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Acknowledgment

The publisher would like to thank Claude Mourier for his help in preparing this section.

2009

For events in 2008 click here

Above: Despite the world economic crisis, Russia continued efforts to re-emerge as a space power during 2009. Russian space agency, Roskosmos, promised to conduct from 39 to 44 launches in 2009, versus 27 missions in 2008. In reality, Russia launched 32 space missions. The nation's manned space program was responsible for the increase, as a result of doubling of Russian transport vehicles heading to a nearly completed International Space Station. Even with a number of satellite launches postponed to 2010, Russia conducted more space shots than any other country in the world. So far, all passengers and payloads of Russian rockets made it to space without problems, for the exception of a Meridian-2 satellite, which ended up in a lower-than-expected orbit due to the under-performance of the Fregat upper stage. According to the head of the Russian space agency Anatoly Perminov, by the end of 2009, Russia had 61 functioning spacecraft in orbit, of which 48 operated within its projected life span.

As soul-searching within the American space program reached its climax in 2009, Russia, China and India continued solidifying their future plans in space. After several years of behind-the-scene studies, Russian space agency finally felt compelled to publicize its vision in space, with a nuclear-powered space tug at its center. China continued its slow but steady advance toward independent space station and India moved forward with its plans for a domestically built manned spacecraft.

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SPACE EXPLORATION IN 2009: THUMBS UP

Moon's water bomb. Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) hit a permanently dark crater near the lunar South Pole on October 9, in the effort to trigger an explosion carrying traces of water detectable from Earth. First observations confirmed water presence.

Titan's lakes. On July 8, cameras onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured a specular reflection of the Sun from the surface of Titan, a sure sign of a smooth, mirror-like substance covering some regions of Saturn's largest moon. Ideas to land a floating capsule on the alien-world lake received huge new inspiration.

Enceladus' ice-covered ocean. NASA's Cassini instruments have found sodium salts in ice grains of Saturn's outermost ring. Detecting salty ice indicates that Saturn's moon Enceladus, which primarily replenishes the ring with material from discharging jets, could harbor a reservoir of liquid water -- perhaps an ocean -- beneath its surface. The project scientists made the announcement on June 25.

Hubble repair. In May, NASA Space Shuttle made its fifth and last visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. This time, the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis upgraded the world's most famous telescope to work in orbit for another five years. The telescope was then expected long outlive the Space Shuttle fleet, which delivered and maintained in space since 1990 before going into retirement in 2010.

Mars rovers discoveries and tribulations. Despite long outliving their projected life span and struggling with failing systems, a pair of Mars Exploration Rovers continued their endurance journey on the Red Planet.

ISS construction progress. After decades of efforts, a magnificent human outpost in the Earth orbit commenced a full-scale scientific operations with the crew of six. While a Russian segment still remained largely unfinished, its first new long-term element since 2001 was added in November.

Koronas-Foton launch. Russian space science showed first signs of revival after the post-Soviet collapse with the launch of the Koronas-Foton Sun-watching satellite on January 30.

Mercury exploration. For the first time since 1970s, human knowledge about Mercury was advanced dramatically thanks to data from NASA's Messenger spacecraft.

Kepler, Hershel and Planck launch. A whole new generation of sophisticated space observatories was sent to space by NASA and ESA during 2009.

Angara development progress. Live engine firings and South-Korean satellite launch attempt, brought the first stage of Russia's new-generation Angara rocket closer to the launch pad.


SPACE EXPLORATION IN 2009: THUMBS DOWN

Constellation uncertainty: Although the first prototype of NASA's next-generation rocket flew a mostly successful test mission on October 28, the future of the launch vehicle and the entire American manned space flight remained clouded during 2009.

Sea Launch bankruptcy. A pioneering commercial space venture had to file for Chapter 11 on June 22 while many of its customers were defecting to competing launch providers.

North-Korean satellite launch attempt. Rocket teams at an isolated Stalinist state attempted a satellite launch on April 5, 2009, which the official North-Korean media said was successful. The "satellite" reportedly relayed patriotic songs from orbit. The problem was nobody outside North Korea was able to tune in to those songs or see the satellite visually or on radar.

