2012 in spaceflight
COTS2Dragon.2..jpg
The Dragon spacecraft (pictured) conducted the first COTS demonstration logistics flight in May 2012, becoming the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Orbital launches
First9 January
Last19 December
Total77
Successes72
Failures2
Partial failures3
Catalogued75
National firsts
Satellite Hungary
 Poland
 Romania
 Belarus
 North Korea
Orbital launch North Korea
Rockets
Maiden flights
Retirements
Crewed flights
Orbital5
Total travellers15
EVAs5

The year 2012 saw a number of significant events in spaceflight. In May and October, the first Commercial Orbital Transportation Services resupply missions took place, during which the SpaceX Dragon became the first private spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). In June, China launched the crewed Shenzhou 9 orbital mission, and North Korea achieved its first successful orbital launch in December. 2012 also saw China's first successful asteroid exploration mission, and the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. The Vega and Unha-3 rockets made their maiden flights in 2012, while the Proton-K made its last.

A total of 77 orbital launches were attempted in 2012, of which 72 were successful, three were partially successful and two were failures. Five crewed orbital missions were conducted over the course of the year, all successfully, carrying a total of 15 individuals into orbit. The year also saw five EVAs by ISS astronauts. The majority of the year's orbital launches were conducted by Russia, China and the United States, with 29, 19 and 13 launches respectively. A total of 139 payloads were launched during the year, including communication and navigation satellites, logistics spacecraft and scientific probes. Additionally, a large number of suborbital sounding rockets and ballistic missiles were launched by scientific and military organisations.

Overview of orbital spaceflight

A total of 77 orbital launches were attempted in 2012, with 72 being reported as successful, and a total of 139 payloads launched.[1] The three most prolific spacefaring nations were Russia, with 29 launches and 27 successes; China, with 19 launches, all of which succeeded; and the United States, with 13 launches, of which 12 succeeded and one was a partial failure.[1] European nations conducted eight orbital launches, all successfully, while India and Japan conducted two each, also successfully. Iran and North Korea both achieved one successful orbital launch during 2012, but Iran also suffered one launch failures, while North Korea suffered one.[2][3]

Crewed spaceflight

Five crewed orbital launches were conducted during 2012, all successfully, carrying a total of 15 astronauts into orbit. Four of these missions were flown using Russian Soyuz spacecraft, while the fifth was a Chinese Shenzhou launch.[4] All of the year's crewed missions rendezvoused with space stations – the four Soyuz missions docked with the International Space Station (ISS), while China's Shenzhou 9 docked with the Tiangong-1 orbital laboratory. Five spacewalks were also undertaken in 2012, all by ISS crewmembers.[5][6][7][8][9]

Robotic exploration

Numerous significant milestones in robotic spaceflight occurred in 2012, including the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars in August,[10] and the first commercial resupply missions to the ISS in May and October.[11][12] The latter also marked the first fully operational use of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. Elsewhere in the Solar System, NASA's Dawn spacecraft completed its mission to 4 Vesta in September 2012,[13] while China achieved its first asteroid flyby in December.

Orbital launches

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

January[edit]

9 January
03:17:09
China Long March 4B China Taiyuan LC-9 China SAST
China Ziyuan 3 MLR Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[14]
Luxembourg VesselSat-2 Luxspace Low Earth (SSO) Communications 27 October 2016[15] Successful
13 January
00:56:04
China Long March 3A China Xichang LC-3 China CALT
China Fengyun 2-07[16] CMA Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational[17]
20 January
00:38:00
United States Delta IV-M+ (5,4) United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-233 (WGS-4) U.S. Air Force Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[18]
25 January
23:06:40
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress M-14M / 46P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 28 April
13:46
Successful[19]

February[edit]

3 February
00:04
Iran Safir-1B Iran Semnan LP-1 Iran ISA
Iran Navid ISA Low Earth Earth observation 1 April[20] Successful[21]
13 February
10:00:00
Europe Vega France Kourou ELV France Arianespace
Italy LARES ASI Low Earth Geodesy In orbit Operational[22]
Italy ALMASat-1[23] Università di Bologna Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational[22]
Spain Xatcobeo[24] Vigo/INTA Low Earth Technology demonstration 31 August 2014 Successful[22]
Italy UniCubeSat-GG[24] Rome Low Earth Atmospheric science 16 February 2015[25] Successful
France Robusta[24] Montpellier Low Earth Technology demonstration 28 January 2015[26] Partial spacecraft failure
Italy e-st@r[24] Torino Low Earth Technology demonstration 16 January 2015[27] Partial spacecraft failure
Romania Goliat[24] Bucharest Low Earth Technology demonstration 31 December 2014 Partial spacecraft failure[22]
Poland PW-Sat[24] Warsaw Low Earth Technology demonstration 28 October 2014 Successful[22]
Hungary MaSat-1 BME Low Earth Technology demonstration 9 January 2015[28] Successful
Maiden flight of Vega rocket; all payloads CubeSats except LARES and ALMASat-1. First Hungarian, Romanian and Polish satellites.
14 February
19:36:37
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia United States International Launch Services
Netherlands SES-4 SES World Skies Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[29]
24 February
16:12:04
China Long March 3C China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Compass-G5 CNSA Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational[30]
24 February
22:15:00
United States Atlas V 551 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States MUOS-1 U.S. Navy Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[31]

March[edit]

23 March
04:34:05
Europe Ariane 5 ES France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Europe Edoardo Amaldi ATV ESA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 3 October
01:23
Successful[32]
25 March
12:10:32
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia United States International Launch Services
United States Intelsat 22 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[33]
30 March
05:49:32
Russia Proton-K / DM-2 Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia RVSN RF
Russia Kosmos 2479 (US-KMO) VKO Geosynchronous Missile defense In orbit Operational[34]
Final flight of Proton-K, final US-KMO satellite.
31 March
10:27:04
China Long March 3B/E China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Apstar-7 APT Satellite Holdings Geosynchronous Communication In orbit Operational[35]

April[edit]

3 April
23:12:57
United States Delta IV-M+(5,2) United States Vandenberg SLC-6 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-234 (FIA-R) NRO Low Earth Reconnaissance In orbit Operational[36]
NRO Launch 25
12 April
22:38:55
North Korea Unha-3 North Korea Sohae North Korea KCST
North Korea Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3[37] KCST Intended: Low Earth Technology demonstration 12 April Launch failure[3]
Probable first stage failure, disintegrated over the Yellow Sea.[3]
20 April
12:50:24
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress M-15M / 47P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 20 August 2012 Successful[38]
23 April
22:18:13
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia United States International Launch Services
United Arab Emirates Yahsat 1B Yahsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[39]
26 April
00:17
India PSLV-XL India Satish Dhawan Space Centre FLP India ISRO
India RISAT-1 ISRO Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation[40] In orbit Operational[41]
29 April
20:50:03[42]
China Long March 3B China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Compass-M3 CNSA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[42]
China Compass-M4 CNSA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[42]

May[edit]

4 May
18:42:00
United States Atlas V 531 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-235 (AEHF-2) U.S. Air Force Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[43]
6 May
07:10:04[44]
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan SLS-2 China SAST
China Tianhui 1B CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[44]
10 May
07:06:04[45]
China Long March 4B China Taiyuan LC-9 China SAST
China Yaogan 14 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational[45]
China Tiantuo 1 NUDT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration 3 November 2014 Successful
15 May
03:01:23
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz TMA-04M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 31/32 17 September
02:53
Successful[46]
Crewed flight
15 May
22:13:07
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Japan JCSAT-13 SKY Perfect JSAT Group Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[47]
Vietnam Vinasat-2 VNPT Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[48]
17 May
14:05
Russia Soyuz-U Russia Plesetsk Site 16/2 Russia VKO
Russia Kosmos 2480 (Kobalt-M No.8) VKO Low Earth Reconnaissance 24 September Successful[49]
Final Soyuz-U launch from Plesetsk.
17 May
16:39
Japan H-IIA Japan Tanegashima LA-Y1 Japan MHI
Japan United States GCOM-W1 JAXA / NASA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[50]
South Korea Arirang-3 KARI Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[50]
Japan SDS-4 JAXA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Successful
Japan Horyu-2 KIT Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration
Amateur radio
In orbit Successful[51]
17 May
19:12:14
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia United States International Launch Services
Canada Nimiq 6 Telesat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[52]
22 May
07:44:38[11]
United States Falcon 9 v1.0 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States Dragon C2+ SpaceX / NASA Low Earth (ISS) Flight test
ISS logistics
31 May
16:42
Successful[56]
United States New Frontier Celestis Low Earth Space burial 27 June Successful
COTS Demo 2+,[53] orbital test manoeuvres and ISS rendezvous, berthing and cargo delivery. First commercial spacecraft to visit the ISS.[54] Celestis payload, containing cremated remains of 308 people including Gordon Cooper and James Doohan, remained intentionally attached to the upper stage.[55]
23 May[2] Iran Safir-1B Iran Semnan Iran ISA
Iran Fajr ISA Planned: Low Earth[2] Earth observation 23 May Launch failure
Probable launch failure;[2] identity of launch attempt, rocket, satellite and launch time not confirmed.
26 May
15:56:04
China Long March 3B/E China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Chinasat-2A China Satcom Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[57]
29 May
07:31:05
China Long March 4C China Taiyuan LC-9 China SAST
China Yaogan 15 CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Reconnaissance In orbit Operational[58]

June[edit]

1 June
05:22:59
Ukraine Zenit-3SL Norway Ocean Odyssey United Nations Sea Launch
United States Intelsat 19 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Partial spacecraft failure
Second solar panel initially failed to deploy after launch.[59] It eventually deployed, but was damaged.
13 June
16:00:37
United States Pegasus-XL Marshall Islands Stargazer, Kwajalein Atoll United States Orbital Sciences
United States NuSTAR NASA Low Earth X-ray astronomy In orbit Operational[60]
16 June
10:37:24[63]
China Long March 2F Y9 China Jiuquan LA-4/SLS-1 China CALT
China Shenzhou 9 CMSA Low Earth (Tiangong-1) Technology demonstration 29 June
02:01[64]
Successful[4]
China Shenzhou-9-GC (Orbital Module)[65] CMSA Low Earth (Tiangong-1) Space rendezvous 2 December Successful
Crewed flight; first Chinese woman in space,[61][62] and first crewed mission to Tiangong-1.
20 June
12:28
United States Atlas V 401 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-236 (SDS) NRO Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[66]
NRO Launch 38
29 June
13:15
United States Delta IV Heavy United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-237 (Mentor 6) NRO Geosynchronous ELINT In orbit Operational[67]
NRO Launch 15, first flight of Delta IV with RS-68A engines.

