantage of this system over the current system. --W. D. Graham 10:48, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
The status quo "removes countries that once had, but no longer" (the bolding). What I propose is to have this shown by additional numbering column. Sense and reasons are the same, only the representation form is different. It's not "advantage over the current system" - it doesn't replace the current "historical/order" column (for developed indigenous capability) - it's an addition representing what's bolded in the current system (present capability). Please check the sandbox, where it's made more clear. Jeffsapko (talk) 11:24, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Just to check we're on the same page, please can you give a brief summary of what the numbers represent and how they are arrived at. --W. D. Graham 12:34, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
It's already above. Numbers column I want to add (not replace) is a tally of the entries currently capable of launches. The order is chronological with the exception of Russia and ESA (who took over the launcher programs of USSR and France - and thus are assigned numbers according to USSR/French first launches). Jeffsapko (talk) 12:08, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
That's not what I meant. WP:V and WP:OR require that you be able to back these figures up with third-party sources. You can't just assign your own numbers and expect them to go into the article. --W. D. Graham 10:18, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
Does the status quo "historical" numbering have a source? And which one of the "current" numbers you disagree with (some of them are the same as the "historical")? Numbering of lists is more of an editorial decision, than an issue for WP:V/OR - we decide whether the list should be chronological, alphabetical, by performance indicator or whatever. Also, the addition I propose is only a different method of representing the information already in the status quo (bolded entries). Jeffsapko (talk) 10:18, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I can see where you're coming from, but I don't understand the need to renumber something just because a couple of countries no longer have launch capability. The numbers are the order that the first launch happened in, and making a last launch doesn't change this. Now that Neil Armstrong has sadly passed away, we don't remove him from the record books and say that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon. --W. D. Graham 11:15, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

State succession (USSR into Russia) is different from a person dying. Also, implementing the sort feature allows the dashed entries (whether historical or current) of table to be "pushed" to the bottom by the reader (you can try in the sandbox), which is also a useful presentation feature even for the status quo numbering. And again, I don't suggest to "renumber" - I suggest keeping the current numbers and adding a different column on the far right for the currently bolded entries... The benefits I explained and do you think it will do any harm? Jeffsapko (talk) 17:10, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Abandoned and future projects cleanup[edit]

The following entries are problematic:

  • Abandoned - Australia - didn't find any source for their project different from the Woomera launches (listed in the non-domestic section) and Ausroc (listed in future projects). Neither at [18] nor here. Probably this entry is mistaken for Woomera or Ausroc.
  • Abandoned - Romania - didn't find any source for their project different from ARCA (listed in future projects). Did they had some ballistic missile-related space program before 1989?
  • Future - Malaysia - no source and most probably the entry is mistaken for the MEASAT-3 satellite launched in December 2006.
  • Future - Australia - is the orbital (not suborbital/sounding rocket) Ausroc still under development?
  • Future - New Zealand - is this project orbital or for suborbital/sounding rocket?
  • Future - Pakistan, Taiwan, Kazakhstan - are those projects currently approved/funded or they are only proposals?
  • Future - Ukraine - why is it listed as "future"? It's already in the main list (as provider of launchers to Russia and as having its own satellites), so providing a future launcher to Brazil and Orbital Sciences warrants a change it its main list note, but wouldn't "add new capability" (in the sense of own launcher, spaceport, payload). There are no sources about a future domestic Ukraine spaceport or about approved funding for the An-225 air launcher proposal. Jeffsapko (talk) 14:47, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Ukraine - the Brazil spaceport Tsyklon launches may be either Ukraine-led (leasing the spaceport like Russia in Kazakhstan), Brazil-led (buying rocket&services like Russia from Ukraine) or joint. I think no changes should be made until a source clarifying that is found - for example about the commercial company that will market the Tsyklon-4 launches.
I propose the following changes:
  • Romania - remove from abandoned, keep in future projects
  • Australia - remove from abandoned, keep in future projects, request citation tag for "now developing"
  • Malaysia - remove from future projects
  • New Zealand - remove from future projects. None of the sources here and at Rocket Lab is about orbital launcher. [19] has "December 2010 - Rocket Lab was awarded a US contract from the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) to study low cost international alternatives. Included in this study is a 640,000Ns booster, a miniature avionics system and a launch vehicle to place small mass satellites into polar and low Earth orbits." - only a study. Currently the Rocket Lab website doesn't have anything about orbital launch project currently active.
  • Pakistan - request citation tag for "will form" or change it into "can form". Jeffsapko (talk) 08:32, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
There are countries on the list that do not have any orbital space program. For example, Turkey whose only citation is of an obscure engineering concept paper written by a single graduate student many years ago. There is no official source indicating that Turkey is working on an orbital space program. Pakistan has literally abandoned its program and except a single mock up of an amateurish rocket at an airshow more than a decade ago, there is no proof of such a program. Even the official Pakistan Space Program Agency (Suparco), does not claim that it has any plans whatsoever. The same goes for others. I propose studying these and deleting those entries whose only citations are based on internet rumors and bluffs. -- (talk) 05:17, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Suborbital launches[edit]

