Russia retained its position as the world’s most prolific orbital launch provider in 2014, a position it has maintained since 2004. Russia’s launch tempo in 2014 was the same as in 2013, with ## launch attempts, all of which were successful except for one Proton Space Launch Vehicle (SLV) with a Russian communications satellite aboard. Launch success does not always correspond to mission success, as in August 2014 when the Fregat upper stage of a Soyuz ST failed to position its two Galileo PNT satellites in the correct orbit. As of the end of 2014, the satellites’ operator, ESA, was still evaluating whether the satellites might be usable in altered orbits.
The United States attempted to launch ## rockets in 2014, all but ## of which were successful. United Launch Alliance (ULA) provided the majority of U.S. orbital launches in 2014. ULA launches deployed payloads for the military and civil government. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) awarded ULA three contracts in 2013, in which ULA would provide ## launch vehicle booster cores from 2013 through 2017.
The table below shows each spacefaring nation’s space launch vehicle platforms active in the current year. Launch tracking and launch system information relies on various primary and government sources. The current year’s launch reliability shows the number of successful launches over the number of total launches for the year.
One of the pioneers of commercial suborbital flights, Armadillo Aerospace, announced that it was suspending operations in early August 2013 due to funding issues. Founded by noted video game designer John Carmack, Armadillo Aerospace steadily developed and tested a series of ever-improving vertical take-off, reusable rocket-powered vehicles.
South Korea conducted ## successful orbital launch in 2013. After suffering two previous launch failures of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV)-1, arguments arose between the Russian manufacturers of the vehicle’s first stage and the South Korean manufacturers of the second stage over the responsibility for the vehicle’s failures.
India conducted ## successful orbital launches in 2013, all using its indigenously designed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The ## flight, in February 2013, carried a French oceanography satellite along with a selection of microsatellites. The ## flight took place in July 2013, lofting an Indian navigation satellite into orbit.
Japan successfully conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, placing a variety of payloads into orbit for domestic customers. In 2013, Japan also signaled that it intends to compete in the global commercial market.
Europe conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, all of which were successful. The majority of these flights were made by Europe’s Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle, which deployed communication satellites as well as the fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) carrying cargo and fuel to the ISS.
China’s launch rate in 2013 fell by ##% compared to the previous two years, when China set a national record for number of orbital launches. Of China’s ## orbital launch attempts in 2013, ## were successful and deployed a variety of military, civil, and crewed spacecraft.
Russia retained its position as the world’s most prolific orbital launch provider in 2013, a position that it has maintained since 2005. Although the Soviet Union was an extraordinarily prolific launcher, the difficulties caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union significantly curtailed Russian space activities for several years. Russia conducted ## orbital launches in 2013, of which ## were complete successes, ## total failure, and ## partial failure.