July[edit]

5 July
21:36:07[68]
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
United States Echostar XVII Hughes Network Systems Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational
Europe MSG 3 EUMETSAT Geosynchronous Meteorology In orbit Operational
9 July
18:38:30
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia United States International Launch Services
Luxembourg SES-5 SES Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[69]
15 July
02:40:03
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz TMA-05M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 32/33 19 November
01:56
Successful[70]
Crewed flight
21 July
02:06:18[71]
Japan H-IIB Japan Tanegashima LA-Y2 Japan JAXA[72][73]
Japan Kounotori 3 JAXA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 14 September Successful[74]
Japan Raiko Wakayama/Tohuku Low Earth Technology demonstration 6 August 2013[75] Successful
Japan FITSAT-1 (Niwaka) FIT Low Earth Technology demonstration 4 July 2013[76] Successful
Japan We-Wish Meisei Electric Low Earth Technology demonstration 11 March 2013[77] Successful
Vietnam F-1 FPT Low Earth Technology demonstration May 2013[78] Successfully deployed, but no signal was received.[79]
United States TechEdSat San Jose Low Earth Technology demonstration 5 May 2013[80] Successful
All payloads CubeSats other than Kounotori 3. CubeSats carried aboard Kounotori and deployed from the ISS.
22 July
06:41:39
Russia Soyuz-FG / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Kanopus V-1 Roscosmos Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[81]
Belarus BelKA-2 NASRB Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[81]
Russia Zond-PP Roscosmos Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration
Earth observation
In orbit Spacecraft failure[82]
Germany TET-1 DLR Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational[81]
Canada exactView 1 exactEarth Low Earth (SSO) AIS ship tracking In orbit Operational[81]
First Belarusian satellite.
25 July
15:43:04
China Long March 3C China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Tianlian I-03 CNSA Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[83]
28 July
01:35:34[84]
Russia Rokot / Briz-KM Russia Plesetsk Site 133/3 Russia VKO
Russia Gonets M-3 Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Gonets M-4 Gonets Satellite System Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia Kosmos 2481 (Strela-3M) VKO Low Earth Communications In orbit Operational
Russia MiR (Yubileiny 2) NPO PM Low Earth Amateur radio
Technology demonstration
In orbit Operational

August[edit]

1 August
19:35:13
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress M-16M / 48P Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 9 February 2013 Successful[86]
Russia Sfera-53 Roscosmos Low Earth Atmospheric density 24 November[87] Successful[88]
Fast rendezvous test;[85] Sfera-53 deployed from ISS at 18:29 UTC on 20 August during a spacewalk.
2 August
20:54
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
United States Intelsat 20 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[89]
United Kingdom HYLAS-2 Avanti Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[89]
6 August
19:31:00 [91]
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia Khrunichev
Indonesia Telkom-3 PT Telkom Planned: Geosynchronous
Achieved: Medium Earth
Communications 5 February 2021 [92] Launch failure[93]
Russia Ekspress-MD2 RSCC Planned: Geosynchronous
Achieved: Medium Earth
Communications In orbit
Briz-M stage failure 7 seconds into its third burn.[90] Stage exploded on 16 October, generating over 500 pieces of orbital debris.
19 August
06:54:59
Ukraine Zenit-3SL Norway Ocean Odyssey United Nations Sea Launch
United States Intelsat 21 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[94]
30 August
08:05:27[97]
United States Atlas V 401 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States Van Allen Probe A (RBSP-A) NASA Highly elliptical Magnetospheric research In orbit Successful
United States Van Allen Probe B (RBSP-B) NASA Highly elliptical Magnetospheric research In orbit Successful
Launch of the two Van Allen Probes, formerly known as the Radiation Belt Storm Probes. Van Allen Probe B ceased operations on 19 July 2019;[95] Van Allen Probe A was deactivated on 18 October 2019.[96]

September[edit]

9 September
04:23
India PSLV-CA India Satish Dhawan FLP India ISRO
France SPOT 6 CNES Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[98]
Japan PROITERES Osaka Institute of Technology Low Earth (SSO) Amateur radio
Technology demonstration
In orbit Operational[98]
13 September
21:39:00[99]
United States Atlas V 401 United States Vandenberg SLC-3E United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-238 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINT In orbit Operational
United States USA-238 (NOSS) NRO Low Earth ELINT In orbit Operational
United States CINEMA 1 UCB Low Earth Magnetospheric research In orbit Operational
United States CXBN Morehead Low Earth X-ray astronomy In orbit Operational
United States CP 5 CalPoly Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States CSSWE CU-Boulder Low Earth Magnetospheric research In orbit Operational
United States Aeneas USC / NRO Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States STARE A Lawrence Livermore Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States SMDC-ONE 2.1 U.S. Army Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States SMDC-ONE 2.2 U.S. Army Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States AeroCube 4 The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States AeroCube 4.5A The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
United States AeroCube 4.5B The Aerospace Corporation Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
NRO Launch 36
17 September
16:28:40
Russia Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Europe Russia Starsem
Europe MetOp-B EUMETSAT Low Earth (SSO) Meteorology In orbit Operational[100]
18 September
19:10:04
China Long March 3B/E China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Compass-M5 CNSA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[101]
China Compass-M6 CNSA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[101]
28 September
21:18:07
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
Luxembourg Astra 2F SES Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[102]
India GSAT-10 ISRO Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[103]
29 September[104]
04:12:04
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan SLS-2 China SAST
Venezuela VRSS-1 MPPCTII Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[105]