Iranian satellite. Perhaps, not coincidently, Iran, a major customer of the North Korean rocket-proliferation bazaar, did succeed in placing a domestically built satellite into space from its own territory on February 2. Despite being a remarkable success for Iranian engineers, the achievement was clouded by questions about future use of rocket technology by a murderous regime ruling the country.

Naro rocket failure. The first South-Korean satellite launch did not succeed on August 26 due to the failure of the payload fairing to separate. However representatives of Moscow-based Khrunichev enterprise said Russian-built first stage worked well.

Satellite collision. Russia's defunct Strela-2M ("Arrow") satellite collided with a US Iridium communications spacecraft on February 10. Both vehicles were reportedly pulverized into a cloud of debris, stressing a danger from contaminating space.

Koronas-Foton failure. Russian bid to jump-start its scientific research in space ended prematurely with the loss of the Koronas-Foton satellite just 10 months after its launch.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter troubles. Onboard problems sent NASA's flagship Mars orbiter repeatedly into a safe mode, threatening the record-breaking mission.

OCO launch failure. NASA's first dedicated mission to measure carbon dioxide from space has failed following a rocket malfunction on February 24.

Phobos-Grunt bluff. Despite a stream of reports that Russia's flagship planetary mission was nowhere near readiness for launch in 2009, the Russian space agency kept refuting stories, chastising journalists, and denying rumors about the inevitable delay until the bitter end. In September, just two months before the "launch date," the delay to 2011 had finally become official.


ORBITAL LAUNCH ATTEMPTS IN 2009 (as of December 31, 2012 ):

  Country Launch date
Time of launch
Payload
Launch vehicle
Launch site
Launch complex
Launch pad
Launch results
1 US 1/17/2009
09:47 p.m. EST

NROL-26

Delta 4 heavy
Cape Canaveral
SLC-37
B
Success
2 Japan 1/23/2009
03:54 GMT

GOSAT Ibuki
KAGAYAKI
STARS
KKS-1
PRISM
SOHLA-1
SPRITE-SAT
SDS-1

H-2A
Tanegashima
-
-
Success
3 Russia 1/30/2009
16:30 Moscow
-
Success
4 Iran 2/2/2009
-

Omid

Safir 2
Semnan
-
-
Success
5 US 2/6/2009
10:22 GMT

NOAA-N Prime

Delta 2 (7320)
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2
W
Success
6 Russia 2/10/2009
05:49:46 GMT

Progress M-66

6
Success
7 Russia 2/11/2009
03:03 Moscow Decree Time

Express-AM44, Express-MD1

-
-
Success
8 ESA 2/12/2009
22:09 GMT

HOT BIRD 10
NSS 9
Spirale
Spirale

Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
9 USA 2/24/2009
1:55:30 a.m. PST

OCO

Taurus XL
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-576E
E
Failure
10 Russia 2/26/2009
21:30 Moscow Decree Time

Telstar 11N

-
Success
11 Russia 2/28/2009
07:10 Moscow Time
24
Success
12 US 3/6/2009
10:49 p.m. EST

Kepler

Delta 2 (7925)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-17B
B
Success
13 US 3/15/2009
7:43 p.m. EDT

Discovery (OV-103)

Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
14 Russia 3/17/2009 17:21:17 Moscow Decree Time

GOCE

-
Success
15 US 3/24/2009
4:34 a.m. EDT

GPS 2R-20

Delta 2 (7925)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-17A
A
Success
16 Russia 3/26/2009
14:49 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
17 Russia 4/3/2009
20:24 Moscow Summer Time

Eutelsat W2A

-
-
Success
18 US 4/3/2009
8:31 p.m. EDT

WGS 2

Atlas 5 (AV-016)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
19 North Korea 4/5/2009
02:20 GMT
Kwangmyongsong-2
Unha-2
Musudan-ri
-
-
Failure
20 China 4/14/2009
16:16 GMT
Compass G2
Chang Zheng 3C
Xichang
-
-
Success
21 International 4/20/2009
08:16 GMT

