Falcon 9, Angara 5 & GSLV Mk. 3 Flights Highlight Crowded Launch Schedule

First stage recovery barge (Credit: SpaceX)

With only two weeks left in the year, the global launch schedule is crammed with 9 launches, including the flights of new launch vehicles by Russia and India and an unprecedented effort by SpaceX to recover a first-stage for reuse.

Below are the highlights.

Dec. 18. GSLV Mk.3: India will conduct the first test flight of its new medium-lift GSLV Mk. 3 launch vehicle. This will be a suborbital launch that will carry a prototype of a human spacecraft. Satish Dhawan Space Centre

Dec. 19. SpaceX CRS-5:  SpaceX will send a Dragon freighter on the company’s fifth commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. The company will attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster for reuse by landing it on a barge. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Dec. 25. Angara 5: Russia will conduct its first test of its new Angara 5 heavy-lift booster, which will send a dummy payload into orbit. The launch follows the suborbital flight of the smaller Angara 1.2, which tested the core stage for this new family of boosters. Plesetsk Cosmodrome

The table below shows flights scheduled for the rest of the year.  Schedule subject to change without notice.

UPDATES: The GSLV launch was successful. Russia has delayed the Strela flight to Dec. 19, and SpaceX has rescheduled the Falcon 9 launch to no earlier than Jan. 6.

Dec. 18GSLV Mk.3CARESatish DhawanIndia
Dec. 18StrelaKondor E1BaikonurRussia
Dec. 18SoyuzO3b F3KourouRussia
Dec. 19Falcon 9CRS 5CCAFSUSA
Dec. 24SoyuzLotus SPlesetskRussia
Dec. 25Angara 5Dummy payloadPlesetskRussia
Dec. 26SoyuzResurs P2BaikonurRussia
Dec. 28ProtonASTRA 2GBaikonurRussia
DecemberLong March 3AFengyun 2GXichangChina

Source: Spaceflight Now

  • nathankoren

    Worth noting that if all of these launches happen as planned, there will have been 91 orbital launches in 2014 — a better launch rate than at any time since the cold war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_spaceflight

  • Saturn13

    One of the reasons for the big X is to tell fliers not to land there. Somebody did a touch and go on a carrier being towed. The X I have seen are plain. I guess it is alright with FAA to be fancy.

  • Aerospike

    Does the “NATION” identify the country of origin of the launcher, the location of the launch site or the nationality of the launch provider or the payload?

    Just asking since nothing but the Soyuz launch vehicle is “Russian” for the O3b F3 launch on Dec. 18th 😉

  • Sam Moore

    Soyuz from Kourou is prepared and launched launched by Russian engineers in practice, I think from Progress

  • Matt

    According due to an incoming public e-mail from SpaceX, the will try to achieve 10 m landing accurancy. This is three oders of magnitude better as first 1-stage landing trials demonstrated (as the SpaceX-statement says). I hope the vehicle will survive the build-up of commaned angle of attack (which comes from lateral acceleration commands in order to hit the aim point like guided missile) at high dynamic pressures.

  • Hug Doug

    That’s a pretty cool graph!

  • windbourne

    wow. We were down to about 1/2 of what we were in 1966. Considering that most all of those launched in the 60s were mostly American and Soviet, that is amazing.
    In addition, it will be interesting to see the launch rate over the next 5 years.

  • Vladislaw

    The life of the probe has really changed. Some of the probes the launched in the mid 60’s were only lasting weeks or months and failure rates were higher. All leading to more launches per year. Now we have missions that last a decade as being a lot more common.

  • Larry J

    Yes, even into the early 1990s, many Soviet/Russian satellites only had operational lives measured in weeks or a few months, especially their film-return photographic reconnaissance satellites. They’ve radically improved satellite operational lifespans since then so they (and we) need fewer launches. Back in the 1970s, a US military communications satellite like the DSCS-II was designed with a 5 year operational life. The DSCS-III was designed for a 10 year life. Current military commsats are designed for a 15 year life.

  • Matt

    Yeh, interesting. It seems that relative failure rates of orbital launches did not change significantly. I assume 5-10%.

  • Kapitalist

    So launches during the rest of this year are: India, Russia, Russia, US private, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, China.

  • Douglas Messier

    I’m counting 94 including the GSLV Mark III and Angara 1.2 suborbital test flights.

  • windbourne

    Considering that they did it already when putting on the ocean, I would think that is not an issue.

  • Saturn13

    I think they said the other landings had a 10k landing area. They have a burn to get it close. Then it was ballistic. No steering. They may be anywhere in the 10k, so it may be a lot of steering or not. From the altitude that the paddles start working, it should not be a problem.

  • Saturn13

    That is not the way I read what they said on the website. They had a 10K target. A 10m is a big change. I do not think they did it landing on the ocean.