October[edit]

4 October
12:10:00
United States Delta IV M+(4,2) United States Cape Canaveral SLC-37B United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-239 (GPS IIF-3) U.S. Air Force Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[106]
8 October
00:35:07[108]
United States Falcon 9 v1.0 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-40 United States SpaceX
United States SpaceX CRS-1 NASA Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 28 October
19:22[12]
Successful[12]
United States Orbcomm-2 F1 Orbcomm Low Earth Communications 10 October Launch failure[109][110]
First flight of Commercial Resupply Services programme.[107] First stage engine failure resulted in a too-low orbit for Orbcomm payload; CRS-1 nonetheless placed into correct orbit.
12 October
18:15:01
Russia Soyuz ST-B / Fregat-MT France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
European Union Galileo IOV 3 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[111]
European Union Galileo IOV 4 ESA Medium Earth Navigation In orbit Operational[111]
14 October
03:25:05
China Long March 2C/SMA China Taiyuan LC-9 China CALT
China Shijian 9A CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational[112]
China Shijian 9B CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational[112]
14 October
08:37:00
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia United States International Launch Services
United States Intelsat 23 Intelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[113]
23 October
10:51:11[114]
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 31/6 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz TMA-06M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS)[115] Expedition 33/34 16 March 2013
03:06
Successful[116]
Crewed flight
25 October
15:33:04
China Long March 3C China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Compass-G6 CNSA Geosynchronous Navigation In orbit Operational[118]
Compass navigation system became commercially operational in Asia-Pacific region in December 2012.[117]
31 October
07:41:18
Russia Soyuz-U Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Progress M-17M / 49P[119] Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) ISS logistics 21 April 2013 Successful[120]

November[edit]

2 November
21:04:00
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 81/24 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Luch 5B Gonets Satellite System Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[121]
Russia Yamal-300K Gazprom Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[121]
10 November
21:05:07
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
France Eutelsat 21B Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[122]
Brazil Star One C3 Star One Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[122]
14 November
11:42:46
Russia Soyuz-2.1a / Fregat Russia Plesetsk Site 43/4 Russia VKO
Russia Meridian 6 VKO Molniya Communications In orbit Operational[123]
18 November
22:53:04[124]
China Long March 2C China Taiyuan LC-9 China CALT
China Huanjing 1C CNSA Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational
China Xinyan 1 CASC Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration 5 October 2019 Successful[125]
China Fengniao 1 SAST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
China Fengniao 1A SAST Low Earth (SSO) Technology demonstration In orbit Operational
20 November
18:31:00
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia United States International Launch Services
United States EchoStar XVI EchoStar Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[126]
25 November
04:06:04
China Long March 4C China Jiuquan SLS-2 China SAST
China Yaogan 16A CNSA Low Earth ELINT In orbit Operational[127]
China Yaogan 16B CNSA Low Earth ELINT In orbit Operational[127]
China Yaogan 16C CNSA Low Earth ELINT In orbit Operational[127]
27 November
10:13:03[128]
China Long March 3B/E China Xichang LC-2 China CALT
China Sri Lanka ChinaSat 12 / SupremeSAT-I China Satcom / SupremeSAT Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[128]
Part of satellite's communications payload was leased to SupremeSAT, a Sri Lankan satellite operator, as SupremeSAT-I.

December[edit]

2 December
02:02:51
Russia Soyuz ST-A / Fregat France Kourou ELS France Arianespace
France Pléiades-HR 1B CNES Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[129]
3 December
20:43:59
Ukraine Zenit-3SL Norway Ocean Odyssey United Nations Sea Launch
France Eutelsat 70B Eutelsat Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[130]
8 December
13:13:43
Russia Proton-M / Briz-M Enhanced Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 200/39 Russia United States International Launch Services
Russia Yamal-402 Gazprom Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational; partial launch failure[132]
Briz-M stage failure 4 minutes before scheduled shut down on its fourth burn.[131]
11 December
18:03
United States Atlas V 501 United States Cape Canaveral SLC-41 United States United Launch Alliance
United States USA-240 (X-37B OTV-3) U.S. Air Force Low Earth Technology demonstration 17 October 2014 Successful[133][134]
270-day X-37B endurance mission ultimately extended to over 680 days.[133]
12 December
00:49:46[137][138]
North Korea Unha-3 North Korea Sohae North Korea KCST
North Korea Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 KCST Low Earth Technology demonstration In orbit Spacecraft failure[136]
First successful North Korean orbital launch, first North Korean satellite;[135] satellite reached orbit but malfunctioned thereafter.[136]
18 December
16:13:04[139]
China Long March 2D China Jiuquan SLS-2 China SAST
Turkey Göktürk-2 MSB Low Earth (SSO) Earth observation In orbit Operational[140]
19 December
12:12:35
Russia Soyuz-FG Kazakhstan Baikonur Site 1/5 Russia Roscosmos
Russia Soyuz TMA-07M Roscosmos Low Earth (ISS) Expedition 34/35 14 May 2013
02:31
Successful[141]
Crewed flight
19 December
21:49:07
Europe Ariane 5 ECA France Kourou ELA-3 France Arianespace
United Kingdom Skynet 5D Astrium Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[142]
Mexico Mexsat-3 SCT Geosynchronous Communications In orbit Operational[142]
Skynet 5D military communications satellite operated by Astrium Services on behalf of the British Ministry of Defence.