SICRAL 1B

Odyssey
-
Success
22 India 4/20/2009
01:15 GMT

RISAT 2

PSLV
Sriharikota (SHAR)
-
2
Success
23 China 4/22/2009
02:55 GMT
YG-6 YaoGan Weixing-6
Chang Zheng 2C
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
24 Russia 4/29/2009
21:08 Moscow Time

Kobalt M (4) Kosmos-2450

2
Success
25 US 5/5/2009
22:24 GMT

STSS-ATRR

Delta 2 (7920)
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2W
W
Success
26 Russia 5/7/2009
22:37 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
27 US 5/11/2009
2:01 p.m. EDT

Atlantis STS-125

Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
28 ESA 5/14/2009
13:12 GMT

Herschel
Planck

Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
29 Russia 5/16/2009
04:57 Moscow Summer Time

ProtoStar 2

39
Success
30 US 5/19/2009
23:55 GMT

TacSat 3
Pharmasat
CP6
HawkSat-1
Aerocube 3

Minotaur 1
Wallops Island
-
-
Success
31 Russia 5/22/2009
01:53 Moscow Time

Meridian No. 2

4
Failure
32 Russia 5/27/2009
14:34:49 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
33 US 6/18/2009
5 p.m. EDT

LRO/LCROSS

Atlas 5 (AV-020)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
34 Russia 6/22/2009
01:50 Moscow Decree Time

Measat-3a

-
Success
35 US 6/27/2009
6:51 p.m. EDT

GOES-14

Delta 4 Medium+ (4,2)
Cape Canaveral
37
B
Success
36 Russia 6/30/2009
19:10 GMT

Sirius FM-5


Success
37 ESA 7/1/2009
14:52 local

TerreStar-1

Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
38 Russia 7/6/2009 05:26 Moscow Time

Kosmos-2451
Kosmos-2452

Kosmos-2453

-
Success
39 US 7/14/2009
03:35 GMT

RazakSAT

Falcon 1
Omelek Island
-
-
Success
40 US 7/15/2009
6:03 p.m. EDT

Endeavour

Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
41 Russia 7/21/2009 -

Kosmos-2454 (Parus)
Sterkh

-
Success
42 Russia 7/24/2009
14:56:56 Moscow Time

Progress M-67

1
5
Success
43 Russia 7/29/2009
22:46:24 Moscow Time

DubaiSat-1
Deimos 1
UK-DMC 2
Nanosat 1B
AprizeSat 3
AprizeSat 4

-
Success
44 Russia 8/12/2009
01:47:33 local time

AsiaSat 5

-
Success
45 US 8/17/2009
06:35 a.m. EST

GPS 2R-21

Delta 2 (7925)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-17A
A
Success
46 ESA 8/21/2009
19:09 local

JCSAT-12 and Optus D3

Ariane-5
-
Success
47 South Korea 8/25/2009
5:00 p.m. Seoul time

STSAT-2

KSLV-I
Naro
-
-
Failure
48 US 8/28/2009
11:59 p.m. EDT

Discovery STS-128

Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39A
A
Success
49 China 8/31/2009
09:28 UTC

Palapa-D

Chang Zheng 3B
Xichang
-
-
Failure
50 US 9/8/2009
5:35 p.m. EDT

PAN

Atlas 5 (AV-018)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
51 Japan 9/10/2009
17:01 GMT

HTV-1

H-2B
Tanegashima
2
-
Success
52 Russia 9/17/2009
17:55 Moscow Time

Meteor-M No. 1
Sterkh-2
BLITS
SumbandilaSat (ZA-002)
Universitetsky-Tatyana-2
UGATUSAT
Iris

-
Success
53 Russia 9/17/2009
23:19:19 Moscow Summer Time

Nimiq 5

-
Success
54 India 9/23/2009
11:51 a.m. IST

Oceansat-2
UWE-2, BeeSat, ITU-pSAT1, SwissCube,
Rubin-9.1, Rubin-9.2

PSLV-C14
Sriharikota (SHAR)
-
1
Success
55 US 9/25/2009
08:20 a.m. EDT

STSS Demo-1
STSS Demo-2

Delta 2 (7920)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-17B
B
Success
56 Russia 9/30/2009
11:14:45 Moscow Summer Time
1
5
Success
57 ESA 10/01/2009
6:59
p.m. local

