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

Ambitious Human Spaceflight Plans Driving the Launch Industry

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)

NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)

Over the next 10 years, the launch industry will be greatly shaped by how the United States pursues its ambitious space exploration goals. After the Columbia disaster in 2003, then-U.S. President George W. Bush set a new course for human space exploration in the United States. Under Bush’s plan, which eventually became known as Project Constellation, U.S. astronauts would return to the moon and eventually land on Mars. To meet the goals of that program, NASA began development of a new and two new heavy-lift launch vehicles – one that would carry the CEV and a larger one that would carry supplies for lunar and Martian exploration.

Continue reading