2019 is coming to an end, and the space launch activities of countries around the world are also coming to an end. As of the 30th, China, the United States, Russia, and Europe, and other major aerospace countries and entities, have carried out more than 100 space launches, making 2019 space launches more than 100 consecutive years after 2018. China topped the global space launch list with 34 space launches. US and Russian space activities also have their own characteristics. Let us now take stock of those exciting and regretful moments.
The number of global space launches once again exceeded 100
According to the statistics of the “Hang Xiaoyu” WeChat public account that has tracked the development of the aerospace field in various countries for a long time, in 2019, a total of 103 space launches (including failed launches) were carried out in the world.
Of these 103 launches, China accounted for about a third, reaching 34, Russia ranked second with 25, and the United States ranked third with 21 space launches. It was followed by Europe (6 times), India (6 times), New Zealand (6 times, using Rocket Labs’ “electronic” rocket, which has dual nationality of New Zealand and the United States), Iran (3 times, including rocket Explosion before launch (1 time), Japan (2 times). According to statistics, the above space launches carried a total of 505 payloads, of which 190 were cubic stars and other tiny satellites weighing less than 10 kg. According to “Hang Xiaoyu” statistics, the number of global launches this year is slightly less than last year. A total of 114 launches were made in 2018, including 39 in China, 31 in the United States, and 20 in Russia.
Russian satellite news network said on the 29th that Russia carried out a total of 25 space launches in 2019, of which 13 were at the Baikonur launch site, 8 were at the Plesetsk launch site, 1 was at the Eastern launch site, 3 At the Kuru Space Center. The number of space launches planned by the Russian Aerospace Group in 2020 will double from 2019 to 50.
The “Hang Xiaoyu” article stated that 21 U.S. launches throughout the year were 10 fewer than the previous year. Of these 21 launches, Space Exploration Technology’s 13 accounted for nearly two-thirds, of which “Falcon 9” 11 times and “Heavy Falcon” 2 times. Russia’s “News” reported on the 28th that the U.S. has launched 27 launches, possibly accounting for the rocket laboratory’s electronic rockets to the United States. And the United States “Forbes” magazine said that “China is in space” author Brian Harvey before the launch of China’s Long March 5 statistics, the United States 23 times this year, Russia 20 times.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review website, China’s number of rocket launches this year has surpassed the traditional space powers of the United States and Russia. China has ranked first in the world in the number of rocket launches for two consecutive years. It is reported that in the rocket mission success rate, the United States and Russia have maintained a 100% success rate this year, while China has failed two rocket launches. ▲
China Aerospace this year
According to the “Our Space” public number, China has carried out 34 space launches throughout the year in 2019, and has become the country with the largest number of annual space launches in the world for two consecutive years.
Russia Discovery Channel reported on December 20 that China is currently gradually surpassing the United States and Russia in the field of aerospace and is already in a leading position in some aspects. China has maintained the world record for the number of space launches for the second consecutive year: 39 launches in 2018, more than 34 in the United States and 20 in Russia. This year, China once again leads the United States and Russia.
Chinese aerospace technology expert Huang Zhicheng said in an interview with a reporter from the Global Times on the 30th that the highlights of China’s space launch in 2019 include the successful launch of the five long and three rockets, the successful soft landing of Chang’e 4 on the back of the moon, and the core of the Beidou navigation global system The constellation was completed, the Long March 11 was launched at sea, the “Jielong One” was successfully launched, the “Fast Boat One” was successfully launched several hours at the same launch site, and the private rocket company’s “Hyperbolt One” was launched into orbit for the first time. .
Talking about the characteristics of China’s space launch in 2019, he said that first of all, with the successful launch of the Long March V, China’s space carrying capacity has taken a new level. Secondly, these launch missions were completed at multiple space launch sites in China, from Jiuquan, Taiyuan, Xichang to Wenchang, indicating that the capabilities of major launch sites are constantly improving. Long March 11 launched for the first time at sea, which makes China’s space launch method more comprehensive and of far-reaching significance. There is also a state of competition between state-owned and private companies in commercial rockets.
According to Russian satellite news agency, Sergeyev, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that China has achieved great success in the aerospace field in recent years, and the soft landing of the probe on the back of the moon has put the country among the leading positions in lunar exploration. He said that China has achieved great success, not only launching more satellites, but also developing many areas that the country has not previously covered. For example, China ’s probe landed on the back of the moon not long ago, and no country has been able to do so. This is China ’s major achievement in the field of lunar exploration, and it has entered a leading position to some extent.
Some Chinese experts said that the Long March 5 launch at the end of the year was one of the most important launches of the year. The launch verified the design of the Long March V and greatly improved China’s ability to enter space. The United States “Forbes” magazine said that in the 1990s, China only launched one or two rockets each year. The successful launch is particularly critical for China’s long-term plans.
Huang Zhicheng believes that from the perspective of China Aerospace and World Aerospace, this year can be called “Super 2019”. ▲
U.S. space launches few and fine
In 2019, the number of space launches in the United States is not as large as that in China. On the one hand, it is because the main space launches have been balanced before. Some constellations have been established and updated, and there are many large satellites, and their orbital life is relatively high. Another reason is that its rocket has a strong carrying capacity and can send more loads into orbit with fewer launches. For example, SpaceX’s “Heavy Falcon” carrier rocket has a near-Earth orbit carrying capacity of 63.8 tons, which is currently the strongest carrying capacity among active rockets in various countries.