Amazonas 2 COMSATBw-1

Ariane-5
-
Success
58 US 10/8/2009
11:51 a.m. local time

WorldView 2

Delta 2
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2
W
Success
59 Russia 10/15/2009
05:14:37 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
60 US 10/18/2009
9:12 a.m. local

DMSP F18

Atlas 5 (AV-017)
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-3E
E
Success
61 ESA 10/29/2009
20:00
GMT

NSS-12
Thor 6

Ariane-5
-
Success
62 Russia 11/2/2009 01:50 GMT

SMOS
Proba-2

-
Success
63 Russia 11/10/2009
17:22 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
64 China 11/12/2009
02:45 GMT

Shijian 11-01

Chang Zheng 2C
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
65 US 11/16/2009
2:28:10 p.m. local

Atlantis STS-129

Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
66 Russia 11/20/2009
13:44 Moscow Time
2
Success
67 US 11/23/2009
1:55 a.m. EST

Intelsat 14

Atlas 5
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
68 Russia 11/24/2009
20:19 local

W7

-
-
Success
69 Japan 11/28/2009
10:21 local time

IGS (7)

H-2A
Tanegashima
-
-
Success
70 Russia 11/30/2009
00:00 Moscow Time

Intelsat 15

-
Success
71 US 12/5/2009
8:47 p.m. EST

WGS 3

Delta 4 Medium+ (5,4)
Cape Canaveral
37
B
Success
72 China 12/9/2009
08:42 GMT

Yaogan 7

Chang Zheng 2D
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
73 Russia 12/14/2009
13:38 Moscow Time
-
Success
74 US 12/14/2009
6:09 a.m. local (PST)

WISE

Delta II 7925
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2
-
Success
75 China 12/15/2009
02:31 GMT
Yaogan 8
Hope I
Chang Zheng 4C
Taiyuan
-
-
-
76 ESA 12/18/2009
16:26
GMT

Helios 2B

Ariane-5 GS
-
Success
77 Russia 12/21/2009
00:52 Moscow Time
1
5
Success
78 Russia 12/29/2009
03:22 Moscow Time

Direct TV 12

39
Success

The 2009 space launch score card (as of December 31, 2012 ):

Country
LV
LV
LV
LV
LV
LV
LV
LV
LV
All
Failed
Proton: 10
Soyuz-2: 2
32
1
US:
Delta-IV: 3
Delta-2: 8
STS: 5
Atlas-5: 5
Minotaur-1: 1
Falcon-1: 1
Taurus: 1
24
1
Europe:
Ariane-5: 7
       
7
0
China:
LM-3C: 1
LM-2C: 2
LM-4C: 1
LM-2D: 1
LM-3B: 1
       
6
1
Japan:
H-2A: 2
H-2B: 1
   
       
3
0
India:
PSLV: 2
   
       
2
0
Iran:
Safir 2: 1
   
       
1
0
North Korea:
Unha-2: 1
   
       
1
1
South Korea:
KSLV-I: 1
   
       
1
1
 
       
1
0
Totals:
   
       
78
5

Canceled missions of 2009

2009: A Proton/Breeze M was scheduled to launch an Echostar 13 (CMBStar) satellite for an EchoStar Communications Corporation. The contract for the mission was announced on Feb. 21, 2007. Delayed from June and November 2008. By March 2009, EchoStar stopped the development of the CMBStar satellite.

Mid-year 2008: A Zenit-3SLB to launch AMC-21 spacecraft for SES Global from Baikonur. The launch contract was announced on June 1, 2006. Switched to the Ariane-5 rocket.

Delayed from July 2007: Shtil-2.1 booster to launch Sumbandila satellite for South Africa and Compass-3 for Russian space agency, from a submarine in the Barents Sea. (Delayed from Dec. 15 and 25, 2006, April and June 20, 2007. Switched to an Indian launch provider, then took a the hitchhiker spot on the Russian Meteor mission.)

