Launch 2020: Russian Missions Improved in Quality, Declined in Numbers

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For Russia, 2020 was a mixed year in terms of launch. Once the world’s leader in sending payloads into space, the nation finished a distant third behind the United States and China with only 17 orbital flights. That figure was eight below the 25 launches in 2019, and Russia’s lowest number of the 21st century. The U.S. and China finished with 44 and 39 launch attempts, respectively.

On the bright side, 2020 was the second year in a row in which Russia did not experience a launch failure. That streak came after more a decade during which the Russian launch industry was plagued with multiple fmishaps.

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Arianespace Closes Out Year with Launch of French Defense Satellite

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — For its 10th and final launch of the year, Arianespace used a Soyuz rocket to orbit the CSO-2 defense and security observation satellite for the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) and DGA defense procurement agency (Direction générale de l’armement), on behalf of the French armed forces.

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Arianespace to Orbit CSO-2 Satellite for CNES and DGA on Behalf of French Ministry of Defense on Dec. 28

Soyuz launches three O3b satellites on April 4, 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana, December 22, 2020 (Arianespace PR) — For its 10th and final launch of the year — and the fifth in 2020 with the Soyuz medium launcher — Arianespace will send the CSO-2 Earth observation satellite, intended for defense and security applications, into Sun-synchronous orbit.

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