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

ILS Plans to Revitalize Proton Sales

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

proton

Proton with ExoMars TGO

After dominating the commercial launch market for years – along with the Ariane 5 – the Proton is seeing a loss in appeal to commercial operators, along with a decline in sales. As a result, ILS has reduced staff and expenses to support only two to three launches per year, rather than its typical seven or eight. Continue reading

Blue Origin Conducts Successful In-Flight Escape Test

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch

On October 5, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket performed an in-flight test of the capsule’s full-envelope escape system, designed to quickly propel the crew capsule to safety if a problem is detected with the booster. The test flight represents the fifth launch of the booster and crew capsule.  Both the booster and capsule were successfully reused after the first four launches. Continue reading