Suborbital flights

Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload
(⚀ = CubeSat)
Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
11 January
13:25
United States Terrier-Improved Malemute[143] United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
NASA Suborbital Test flight 11 January Successful[144]
11 January
20:51
Japan S-520 Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
JAXA/HU/TU/TU/TPU/KU/KUT Suborbital Atmospheric science 11 January Successful[145]
24 January Israel Arrow III Israel Negev Israel IAI
IAI/IDF Suborbital ABM Test 24 January Successful[146]
First test flight of the Arrow-III
10 February
04:40
India Prithvi IndiaITR IC-4 IndiaDRDO
DRDO Suborbital Target 10 February Successful[147]
Target for ABM test, successfully intercepted
10 February Israel Blue Sparrow Israel F-15 Eagle, Israel IsraelIAF
Israeli Air Force Suborbital ABM target 10 February Successful[148]
Arrow-3 tracking target
13 February
09:32
Brazil VSB-30 SwedenEsrange EuropeEuroLaunch
Sweden MASER-12 SSC Suborbital Microgravity 13 February Successful[149]
19 February
05:41
Canada Black Brant IX United States Poker Flat United StatesNASA
UNH Suborbital Auroral research 19 February Successful[150]
22 February United States UGM-133 Trident II D5 United StatesUSS Tennessee, ETR United StatesUS Navy
US Navy Suborbital Missile test 22 February Successful[151]
Demonstration and Shakedown Operation 23 (DASO-23)
25 February
10:46
United States LGM-30G Minuteman III United States Vandenberg LF-09 United States US Air Force
US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 25 February Successful[152]
22 March
09:00
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States CIBER Caltech Suborbital Astronomy 22 March Successful[153]
27 March
08:58
United States Terrier-Oriole United States Wallops Island United States NASA
United States ATREX Clemson Suborbital Geospace 27 March Successful[154]
27 March
08:59
United States Terrier-Improved Malemute United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United StatesATREX Clemson Suborbital Geospace 27 March Successful[154]
27 March
09:00
United States Terrier-Orion United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United StatesATREX Clemson Suborbital Geospace 27 March Successful[154]
27 March
09:02
United States Terrier-Improved Malemute United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United StatesATREX Clemson Suborbital Geospace 27 March Successful[154]
27 March
09:03
United States Terrier-Orion United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United StatesATREX Clemson Suborbital Geospace 27 March Successful[154]
5 April
14:18
United States SpaceLoft XL United States Spaceport America United States UP Aerospace
ORS Suborbital Technology demonstration 5 April Successful[155]
Apogee: 117 kilometres (73 mi), successfully recovered
14 April United States UGM-133 Trident II D5 United StatesUSS Maryland, ETR United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital Test flight 14 April Successful[156]
Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test 45
14 April United StatesUGM-133 Trident II D5 United StatesUSS Maryland, ETR United StatesUS Navy
US Navy Suborbital Test flight 14 April Successful[156]
Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test 45
16 April United StatesUGM-133 Trident II D5 United StatesUSS Maryland, ETR United StatesUS Navy
US Navy Suborbital Test flight 16 April Successful[156]
Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test 46
16 April United StatesUGM-133 Trident II D5 United StatesUSS Maryland, ETR United StatesUS Navy
US Navy Suborbital Test flight 16 April Successful[156]
Follow-on Commander's Evaluation Test 46
19 April
02:37
India Agni-V India Integrated Test Range India DRDO
DRDO Suborbital Test flight 19 April Successful[157]
Apogee: 800 kilometres (500 mi), maiden flight of Agni-V
23 April Brazil VS-30/Orion Norway Andøya Australia DSTO
Australia HiFire-5 DSTO Suborbital Technology demonstration 23 April Launch failure
Hypersonic research experiment, second stage of launch vehicle failed to ignite
25 April Pakistan Shaheen-IA Pakistan Sonmiani Pakistan ASFC
ASFC Suborbital Test flight 25 April Successful[158]
10 May
06:18
United States Terrier Orion (ARAV-A) FTM-16 E2a United States Kauai United States MDA
MDA Suborbital ABM target 10 May Successful[159]
SM-3 Block 1B target
10 May
06:21
United States RIM-161C SM-3 Block 1B FTM-16 E2a United States USS Lake Erie, Pacific Ocean United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital ABM test 10 May Successful[159]
ARAV-A interceptor, successful intercept
23 May
06:15
Russia RS-26 Rubezh Russia Plesetsk Russia RVSN
RVSN Suborbital Missile test 23 May Successful[160]
7 June
17:39
RussiaRS-12M Topol Russia Kapustin Yar RussiaRVSN
RVSN Suborbital Missile test 7 June Successful[161]
21 June
10:40
United States Terrier Improved Orion United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United States RockOn Colorado Suborbital Student experiments 21 June Successful[162]
22 June
19:18
Brazil VS-40 NorwayAndøya NorwayAndøya
Germany SHEFEX II DLR Suborbital Technology demonstration 22 June Successful[163]
23 June
19:30
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States EVE CU Boulder Suborbital SDO calibration 23 June Successful[164]
27 June
09:15
United States Castor 4B FTM-18 United States Kauai United States MDA
MDA Suborbital ABM target 27 June Successful[165]
SM-3 Block 1B target
27 June
09:18
United States RIM-161C SM-3 Block 1B FTM-18 United States USS Lake Erie, Pacific Ocean United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital ABM test 27 June Successful[165]
Castor 4B interceptor, successful intercept
3 July Iran Shahab-1 IranIran IranIRGC
IGRC Suborbital Missile test 3 July Successful[166]
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)
3 July IranShahab-2 IranIran IranIGRC
IRGC Suborbital Missile test 3 July Successful[166]
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)
3 July Iran Shahab-3 IranIran IranIRGC
IRGC Suborbital Missile test 3 July Successful[166]
Apogee: ~150 kilometres (93 mi)
5 July
18:50
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States SUMI NASA/MSFC Suborbital Solar research 5 July Successful[167]
11 July
18:50
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States Hi-C NASA/MSFC Suborbital Solar research 11 July Successful[168]
13 July
04:36
India Agni-I India Integrated Test Range India IDRDL
IDRDL Suborbital Missile test 13 July Successful[169]
Apogee: ~200 kilometres (120 mi)
23 July
11:01
Canada Black Brant XI United StatesWallops Island United StatesNASA
United States IRVE-3 NASA/Langley Suborbital Atmospheric entry test 23 July Successful[170]
Apogee: ~285 miles (459 km); part of the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator programme
24 July
19:17
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States DFS USC Suborbital Solar research 24 July Successful[171]
7 August
07:30:00[172]
Japan S-310 Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan[173] UT/JAXA/AGU/TKD/NU/TU/KIT Suborbital Technology demonstration 7 August Successful[174]
9 August
03:16
India Agni-II India ITR IC-4 India Indian Army
Indian Army Suborbital Missile test 9 August Successful[175]
Apogee: 220 kilometres (140 mi)
12 September United States Terrier-Lynx United States Wallops Island United States DoD
United States Shark DoD Suborbital Radar target 12 September Successful[176]
Apogee: ~300 kilometres (190 mi)
13 September
12:30
United States Juno United States Fort Wingate LC-96 United StatesUS Army
US Army Suborbital Target 13 September Successful[177]
Target for MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3 MSE test, successfully intercepted
13 September Brazil VS-30/Orion Norway Andøya Australia DSTO
Australia HiFire-3 DSTO Suborbital Technology demonstration 13 September Successful[178]
Hypersonic research experiment, Apogee: 349 kilometres (217 mi)
19 September
11:45[179]
India Agni-IV India ITR IC-4 India Indian Army
Indian Army Suborbital Missile test 19 September Successful
Apogee: 800 kilometres (500 mi)
21 September
13:15[180]
India Agni-III India ITR IC-4 India Indian Army
Indian Army Suborbital Missile test 21 September Successful
Apogee: 450 kilometres (280 mi)
21 September
11:16
United States Terrier Improved Malemute United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
United States RockSat-X NASA Suborbital Student experiments 21 September Successful[181]
Apogee: ~153 kilometres (95 mi)
22 September
11:00
United States Talos Terrier Oriole United States Wallops Island United StatesNASA
NASA Suborbital Rocket test 22 September Successful[182]
Apogee: ~269 kilometres (167 mi)
4 October
03:37
India Prithvi II India Integrated Test Range Launch Complex 3 India DRDO
DRDO Suborbital Missile test 4 October Successful[183]
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)
5 October
05:55
India Dhanush IndiaShip, Indian Ocean India DRDO
DRDO Suborbital Target 5 October Successful[184]
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)
19 October
09:12
RussiaTopol M2 RussiaPlesetsk RussiaRVSN
RVSN Suborbital Missile test 19 October Successful[185]
19 October Russia R-29R Volna Russia K-433 Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets, Sea of Okhotsk RussiaVMF
VMF Suborbital Missile test 19 October Successful[185]
23 October United StatesUGM-133 Trident II D5 United KingdomHMS Vigilant United Kingdom Royal Navy
Royal Navy Suborbital Missile test 23 October Successful[186]
24 October
18:29
Russia RS-26 Rubezh Russia Kapustin Yar Russia RVSN
RVSN Suborbital Missile test 24 October Successful[187]
25 October United StatesLong Range Air Launch Target FTI-01 C-17 Globemaster III, Pacific Ocean United StatesMDA
MDA/IMDO Suborbital ABM target 25 October Successful[188]
Target for THAAD, successful intercept
25 October United States THAAD FTI-01 United States Meck Island United States US Army
US Army/MDA Suborbital ABM test 25 October Successful[188]
Intercepted target missile
25 October United States (ARAV-B) FTI-01 United States Wake Island United States MDA
MDA Suborbital ABM target 25 October Successful[188]
SM-3 Block 1A target
25 October United States SM-3 Block 1A FTI-01 United States USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), Pacific Ocean United States US Navy
US Navy Suborbital ABM test 25 October Spacecraft failure[188]
ARAV-B interceptor, intercept failed
25 October United States SRBM United States Kwajalein United States MDA
MDA Suborbital ABM target 25 October Successful[188]
FTI-01, Patriot PAC-3 target, successfully intercepted
2 November
17:55
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United States FOXSI UC Berkeley Suborbital Solar research 2 November Successful[189]
14 November
11:07
United StatesLGM-30G Minuteman III United StatesVandenberg LF-10 United StatesUS Air Force
US Air Force Suborbital Test flight 14 November Successful[190]
21 November
10:55
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United StatesIMAGER University of Massachusetts Suborbital Astronomy 21 November Successful[191]
23 November India Prithvi IndiaITR IC-4 IndiaDRDO
DRDO Suborbital Target 23 November Successful[192]
Target for ABM test, successfully intercepted
25 November
11:20
United States Nike-Orion Sweden Esrange Europe EuroLaunch
Germany MAPHEUS-3 DLR Suborbital Technology demonstration 25 November Successful[193]
Apogee: 140 kilometres (87 mi)
28 November Pakistan Ghauri Pakistan Tilla PakistanArmy of Pakistan
Pakistan Haft-5 Army of Pakistan Suborbital Missile test 28 November Successful[194]
Apogee: 100 kilometres (62 mi)
8 December
21:00
Brazil VS-30/Orion Brazil Alcântara Brazil AEB
BrazilIguaiba INPE Suborbital Microgravity 8 December Successful[195]
Apogee: 428 kilometres (266 mi)
13 December
05:20
CanadaBlack Brant IX United StatesWhite Sands United StatesNASA
United StatesDXL U of M Suborbital Astronomy 13 December Successful[196]
17 December
07:00[197]
Japan S-520 Japan Uchinoura Japan JAXA
Japan Tohoku/JAXA/Tokai Suborbital Microgravity 17 December Successful[198]
Apogee: 312 kilometres (194 mi)
20 December
03:51
India Prithvi II IndiaITR IC-3 IndiaDRDO
Strategic Force Command Suborbital Missile test 20 December Successful[199]
Apogee: ~100 kilometres (62 mi)

