Launch Vehicle Flexibility Increasingly Important

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Proton launching ExoMars. Source: : ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

International Launch Services (ILS) recently announced that it will introduce a new Proton launch vehicle variant with a larger payload fairing – a clear sign that flexibility is now a key differentiator in the launch vehicle market.[i] Continue reading

Launch Vehicles: Year in Review 2016

Recent Decline Continued, but Stage Set for Renewed Activity in 2017

Atlas V Launch

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The year 2016 saw 85 launches into Earth orbit  (this count excludes the Falcon 9 that exploded in September, since the explosion occurred during the pre-launch phase). Launches were carried out by nine countries, utilizing 22 different launch vehicle families, built by 13 different manufacturers or organizations. Continue reading

With Successful Rocket Motor Test, Long March 5 May Be Back on Track

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Long March 5 (CZ-5) model

Long March 5 (CZ-5) model

China has conducted a ground test of the Long March 5 (CZ-5) power system. The engines were fired for the final ground test before the first launch, expected next year. According to China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry, the test was a success.[i] Specifically, China tested the YF-75D cryogenic engine, which will be used in the second stage of the Long March 5B variant.[ii] Continue reading