“Voice of the United States” summarizes the highlights of the US space activities in 2019, including a lot of attention to SpaceX company. After all, the company’s rockets occupy half of the US space launch in 2019. The article said that in March this year, SpaceX launched the “Dragon-2” spacecraft in unmanned mode to collect data to guide future manned flights. In June of this year, the US Department of Defense participated in SpaceX’s “Heavy Falcon” rocket project to certify future national security launch projects. Finally, SpaceX sent the transgenic mice to the International Space Station, just in time for the holiday season.
Chinese aerospace technology expert Huang Zhicheng said in an interview with a reporter from the Global Times on the 30th that the number of U.S. space launches in 2020 may increase to a certain extent. In 2020, SpaceX and Boeing in the United States will conduct a test flight of a manned spacecraft. SpaceX will launch multiple “star chain” satellites, which is very worthy of attention. From this point of view, in addition to the development of aerospace powers in manned spaceflight, the development of low-orbit Internet constellations must be accelerated to make up for their shortcomings in 5G ground communication networks. The “Star Chain” constellation is likely to assume military tasks and become a commanding height in the US strategy. In 2020, there may be some new developments in both of the U.S. ultra-large launch vehicles. One is NASA ’s SLS “space launch system” launch vehicle, which may launch its first unmanned launch. The other is that SpaceX’s “Starship” may have a series of developments, such as recycling technology. ▲
Russia completes only half of its missions
Russia’s “News” reported on the 28th that “Russian Aerospace Group promises 50 space launches next year”. At the beginning of this year, Russia’s Aerospace Group President Rogozin told Putin that 45 space launches are planned this year. Only 25 launches were made (excluding military launches). In this way, Russia ranks third in the number of space launches (this is the original-editor’s note), behind China and the United States. He said one of the reasons Russia reduced the number of launches was because of changes in the launch of many spacecraft in the interest of the Ministry of Defense. In addition, related companies failed to provide satellites in a timely manner, which is related to US sanctions. The third reason is that there are also problems in organizational work.
Russia ’s BFM Network said on the 28th that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov stated that Russia has completed more than half of its launch missions this year, and the main reason for failing to complete its annual launch plan is the existence of organizational problems. He said it was no secret that the field was in trouble. In this year’s achievements in this field, there is only one thing (commendable)-no emergencies have occurred. Therefore, it is necessary to restore order and eliminate unfortunate events in the Russian spaceflight field. Of course, this is a systematic long-term and meticulous work.
Igor Marinin, editor-in-chief of the Russian “Aerospace News” magazine, said that although the number of Russian space launches this year is not large, it has indeed achieved some results. Russia still scores well in manned spaceflight. Americans have failed to launch manned spacecraft this year, and it is still uncertain whether they will succeed next year. The United States also plans to use Russia ’s Soyuz spacecraft to transport its astronauts to the space station. This shows that Russia is still a world leader in this field. Without the Russian spacecraft, the International Space Station would not survive.
Russia’s “Moscow Communist Youth League” reported on the 27th that the number of space launches is a very important indicator. Unfortunately, Russia is now far behind. Judging from the results of 2019, this lag is increasing. ▲
Space characteristics of other countries
In addition to China, the United States, and Russia, there are also many aerospace events in other countries and regions around the world.
The founder of the small rocket, Dr. Xing Qiang, said in an interview with a reporter from the Global Times on the 30th that lunar exploration is a theme for multi-national space agencies and private companies in 2019. Israeli civil society organization SpaceIL launched human’s first privately led moon landing program. In February 2019, this lunar probe was successfully lifted off by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. On April 11, 2019, the probe suddenly lost control and crashed on the surface of the moon when it tried to perform the moon landing mission.
India ’s second lunar probe “Moonship 2” was launched on July 22 this year. On September 7, it attempted to lose contact during a soft landing on the moon ’s surface. The Indian Space Research Organization has repeatedly attempted to restore communications without success. NASA then photographed the wreckage of the Indian probe on the moon’s surface. The probe includes three modules, an orbiter, a lander, and a lunar rover, and carries multiple research devices. Although Lunar Ship 2 failed to land on the moon, the orbiter can still obtain a lot of data to help India’s next moon exploration.
Xing Qiang also believes that the performance of the Japanese asteroid probe “Bird No. 2” in 2019 is also a space event worthy of attention this year.
On February 22, 2019, the Japanese “Starling 2” asteroid probe successfully landed on the asteroid “Dragon Palace”. On April 5, the “Bird No. 2” probe successfully launched a metal projectile on the surface of the asteroid dragon palace, and successfully induced a gush of the asteroid’s underground rocks. This is the first time that humans have carried out projectile bombardment on an asteroid 300 million kilometers away from the earth. At the same time, “Bird No. 2” completed the first human sampling operation on the same asteroid for the first time. By the end of 2020, Starling 2 will return to Earth with a sample of asteroids and land in the Australian space mecca Wumeira.