2017 Was a Banner Year for the Launch Industry

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Forecast International has just released its 2017 launch vehicle year in review. The 12-page document provides a broad overview of the 90 launches conducted in 2017.

In 2017, 27 different launch vehicles lifted off that were built by 18 different manufacturers or organizations. These vehicles were built in nine countries and lifted off from 16 launch centers around the world. With 18 Falcon 9s successfully lifting off in 2017, SpaceX finally fulfilled its promise of providing its customers with frequent, relatively cheap launches.

While 2017 was a banner year for the launch industry, spaceflight continued to be a challenging enterprise. Of the 90 launches conducted in 2017, six were failures or only partial successes. The report highlights both the launch failures and successes of 2017.

While the number of launches declined in 2015 and 2016, they rebounded in 2017. As the chart above shows, the number of payloads per launch also increased in 2017, rising to an average of five per launch for the year. For more graphs like this one, please click the following link to download the full report:

Forecast International offers two Space Systems Forecast products: Launch Vehicles & Manned Platforms, with reports on manned spacecraft, expendable launch vehicles and more, and Satellites & Spacecraft, with coverage ranging from microsatellites to large COMSATs – all complete with technical specifications and forecast details.  

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About Richard Pettibone

A military history enthusiast, Richard began at Forecast International as editor of the World Weapons Weekly newsletter. As the Internet grew in importance as a research tool, he helped design the company's Forecast Intelligence Center and currently coordinates the EMarket Alert newsletters for clients. Richard also manages social media efforts, including two new blogs: Defense & Security Monitor, covering defense systems and international issues, and Flight Plan, which focuses on commercial aviation and space systems. For over 30 years, Richard has authored the Defense & Aerospace Companies, Volume I (North America) and Volume II (International) services. The two books provide detailed data on major aerospace and defense contractors. He also edits the International Contractors service, a database that tracks all the contractors involved in the programs covered in the FI library. More recently he was appointed Manager, Information Services Group (ISG), a new unit that encompasses developing outbound content for both Forecast International and Military Periscope.

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