Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

The United States, with SpaceX, largely in the lead in launches of rockets in 2023

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A man watches a SpaceX rocket before its launch in Boca Chica, Texas, in November 2023.

Agence France-Presse

The United States, thanks to SpaceX, have once again crushed the global space launcher market, achieving 107 orbital flights in 2023, far ahead of other countries in this strategic sector.

Elon Musk's firm alone launched its Falcon 9 96 times during the year, almost at the rate of two per week, mainly to continue the deployment of its Starlink internet satellite constellation.

Space X also fired its Falcon Heavy, placing the military space drone This must be used to land astronauts again on the Moon during the Artemis missions.

For next year, we want to increase the number of flights to about 12 flights per month, or 144 flights, Space X Vice President Bill Gerstenmaier said at a US Senate hearing in October.

Faced with American domination, China is rapidly developing its space activity and has carried out 67 launches in 2023, compared to 64 in 2022, according to Spacenews.

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For its last launch of the year on Friday, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said on its website to have carried out 47 launches for its Longue Marche range of rockets alone in 2023.

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The Shenzhou-17 rocket during its launch on October 26, 2023.

Russia has fired its Soyuz rocket 19 times, including 17 times, mainly satellites for its government and military needs as well as Progress spacecraft destined for the International Space Station (ISS), according to the specialist site Gunter&#x27 ;s Space Page.

The Electron rocket from the American-New Zealand company Rocket Lab, one of the rare operational mini-launchers, was fired on nine occasions.

Behind comes India, whose space agency Isro carried out seven launches during the ;year of its GSLV, PSLV and SSLV rockets.

Isro can also boast of having carried out the first launch of 2024, a PSLV rocket launched on Monday at 4:30 GMT having put into orbit a scientific satellite.

Europe, in the midst of a launcher crisis, has only carried out three launches in 2023: the last two Ariane 5 and a Vega rocket.

Europeans hope to regain autonomous access to space with the inaugural flight of' Ariane 6, scheduled between June 15 and the end of July, and the return to flight of Vega-C at the end of the year, after an accident which has grounded it since the end of 2022. p>

Japan also carried out three launches in 2023, including a failure for its new H-3 heavy launcher. The Japanese space agency, Jaxa, announced Thursday a new attempt for February 15.

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