Second quarter (summer): The Soyuz-2 rocket to launch Thor 6 communications satellite for Telenor of Norway from Kourou. In the spring of 2009, the mission was delayed from the second to the fourth quarter of 2009 and was apparently had to be moved from Soyuz-2 to the Ariane-5 rocket as a result.

2009: The Russian Soyuz rocket to fly its first mission from Kourou, French Guiana, with the Australian comsat Optus D3. (Soyuz launches from Kourou were originally expected as early as 2006. The launch of Optus D3 was initially scheduled for November 2008, however by mid-2007 was pushed to March 2009. In the meantime, Optus D3 payload was switched to Ariane-5 and launched successfully in Aug. 21, 2009. (In March 2008, the first Soyuz launch from Kourou was expected by mid-2009. By mid-2008, it was delayed to the end of 2009-beginning of 2010.)


For missions in 2010 click here


This page is compiled by Anatoly Zak and S. Günes

All rights reserved

Last update: December 31, 2012

Strela-2M

Arrow hits the target: Russia's defunct Strela-2M ("Arrow") satellite collided with a US Iridium communications spacecraft on Feb. 10, 2009. Both vehicles were reportedly pulverized into a cloud of debris. In the aftermath of the incident, Western press was full of inaccurate depictions and wild speculations about the design of the Russian satellite, including a ludicrous claim by the Wall Street Journal about a nuclear reactor onboard the spacecraft. In reality, Strela-2M was powered by drum-shaped solar panels. This was apparently the first instance in the history of space exploration, when two satellites have collided in space. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


GOCE

After many delays, the GOCE remote-sensing satellite finally took off on March 17, 2009. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak


ISS

An almost completed International Space Station was photographed by the departing crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery at the end of the STS-119 mission on March 25. Credit: NASA


Herschel

Astronomy received new state-of-the-art tools in the sky with the launch of Herschel and Planck telescopes by the European Ariane-5 rocket on May 14. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


Hubble

Dwarfed by towering Hubble Space Telescope, astronauts John Grunsfeld, positioned on a foot restraint on the end of Shuttle Atlantis' remote manipulator system (RMS), and astronaut Andrew Feustel (bottom center), conduct the fifth and final spacewalk on May 18, during the STS-125 mission to refurbish and upgrade the planet's most famous astronomical instrument. Credit: NASA


Perminov

Head of the Russian space agency Anatoly Perminov reviews a scaled model of the Soyuz launch complex in Kourou, at the opening of the Paris Air and Space Show on June 15. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


Titan

The Sun reflects from the surface of a lake on Saturn's moon Titan in a photo taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 8. Credit: NASA


Sterkh

The first Sterkh satellite launched on July 21 was designed to navigate emergency services to distressed vessels and aircraft. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


PTK NP

The 2009 Moscow air and space show, MAKS-2009, was held on August 18-23, in the town of Zhukovsky. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Russian vision for manned space program in the next 30 years and the new-generation manned spacecraft. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


KSLV

RD-191

On August 25, 2009, a Russian-build booster powered by RD-191 engine lifted the first South-Korean space vehicle (top), paving the way to the Angara family of rockets. However, the mission itself failed due to the failure of the Korean-built upper stage. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


Phobos-Grunt

A scale model of Russia's flagship planetary mission, Phobos-Grunt was demonstrated at the ILA 2008 air and space show in Berlin. Despite official promises to launch the mission in 2009, most industry insiders considered such schedule unrealistic. The official Russian media admitted a delay to 2011 only in September 2009. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2008 Anatoly Zak


Messenger

A giant cliff bisects a crater in one of beautiful vistas of Mercury shot by NASA Messenger spacecraft as it was zooming past the planet on October 6. Credit: NASA


LCROSS

NASA's Centaur rocket stage plunges into the lunar surface, followed by LCROSS "shepherd" spacecraft on Oct. 9, in a bid to release and detect water ice in the resulting blast. Preliminary data did confirm the presence of water, however scale and visibility of the impact was greatly overestimated. Credit: NASA


SMOS

Europe's SMOS satellite was launched on the Rockot booster in 2009. Copyright © 2010 Anatoly Zak