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China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

7 Oct 2019, 20:22 UTC
China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018
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Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)
by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor
The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.
China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

ORBITAL LAUNCHES, 2018

NATION
SUCCESSES

FAILURES

PARTIAL FAILURES

TOTAL

China
38
1
0
39

USA
34
0
0
34

Russia
19
1
0
20

Europe
7
0
1
8

India
7
0
0
7

Japan
6
0
0
6

TOTALS:
111
2
1
114

The United States was in second place behind China with 34 launches. Traditional leader Russia launched 20 times with one failure. Europe flew eight times with a partial failure, followed by India and Japan with seven and six successful flights, respectively.
The year saw a number of significant launches, including:

maiden flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy;
first successful flight of Rocket Lab’s Electron booster;
China’s Chang’e-4 mission to the moon;

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