This is an article about orbital launches, not space launches in general. To state the obvious, suborbital launches are not orbital, so having a section about them is unnecessary and misleading. Per WP:BRD, I have reverted the addition of this section pending discussion. --W. D. Graham 12:40, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

As I explained in the edit summary: satellite and sub-orbital launches are often called "space launches" and as seen in the edit history commonly mistaken with the orbitals. They should not be listed, but at least mentioned in "Other launches and projects" section [the one about "Lists with differing criteria"] as satellites were already.
You agreed to restore the satellites mention, but insisted on removing the sub-orbital. Both are not "orbital launches" - one is not a launch and the other is not orbital. Jeffsapko (talk) 11:36, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I understand what you mean, but this is not a list of "space launches", it is a list of "orbital launches". If there is an issue of people adding suborbital launches, this would be better resolved with an editnotice than compromising the content of the article. For the record, a compromise means both sides make concessions. --W. D. Graham 10:14, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
That's fine, but it applies equally to both satellites (that you keep) and sub-orbital (that you remove). Those are the two cases of "right below orbital launch" (actually it can be argued that a sub-orbital launch capability is more so than building/buying a satellite launched on foreign rocket). As such "right after list scope cut-off" I think they warrant a mention, but of course I agree it should be quite short and I understand you got annoyed by their "promotion".
I propose we combine the two subsections (as they are both in the same boat in relation to "orbital launch") - either as "Other space launch related projects" (title TBD) subsection; or only sentence in the lede; or only a sentence in the "Other launches and projects" section; or somewhere else? Jeffsapko (talk) 10:37, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Footnotes in table[edit]

I've reverted the addition of a footnote explaining that Prospero was not the first British-built satellite. While this may be true, it is not relevant to this article, and seems like unnecessary information. This article is about launches, not first satellites. --W. D. Graham 12:40, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I've also removed similar footnotes for India and Iran. --W. D. Graham 12:53, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
That issue is related to the above section about "Other launches and projects", namely satellites and sub-orbital launches. You kept the satellites mention, so it's natural to finalize it with those footnotes on first satellites of the states included in the main table (in cases where they differ from what's listed in the table). Jeffsapko (talk) 11:39, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
There's a difference between briefly mentioning something irrelevant and putting it all over the article. That said, I only kept that part as a compromise; you clearly weren't interested in the compromise, so I was forced to go to BRD to avoid the flood of irrelevant information into the article. --W. D. Graham 10:16, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
It's not all over the article, but only three footnotes. I'm interested in compromise and I'm sorry you got offended by my editing. My restoring of the sub-orbital section was mostly so that I can use the edit-summary as explanation. And, yes, I know there is a talk page for that, that's why I say I'm sorry...
The way the table and article are structured makes it appear as if the satellites in the table are the first satellites of the countries listed. It doesn't state that per se, but unaware readers are likely to assume it implies it or to be confused. I think adding those three footnotes solves that issue and doesn't harm the article otherwise. Jeffsapko (talk) 10:48, 5 January 2013 (UTC)


I added an updated map, but it shows all ESA members with the same color. That's why I didn't removed the old map right away. If you think the old map is redundant please remove it - but if you insist on red color for France and UK we can do that in the new map (and change the description of orange to something like "other/remaining ESA members" meaning "other than those who are red"). Anything else? Jeffsapko (talk) 13:02, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

So, everybody agrees to remove the old map? Jeffsapko (talk) 07:46, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I think there a few things that should be addressed before I can support such a proposal.
  • The new map does not recognise ESA countries that have developed indigenous capability as well
  • Actually, for that matter what is the advantage of colouring ESA countries at all? ESA may have launch capability, but these individual countries do not, and this is a list about countries not multinational organisations, which is why ESA is not numbered in the table.
  • It provides no distinction between countries which are seriously developing launch capability versus those which have just stated that they intend to develop it. Granted this is a problem with the old map as well, but this seems a logical time to discuss it.
  • Abandoned programmes should not be included unless an actual failed launch occurred; again there is no distinction between ones that have and have not seriously pursued the development of launch technology.
I would also say that the old map is clearer. --W. D. Graham 10:10, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
  1. That's why I proposed above to use red for France/UK and to modify orange legend - if editors want to emphasis the historical over the current capability.
  2. Currently none of the ESA members have individual launch capability, even France and UK. On the other hand, collectively, all of the ESA members have it. That's the whole point of ESA - to combine resources and achieve goals in cooperation. Leaving ESA members other than France and UK gray is misleading. ESA members choose to pursue launchers in cooperation between themselves, that's not a reason to mark them as gray (e.g. "no launch capability").
  3. Yes, this is the same for both maps. I simply colored all from "future projects". It's true some of those are more serious than others, but where to draw the line? That's relevant also for the "future projects" subsection ordering and I would like to have sources describing how serious each of those is.
  4. Similar to the previous one. Where to draw the line? Full orbital launch attempt? Without payload? With dummy upper stage/sub-orbital? Depending on what we choose (for that and the previous one) this category cat get shrunk to zero entries (and also we don't have enough data for all of them). Do you propose removing that category from the map? Jeffsapko (talk) 11:15, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
It's wrong to say that all ESA members have access to launch capability. The launcher capability is operated by Arianespace, a legally seperate venture within ESA. Only the ten Arianespace funding members have rights to it, and so non-funding members such as the UK cannot be said to have launch capability. Thom2002 (talk) 13:01, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
The ten arianespace members are as follows. These should be orange, the other ESA members should not be:
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Denmark

Thom2002 (talk) 13:08, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Arianespace is the commercial company that ESA buys from. What you list above are the shareholders in Arianespace. Boeing not having the New York government as shareholder doesn't mean New York doesn't participate in the USA federal space programs that buy from Boeing. New York representatives still vote over NASA budget and other decisions, etc. Jeffsapko (talk) 10:23, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
That's a good analogy. The UK and Ireland have no vote over ESA matters in respect of the launcher programme. Only the Arianespace shareholders (edit: or other ESA funders of the launcher programme) have control over how ESA uses the Arianespace capability. No money injected = no ownership, no control over how the assets are used and no rights of access to the launcher capability. Of course, the UK is free to buy space on an ariane launcher at commerical rates, but then so is any private company from pretty much any country in the world. Thom2002 (talk) 21:28, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
PS from ESA SP-1271(E), March 2003, CONVENTION for the establishment of a European Space Agency & ESA Council RULES OF PROCEDURE, Article XI, Para 6a, "Each Member State shall have one vote in the Council. However, a Member State shall not have the right to vote on matters concerning exclusively an accepted programme in which it does not take part." The UK and Ireland do not take part in the launcher programmes. Thom2002 (talk) 22:08, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

South Korea's KSLV-1[edit]

I moved South Korea's KSLV-1 from List of first orbital launches by country to Launches of non-indigenous launch vehicles. The countries/ organization listed without number are succeeding countries/organization of already numbered countries/organization. European Space Agency is a succeeding organization of the French and the United Kingdom's organization. Ukraine and Russia are succeeding countries of the Soviet Union. The reason South Korea is not numbered is its rocket was not developed by its indigenous technology. So it is legitimate to list South Korea in Launches of non-indigenous launch vehicles.―― Phoenix7777 (talk) 03:08, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

No such consesus for moving (see above). As matter. Russian assistanse and bought of 1st stage even no becames the KSLV SouthKorean launcher to Russian or multinatinal one, like DPRK's launcher is NorthKorean one despite of some derivaton from Russian Scud rocket with replicated engines. As formality. Sources more than enough for include it as Korean also. (talk) 14:29, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

This is ridiculous[edit]

ESA is not a country. Russia and Ukraine are just inheritors of the previous Soviet program. It obviously should just be:

Order Country[a] Satellite Rocket Location Date (UTC)
1  Soviet Union[c] Sputnik 1 Sputnik-PS Baikonur, Soviet Union (today Kazakhstan) 4 October 1957
2  United States[d] Explorer 1 Juno I Cape Canaveral, United States 1 February 1958
3  France[f] Astérix Diamant A Hammaguir 26 November 1965
4  Japan Ōsumi Lambda-4S Uchinoura, Japan 11 February 1970
5  China Dong Fang Hong I Long March 1 Jiuquan, China 24 April 1970
6  United Kingdom[g] Prospero Black Arrow Woomera, Australia 28 October 1971
7  India Rohini D1 SLV Sriharikota, India 18 July 1980
8  Israel Ofeq 1 Shavit Palmachim, Israel 19 September 1988
9  Iran Omid Safir-1A Semnan, Iran 2 February 2009
10  North Korea Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 Unha-3 Sohae, North Korea 12 December 2012[h]


  1. ^ The ten countries and successor states/union indicated in bold retain orbital launch capability.
  2. ^ Sea Launch is currently 85% owned by Russia's RKK Energia.[1] Previously it was a consortium of four companies from the United States, Russia, Ukraine and Norway: Boeing, Energia, Yuzhmash and Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, and Aker Kværner, respectively. Its first demonstration satellite, DemoSat, was launched on 27 March 1999 using a Ukrainian-mainly Zenit 3SL rocket from the Ocean Odyssey (a former drilling-rig) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Sea Launch has launched numerous satellites since, with few failures.
  3. ^ The Soviet Union's successor state, Russia, took over the Soviet space program after the 1991 Soviet Union's dissolution with Ukraine inheriting a smaller part of the Soviet space program's space launcher and satellite capability. Soviet heritage launcher designs were utilized also for the joint Sea Launch system.[b]
  4. ^ United States also has private companies capable of space launch
  5. ^ ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. France signed the ESA Convention on 30 May 1975[2] and deposited the instruments of ratification on 10 October 1980,[2] when the convention came into force.[2] During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion.[3]
  6. ^ France launched its first satellite by its own rocket from Algeria, which had been a French territory when the spaceport was built but had achieved independence before the satellite launch. Later France provided a spaceport for ESA space launchers in French Guyana, transferring between 1975 and 1980[e] its capability to ESA as a founding member.
  7. ^ UK only self-launched a single satellite (in 1971) and that from a commonwealth (Australian) spaceport. Later it joined the ESA, but not the launcher consortium Arianespace, therefore becoming the only nation that developed launch capability and then officially lost it.
  8. ^ The North Korean government first claimed a successful launch on 31 August 1998 with Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 from Musudan-ri, which was internationally determined to be a failure. Another launch on 5 April 2009, with the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 satellite, was also reported by North Korea to have reached orbit;[4] however, US and South Korean officials stated that the launch failed to reach orbit.[5] The government of North Korea retracted these claims only after the launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2, a Kwangmyŏngsŏng weather satellite which entered polar orbit on 12 December 2012.[6]


This was deleted from the article without providing sources:

Also there are "planned programs" which actually do not exist. For example in the case of Turkey and Pakistan. -- (talk) 04:42, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

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New Zealand[edit]

Does New Zealand now qualify with the private firm Rocket Lab's launch on 25/05/2017?

News report 1:

News report 2: — Preceding unsigned comment added by IcknieldRidgeway (talkcontribs) 12:00, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Russian money to drive Sea Launch relaunch". August 6, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c ESA Convention
  3. ^ "Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency" (PDF). ESA. 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "North Korea fires long-range rocket: reports". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "North Korea space launch 'fails'". BBC News. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "North Korea says it successfully launched controversial satellite into orbit". MSNBC. December 12, 2012.