Russia launched a new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) last week to begin a period of crew rotation on the orbiting laboratory. There were also five other launches by U.S. and Chinese companies over the past seven days.
Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin and American astronaut Frank Rubio were launched aboard the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their arrival in at ISS brought the crew contingent on ISS to 10.
Rubio is the first NASA astronaut to fly aboard the Russian transport vehicle since Mark Vande Hei launched aboard Soyuz MS-18 on April 9, 2021. U.S. astronauts have flown aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft since that flight.
Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov are set to return to Earth aboard Soyuz-21 on Thursday, Sept. 29 after more than six months on the space station.
SpaceX will launch the Crew-5 mission on Monday, Oct. 3. NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Joss Cassada will be joined by Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Kikina will be the first Russian to fly on a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
SpaceX’s two Falcon 9 launches placed 106 Starlink broadband satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Elon Musk’s company has now orbited 1,455 Starlink satellites this year on 29 Falcon 9 rockets. SpaceX has launched 43 times this year.
Sept. 18 – 25 2022
|Date||Launcher – Organization||Payload – Organization||Purpose||Launch Site|
|Sept. 18, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||54 Starlink – SpaceX||Broadband||Cape Canaveral (USA)|
|Sept. 20, 2022||Long March 2D – CASC||Yunhai-1 03 – SAST||Meteorology||Jiuquan (China)|
|Sept. 21, 2022||Soyuz-2.1a – Roscosmos||Soyuz MS-22 – Roscomsos||ISS Crew||Baikonur (Kazakhstan)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Delta IV Heavy – ULA||NROL-91 – NRO||Reconnaissance||Vandenberg (USA)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Kuaizhou-1A – ExPace||Shiyan 14, Shiyan 15||Technology Demonstration||Taiyuan (China)|
|Sept. 24, 2022||Falcon 9 – SpaceX||52 Starlink – SpaceX||Broadband||Cape Canaveral (USA)|
United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV Heavy made its final flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Saturday. The booster, which ULA is phasing out, launched a reconnaissance satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.
There were two launches in China. A Long March 2D rocket launched the Yunhai-1 03 meteorological satellite on Sept. 20. And ExPace’s Kuaizhou-1A booster orbited the Shiyan 14 and Shiyan 15 experimental spacecraft.
SpaceX Continues to Lead
SpaceX continues to lead the world with 43 launches. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. is a close second with 33 flights of its Long March rockets. The next closest launch provider is Rocket Lab with seven.
Orbital Launches by Company/Agency
Jan. 1 – Sept. 25, 2022
|SpaceX||United States||Falcon 9||43||0||43||Two 4-member crews launched to ISS, 15 dedicated Starlink launches, 3 Transporter rideshare missions|
|China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)||China||Long March 2C, 2D, 2F; Long March 3; Long March 4C; Long March 6A; Long March 7; Long March 8; Long March 11, 11H||33||0||33||Crew and cargo flights to Tiangong space station|
|Rocket Lab||United States||Electron||7||0||7||Launches from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand; first deep-space launch (CAPSTONE)|
|Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation (RVSN SF)||Russia||Angara 1.2 (1), Soyuz-2.1a (2), Soyuz-2.1b (1)||6||0||6||Plesetsk Cosmodrome|
|United Launch Alliance (ULA)||United States||Atlas V||6||0||6||Boeing CST-100 Starliner launch to ISS|
|Roscosmos||Russia||Soyuz 2.1A||5||0||5||1 crew and 2 cargo launches to ISS|
|Arianespace||Europe||Ariane 5, Vega-C, Soyuz ST-B||3||0||3||Includes Russian launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana; maiden flight of Vega-C|
|ExPace||China||Kuaizhou-1A||4||0||4||Successful return to flight after failure in December|
|Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)||India||PSLV, SSLV||2||1||3||Experimental module with 6 payloads attached to upper stage for first time; failed maiden flight of SSLV|
|Astra Space||United States||Rocket 3.3||1||2||3||Final flight of Rocket 3.3|
|Virgin Orbit||United States||LauncherOne||2||0||2||First night launch|
|Northrop Grumman||United States||Antares||1||0||1||ISS resupply mission|
|CAS Space||China||ZK-1A||1||0||1||Maiden flight|
|Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI)||South Korea||Nuri||1||0||1||First successful launch of domestically produced launch vehicle|
|Russian Aerospace Force (VKS)||Russia||Soyuz-2.1a||1||0||1||Plesetsk Cosmodrome|
|Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps||Iran||Qased||1||0||1||Shahrud Missile Test Site|
|i-Space||China||Hyperbola-1||0||1||1||Third straight launch failure|
SpaceX’s record launch year has kept the United States with 60 successful flights in 62 attempts. The number represents just over half of all 123 launch attempts. China is in second place with 39 successful launches in 40 attempts.
Orbital Launches by Nation
Jan. 1 – Sept. 25, 2022
|Nation||Successes||Failures||Total||Percentage of Total||Notes|
|United States||60||2||62||50.4||Includes Rocket Lab Electron launches from New Zealand; 2 Crew Dragon and 1 Cargo Dragon flights to ISS; CST-100 Starliner flight to ISS: final flight of Rocket 3.3 (failure)|
|China||39||1||40||32.5||Crew, cargo and module launches to space station; Reusable Experimental Spacecraft flight; successful maiden flights of Long March 6A and ZK-1A boosters|
|Russia||13||0||13||10.6||Includes 1 Soyuz ST-B launch from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana conducted by Arianespace; 1 Soyuz crew and 2 Progress freighters to ISS; 1 successful maiden flight of Angara 1.2|
|Europe||3||0||3||2.4||Successful Vega-C maiden flight, 2 Ariane 5 launches|
|India||2||1||3||2.4||2 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle maiden flight (failure)|
|Iran||1||0||1||0.8||Qased launch vehicle|
|South Korea||1||0||1||0.8||First successful launch of domestically produced orbital launch vehicle (Nuri)|
Russia, which once led the world in orbital flight, lags behind with 13 launches. Europe and India have launched three times apiece, and Iran and South Korea are in the books with a single flight each. Japan has yet to launch in 2022.