China launches Earth observation satellite

China today successfully launched a classified Earth observation satellite using its Long March 4B rocket.

As the launch was from an interior spaceport, the rocket’s lower stages landed somewhere in the interior of China.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

61 China
59 SpaceX
21 Russia
9 Rocket Lab
8 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 83 to 61 in the national rankings, but trails the entire world combined 93 to 83.

At the moment, the only known remaining launches in 2022 are two SpaceX Falcon 9 launches. However, China routinely launches a lot in the November/December timeframe, so we should not be surprised if they complete one or two launches as well in the next few days.

China launches three satellites with Long March 4B rocket

China early on August 4, 2022 (China time) successfully placed three satellites in orbit, including a climate satellite it claims will do “carbon monitoring, survey and monitoring of terrestrial ecology and resource, major national ecological projects monitoring and evaluation.” No information at all was released about the other two satellites, both of which were probably cubesats.

This launch actually occurred prior to the Electron launch from Rocket Lab.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

33 SpaceX
27 China
10 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
4 ULA

American private enterprise still leads China 47 to 27 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 47 to 43.

China launches two satellites with Long March 4B

China today launched two satellites thought to be for military reconnaissance, using its Long March 4B rocket.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

47 China
27 SpaceX
21 Russia
6 Europe (Arianespace)
5 ULA
5 Rocket Lab

China now leads the U.S. 47 to 45 in the national rankings. There have now been 122 successful launches in 2021, making it the seventh most active year in the history of space exploratoin.

China’s Long March 4B rocket launches Earth observation satellite

China early today successfully placed an Earth observation satellite in orbit, using its Long March 4B rocket.

This was China’s 42nd successful launch in 2021, which is two launches more than it had projected it would fly at the start of the years.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

42 China
25 SpaceX
18 Russia
5 Europe (Arianespace)

China now leads the U.S. 42 to 40 in the national rankings.

China launches two more military surveillance satellites

China today used its Long March 4B rocket to put two more military surveillance satellites into orbit.

No word on whether the spent first stage landed near habitable areas in China. China also said nothing about whether that stage carried grid fins or parachutes for bringing it back to Earth more precisely.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

27 China
20 SpaceX
12 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

Russia plans a launch later today (tomorrow in Russia) of another 34 OneWeb satellites. In the national rankings, the U.S. still leads China 31 to 27.

China’s Long March 4B rocket launches oceanography satellite

China tonight successfully launched a new oceanography satellite using its Long March 4B rocket, completing a three satellite constellation.

No word on whether the rocket’s first stage landed on any villages in the interior of China.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

15 SpaceX
13 China
7 Russia
2 Rocket Lab
2 ULA

The U.S. still leads China 21 to 13 in the national rankings.

China and Russia launch a bunch of satellites

Russia today used its Soyuz-2 rocket to launch three communication satellites plus 19 commercial smallsats.

This was the first time Russia used the Soyuz-2 for these particular small communications satellites, as previously they had been launched by a variety of smaller rockets.

China in turn today used its Long March 4B to place two Earth resource satellites into orbit.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

25 China
15 SpaceX
10 Russia
4 ULA
4 Europe (Arianespace)

China has moved ahead of the U.S. 25 to 24 in the national rankings.

These numbers should change again in the next few days. The U.S. has had a number of scrubs and launch delays in the past few days. ULA has been repeatedly pushing back the previously delayed launch of a National Security Agency reconnaissance satellite due to a variety of problems related to its Delta 4 Heavy rocket. The launch is now set for just after midnight tonight (Monday night). [UPDATE: Launch scrubbed due to lightning and poor weather. Tentatively rescheduled for 11:58 pm (Eastern) on September 29.]

SpaceX meanwhile had to scrub a launch this morning (September 28) of another 60 Starlink satellites due to weather. No new launch date has yet been announced.

Northrop Grumman also has had to scrub tomorrow’s Antares launch of a Cygnus cargo freighter because of poor weather at Wallops Island. It is now set for the evening of October 1st.

SpaceX also has a scheduled launch tomorrow morning of a GPS satellite on its Falcon 9 rocket. This is also threatened by weather. There is also no word whether the ULA launch scrub will cause this launch to be delayed.

China launches remote sensing satellite

Using its Long March 4B rocket China today successfully launched a remote sensing Earth resources satellite.

They also once again tested grid fins on the first stage, comparable to the ones on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, for controlling the landing zone of that first stage.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

21 China
17 Russia
10 SpaceX
6 Europe (Arianespace)
4 ULA
4 India

The U.S. now leads China 22 to 21 in the national rankings..

China’s Long March 4B launches three satellites

China yesterday used its Long March 4B rocket to launch three satellites into orbit.

This was the first Long March 4 launch since May, when the third stage of a Long March 4C rocket failed. The main payload was a remote sensing satellite with both civilian and military applications. The second satellite was to provide ocean data and weather, with the third a cubesat testing new space communications and the use of a drag sail for de-orbiting.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

15 China
14 Russia
10 SpaceX
6 Europe (Arianespace)

The U.S. continues to lead China 19 to 15 in the national rankings.

China successfully launches three military satellites

The launch race: China today successfully launched three military satellites, using its Long March 4B rocket.

As is typical of Chinese military launches, no information was released about the satellites, and there was no publicity about the launch prior to liftoff. This launch however puts China ahead of the U.S. in total launches in 2018, 11 to 10. The leaders in the 2018 launch standings are as follows:

11 China
7 SpaceX
3 Japan
3 Russia
3 ULA
3 Europe