China launches military surveillance satellite

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China today successfully launched a military surveillance satellite using its Long March 2D rocket, designed to put smaller payloads in low Earth orbit.

I think the 2D would compare nicely with India’s PSLV rocket.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

8 China
5 SpaceX
3 Japan
2 Russia
2 Europe

The U.S. and China are presently tied at 8. Note also that I am now counting Rocket Lab as a New Zealand rocket, not an American one.



  • Terry

    Thanks for keeping track of the number of launches.

    But is it really fair to count this Chinese launch of only 2000 pounds or so to count the same as a Falcon 9 that can put 50,000 pounds in LEO?

    It would be interesting to keep track of the total pounds sent into orbit by each launch entity. I think it might tell a different story than the total number of launches.

  • Terry: One of my regular readers, LocalFluff, actually started to compile a payload count. I am still hoping he will keep it going.

    At the moment however I think actual launches is still a good benchmark. Getting a lot of rockets launched on a regular basis has so far been a challenge for everyone since the beginning of the space age. Soviet Russia managed it for a while, but they depended on a command economy that eventually went bankrupt. No one else till now has come close. I think this year’s count will show us that we are getting there.

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