China Sets New Record for Launches in Calendar Year

China set a new national record for the number of launches in a calendar year.

A Long March 3B booster lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center with two Beidou navigation satellites bound for medium Earth orbit. It was the 23rd successful launch of the year with no failures.

To date, China has launched six boosters with 11 Beidou satellites aboard in 2018. The navigation satellite system, which is similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System and Europe’s Galileo constellation, will eventually have 35 satellites in orbit.

China’s launch total for 2018 is expected to be in the low to mid-30’s.

  • Terry Stetler

    Shouldn’t we issue a demerit for each time they drop a stage on a village?

  • Douglas Messier

    What did you have in mind? 1/4 launch? 1/8? Does the amount vary depending upon # of buildings hit? Residents injured or worse? What about cute animals like bunny rabbits that get squashed? How do we verify any of this?

    I like the idea, just not sure how practical it is. Could get mighty complicated….

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The Chinese space efforts get a lot of fans from folks who have their towns fouled by UDMH and NTO. They’ll think well of the program when they come down with their cancers and their kids are born deformed. Not that it’ll stop anything, but those are demerits of a sort.

  • envy

    China’s launch rates have been steadily creeping upward, but the major jump this year will be due to the 2 failures in 2017, and the 2 failures in 2016 which slowed the launch rate those years, so some of those payloads and vehicles are still waiting to launch.

  • windbourne

    Not bunny’s. Pandas.

  • windbourne

    Actually, I think this year, china will beat SX, possibly American. Where is America on launch count?

  • Aerospike
  • windbourne

    I found that earlier. But after reading it and assuming it is accurate, China and America’s launch schedule remain in HUGE flux. As such, we can not tell what the state is. Basically, we will know come Dec 31st or may be a week earlier.

  • duheagle

    Bob Zimmerman over at Behind the Black keeps a running tally of launches. With this new one, China is ahead of the whole U.S. 23 to 22. 15 of the U.S. total are SpaceX missions, the balance being ULA and O-ATK/NGIS ops. The U.S. and China have been dicing for the lead all year. Who takes the cup this year is unlikely to be settled until pretty damned near to New Year’s Eve.