Deep space rendezvous

Date (UTC) Spacecraft Event Remarks
1 January GRAIL-B Lunar orbit insertion Joined its twin, GRAIL-A, which entered lunar orbit on 31 December 2011.[200]
2 January Cassini 80th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 29,415 kilometres (18,278 mi).[201]
30 January Cassini 81st flyby of Titan Closest approach: 31,131 kilometres (19,344 mi).[201]
19 February Cassini 82nd flyby of Titan Closest approach: 3,803 kilometres (2,363 mi).[201]
9 March Cassini Flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi).[201]
27 March Cassini 17th flyby of Enceladus Closest approach: 74 kilometres (46 mi).[201]
14 April Cassini 18th flyby of Enceladus
Flyby of Tethys
Closest approach to Enceladus: 74 kilometres (46 mi).[201]
Closest approach to Tethys: 9,000 kilometres (5,600 mi).[201]
2 May Cassini 20th flyby of Enceladus
Flyby of Dione
Closest approach to Enceladus: 74 kilometres (46 mi).[201]
Closest approach to Dione: 8,000 kilometres (5,000 mi).[201]
20 May Cassini Flyby of Methone
Flyby of Telesto
Closest approach to Methone: 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi).[201]
Closest approach to Telesto: 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi).[201]
21 May Cassini 83rd flyby of Titan Closest approach: 955 kilometres (593 mi).[201]
6 June Cassini 84th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 959 kilometres (596 mi).[201]
24 July Cassini 85th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 1,012 kilometres (629 mi).[201]
6 August Curiosity Landing on Mars in Gale Crater Used the Sky Crane soft landing system. Successful landing at 05:14 UTC at coordinates 4°35′22″S 137°26′30″E / 4.5895°S 137.4417°E / -4.5895; 137.4417.[10]
5 September[13][202] Dawn Leaving Vestiocentric orbit Headed for Ceres, which it reached on 6 March 2015.[203]
26 September Cassini 86th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 956 kilometres (594 mi).[201]
13 November Cassini 87th flyby of Titan Closest approach: 973 kilometres (605 mi).[201]
29 November Cassini 88th flyby of Titan Closest approach to Titan: 1,014 kilometres (630 mi).[201]
13 December Chang'e 2 Flyby of 4179 Toutatis First Chinese asteroid flyby. Closest approach to 4179 Toutatis: less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) (770 metres).[204]
17 December GRAIL Lunar impact at "Sally K. Ride" site Both GRAIL satellites concluded their mission by impacting the Moon's surface.[205][206]
22 December Cassini Distant flyby of Titan
Flyby of Rhea
Closest approach to Titan: 715,000 kilometres (444,000 mi).[201]
Closest approach to Rhea: 23,000 kilometres (14,000 mi).[201]

