Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Hawthorne, CA, United States (4E) – SpaceX accounted for 18 of the 29 successful rocket launches staged by the United States in 2017. It was the first time since 2003 the U.S. led the world in number of rocket launches.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) was responsible for eight launches: six Atlas V missions and two additional Delta launches.
The United States led the world in orbital launches in 2017. Behind the U.S. were Russia and China, with 20 and 18 launches, respectively.
All of the U.S.’ launch attempts last year were successful. On the other hand, Russia and China had one failure each. A Russian Soyuz rocket failed in November while a Chinese Long March 5 rocket failed in July.
In 2016, the U.S. tied China with 22 launches. Russia held the top spot from 2004 to 2015.
SpaceX said its goal for 2018 is to significantly increase its launch count.
“We will increase our cadence next year about 50 percent,” said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell.
“We’ll fly more next year than this year, knock on wood, and I think we will probably level out at about that rate, 30 to 40 per year.”
The most anticipated launch this year is the long-awaited launch of Falcon Heavy. The massive rocket will finally launch this month after interminable delays.
China, however, plans to launch 35 rockets this year.
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