China launches three more military reconnaissance satellites

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

China today launched three more military reconnaissance satellites with its Long March 2C rocket.

The race for the most launches in 2017 is tightening, with China coming up the rear.

17 Russia
16 SpaceX
13 China

The US itself has a comfortable lead with 27 total launches.



  • Kirk

    Tomorrow (Monday) marks one week from the planned launch of SpaceX CRS-13 from the newly repaired SLC-40. It will be interesting to see if they manage to successfully complete the static test fire on the first attempt.

    That will bring them to 17, with Zuma and the FH demo waiting on the east coast and Iridium NEXT Flight 4 (NET Dec. 22) waiting on the west coast.

    I’ve not heard if the potential problems (whatever they are) with Zuma’s fairing are also a concern for the Iridium launch.

  • Laurie

    Better living through military reconnaissance satellites.

  • LocalFluff

    In about 16 hours Soyuz will launch from Vostochny. The second to do (1st was in April 2016), I think. And the same week another Soyuz from Baikonur.

  • Richard

    Hi Bob,

    Is it really fair to compare SpaceX (although subsidized, still a private company) with two countries?

  • Richard: Yup, it certainly isn’t fair. In fact, it is downright embarrassing, specifically for countries like China and Russia, who are getting their pants beaten by a single private company in the U.S.

    Freedom works. Private enterprise works. Individual achievement works. These principles, fundamental to the creation of the United States, always work. SpaceX is just proving this once more.

  • Kirk

    The SpaceX CRS-13 launch date has just slipped four days to Friday, December 8. Any reason has not yet been public announced.

  • Kirk

    SpaceX’s 22 December Iridium NEXT-4 launch is on track and not affected by the fairing issues delaying the Zuma launch.

  • Edward

    You may think (or wish) so, but SpaceX is not subsidized. It has contracts with government(s?), but a government contract is not a subsidy.

    Arianespace, however, is subsidized, because it receives money from government to make up for annual cash flow shortfalls.

    (By the way: ULA is not subsidized, either. It has the equivalent of two contracts with the US government. One for launching government payloads and another for maintaining the launch pads. Many people confuse the maintenance as a subsidy, but it is the way that the government reduces the launch costs by assuring ULA that it will not go into bankruptcy due to slow launch years, thus ULA need not overcharge for each launch in order to assure solvency.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *