Mid-Year Global Launch Report: China & USA Continue to Battle for Lead

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.

There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)

Chinese Startup One Space Tests Rocket Motor

Solid rocket motor (Credit: One Space)

Chinese launch vehicle developer One Space says it successfully tests the first stage engine of its M-series booster on Wednesday, Space Tech Asia reports.

The success of this test means One Space is on track for the first test launch of OS-M1, the first of its M-series launch vehicles, scheduled for end-2018.

OS-M1, a four-stage solid propellant rocket, will be 19m long, with a liftoff mass of 20 tonnes. The launch vehicle will be able to carry a maximum payload of 205kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and 143kg to the Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Following OS-M1, One Space will test OS-M2, a slightly large version of the OS-M1 that will be able to carry up to 390kg to LEO and 292kg to SSO. With these M-series vehicles, One Space intends to provide rapid low-cost launches for small satellites, with an estimated launch preparation time of only 48 hours.