EVAs

Start Date/Time Duration End Time Spacecraft Crew Remarks
16 February
14:31[5]
6 hours
15 minutes
20:46 Expedition 29/30

ISS Pirs

Russia Oleg Kononenko

Russia Anton Shkaplerov

Moved Strela 1 crane from ISS Pirs module to Poisk module, installed four materials experiments on the exterior of the ISS, and installed supporting struts on the EVA ladder on Pirs.
20 August
16:37[6]
5 hours
51 minutes
22:28 Expedition 31/32

ISS Pirs

Russia Gennady Padalka

Russia Yuri Malenchenko

Relocated Strela 2 telescoping boom from Pirs docking compartment to Zarya control module, in preparation for undocking of Pirs, which will pave the way for arrival of the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module in 2013. Also installed micrometeoroid debris shields on Zvezda service module, retrieved two experiments from Pirs' exterior, installed two support struts for hatch ladder and deployed two small tracking satellites.[88]
30 August
12:16
8 hours
17 minutes
20:33 Expedition 31/32

ISS Quest

United States Sunita Williams

Japan Akihiko Hoshide

Connected two power cables between the US and Russian orbital segments; removed and replaced Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) 1. The crew had difficulty in removing connecting bolts of the old MBSU, and were unable to tighten up the bolts for the new unit. The new MBSU was tied down for future trouble-shooting, with all other tasks deferred to a future EVA. Third-longest EVA in history.[7]
5 September
11:06
6 hours
28 minutes
17:34 Expedition 31/32

ISS Quest

United States Sunita Williams

Japan Akihiko Hoshide

Installed the new MBSU unit, working around difficulty with one of the bolts; replaced one of the cameras mounted on the Canadarm2. During this spacewalk, Sunita Williams broke Peggy Whitson's 2007 record for most total time spacewalking by a woman.[8][207]
1 November
12:29
6 hours
38 minutes
19:07 Expedition 32/33

ISS Quest

United States Sunita Williams

Japan Akihiko Hoshide

Reconfigured and isolated a leak in the ammonia cooling system of power channel 2B on the P6 truss by bypassing a leaking cooling loop and re-connecting jumpers to an unused loop of the Early External Thermal Control System (EETCS), and by redeploying the trailing Thermal Control Radiator of the system.[9][208]

Orbital launch statistics

By country

For the purposes of this section, the yearly tally of orbital launches by country assigns each flight to the country of origin of the rocket, not to the launch services provider or the spaceport. For example, Soyuz launches by Arianespace in Kourou are counted under Russia because Soyuz-2 is a Russian rocket.

China: 19Europe: 8India: 2Iran: 2Japan: 2North Korea: 2Russia: 26Ukraine: 3USA: 13Circle frame.svg
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 China 19 19 0 0
 Europe 8 8 0 0
 India 2 2 0 0
 Iran 2 1 1 0
 Japan 2 2 0 0
 North Korea 2 1 1 0 First successful orbital launch
 Russia 26 24 1 1 Includes two European Soyuz launches from Kourou, French Guiana by Arianespace
 Ukraine 3 3 0 0 Includes three Zenit from Sea Launch
 United States 13 12 0 1
World 77 72 3 2

By rocket

5
10
15
20
Ariane
Atlas
Delta
Falcon
H-II
Long March
R-7
Safir
SLV
Unha
UR
Zenit
Others

By family

By type

By configuration

By spaceport

5
10
15
20
25
30
China
France
India
International waters
Iran
Japan
Kazakhstan
Marshall Islands
North Korea
Russia
United States
Site Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Baikonur  Kazakhstan 21 19 1 1
Cape Canaveral  United States 10 9 0 1
Kourou  France 10 10 0 0
Jiuquan  China 5 5 0 0
Kwajalein  Marshall Islands 1 1 0 0
Ocean Odyssey United Nations International waters 3 3 0 0
Plesetsk  Russia 3 3 0 0
Satish Dhawan  India 2 2 0 0
Semnan  Iran 2 1 1 0
Sohae  North Korea 2 1 1 0
Tanegashima  Japan 2 2 0 0
Taiyuan  China 5 5 0 0
Vandenberg  United States 2 2 0 0
Xichang  China 9 9 0 0
Total 77 72 3 2

By orbit

10
20
30
40
Transatmospheric
Low Earth
Medium Earth
Geosynchronous / transfer
High Earth
Heliocentric
  •   Transatmospheric
  •   Low Earth
  •   Low Earth (ISS)
  •   Low Earth (SSO)
  •   Low Earth (retrograde)
  •   Medium Earth
  •   Geosychronous
    (transfer)
  •   Inclined GSO
  •   High Earth
  •   Heliocentric
Orbital regime Launches Successes Failures Accidentally
achieved
Remarks
Transatmospheric 0 0 0 0
Low Earth 39 37 2 0 12 to ISS, 1 to Tiangong-1