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Do you participate in the spacecraft development project? Do you know a status of a particular mission? Please help us to keep this page up to date! Contact: Anatoly Zak


For missions in 2011 click here


KEY EVENTS IN SPACE PROGRAM AND ROCKETRY IN 2012:

Jan. 1: NASA's GRAIL B spacecraft enters lunar orbit.

Jan. 15: A stranded Phobos-Grunt spacecraft reenters the Earth atmosphere.

Jan. 27: An 11-meter asteroid 2012 BX34 passes within 60,000 kilometers from Earth.

April 4: The Antei-2500 system successfully intercepts a target cruise missile during test in Kapustin Yar.

May 9: The Missile Defense Agency, MDA, and a US Navy ship Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, BMD, system, resulting in the first intercept of a short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Navy’s newest Missile Defense interceptor, the Standard Missile-3, SM-3, Block 1B.

June 18: China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with Jing Haipeng, Liu Yang and Liu Wang onboard docks with the Tiangong-1 space station. (The mission objective first announced in 2010.)

Aug. 6, 05:31 GMT: NASA's Curiosity rover lands inside Gale crater on Mars.

September: NASA to conduct a second test launch of a launch vehicle (Ares I) for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, (Orion) spacecraft. (As of June 2006; the program canceled at the beginning of 2010.)

Oct. 16, 12:01 Moscow Time: The 53T6 missile-interceptor from the A-135 system flies a successful test mission from the Sary Shagan site.

Dec. 13, 16:30:09 Beijing Time: China's Chang'e-2 probe flew as close as 3.2 kilometers from asteroid Toutatis.

Dec. 17: A pair of Grail, Gravity Recovery and Internal Laboratory, spacecraft slammed into a two-kilometer-high mountain on the far side of the Moon near the north pole.

Dec. 31: The last chance for a private company to claim a $20-million prize of the X-Prize Foundation for soft-landing a rover on the Moon, capable of moving and relaying images to Earth. (Set in September 2007)


RUSSIAN SPACE PROGRAM IN 2012:

Russian space activities in 2012 were to be highlighted by the renewal of the nation's orbital remote-sensing assets. As of the beginning of the year, the Russian Ministry of Defense was expected to launch two new reconnaissance satellites -- Bars and Persona -- in the spring and in November and the Russian space agency was to receive a replacement to the Resurs-DK spacecraft in August. However in the course of 2012, both of the latter missions had to be postponed to 2013. At least one new weather-forecasting satellite was also expected to fly. (562) With the launch of Kanopus-V, Zond-PP, BKA and Yubileiny-2 (MiR) satellites during 2012, Russia deployed as many as nine Earth-watching cameras in orbit. As of 2012, the operational constellation of Russian satellites included 118 spacecraft, according to the official numbers. (The statistics probably counted dual-purpose spacecraft as two vehicles.)

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The world's orbital launch attempts in 2012 (as of January 17, 2013 ):

 
Country
Launch date
Time of launch
Payload
Type
Launch vehicle
Launch site
Launch complex
Launch pad
Status
1
China
Jan. 9
11:17 Beijing Time

Ziyuan-3, VesselSat-2

Remote sensing
Chang Zheng-4B
Taiyuan
9
-
Success
2
China
Jan. 13
00:56 GMT

Fengyun-2F

Weather forecasting
Chang Zheng-3A
Xichang
3
-
Success
3
USA
Jan. 19
7:38 p.m. EST

Wideband Global SATCOM 4

Military/communications
Delta-4
Cape Canaveral
37B
B
Success
4
Jan. 26
03:06:40 Moscow Time
Manned/cargo supply
5
Success
5
Iran
Feb. 3
00:04 GMT (?)
Navid-e Elm-o Sanat
Remote sensing
Safir
Semnan
-
-
Success
6
Europe
Feb. 13
07:00 local time
LARES, ALMASat-1, Xatcobeo, Robusta, e-st@r, Goliat, PW-Sat, MaSat-1, UniCubeSat GG
Experimental
-
Success
7
Feb. 14
23:36 Moscow Time
Communications
39
Success
8
China
Feb. 24
00:12 Local Time
Beidou
Navigation
Chang Zheng-3C
Xichang
-
-
Success
9
USA
Feb. 24
22:15 GMT
MUOS-1
Military/communications
Atlas-5 (AV-030)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
10
Europe
March 23
01:34 local time
Manned/cargo supply
Ariane-5 ES
-
Success
11
March 25

16:10:32 Moscow Time

Intelsat 22
Communications
Proton-M /Briz-M
39
Success
12
March 30
09:49 Moscow Time
Kosmos-2479 (Oko)
Early warning
Proton-K/Block DM-2
-
-
Success
13
China
March 31
10:27:04 GMT
Apstar-7
Communications
Chang Zheng-3B/E
Xichang
2
-
Success
14
USA
April 3
4:12 p.m. PDT
NROL-25
Military/reconnaissance
Delta-4 (Medium+ 5,2)
Vandenberg
SLC-6
6
Success
15
North Korea
April 13
07:38:55 local time
Kwangmyongsong-3
Remote sensing
Unha-3
Sohae
-
-
Failure
16
April 20
16:50 Moscow Time
Manned/cargo supply
6
Success
17
April 24
02:18 Moscow Time
YahSat 1B
Communications
Proton-M /Briz-M
39
Success
18
India
April 26
05:47 local time
RISAT 1
Remote-sensing
PSLV XL (C19)
Sriharikota
-
-
Success
19
China
April 29
04:50 Beijing Time
Beidou-2 M3 (12th), Beidou-2 M4 (13th)
Navigation
Chang Zheng-3B/E
Xichang
-
-
Success
20
USA
May 3
18:42 GMT
AEHF-2
Military/communications
Atlas-5 (AV-031)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-41
41
Success
21
China
May 6
07:10:04
Tianhui I-02 (1H-1B)
Application/remote sensing
Chang Zheng-2D
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
22
China
May 10
15:06 Beijing Time
Yaogan-14, Tiantuo-1
Military/remote sensing
Chang Zheng-4B
Taiyuan
9
-
Success
23
May 15
07:01:23 Moscow Summer Time
Manned
5
Success
24
Europe
May 15
22:13 GMT
JCSAT 13, VINASAT 2
Communications
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
25
May 17
18:05 Moscow Time
16
2
Success
26
May 17
23:12 Moscow Time
Communications
Proton-M /Briz-M

81

24
Success
27
Japan
May 18
1:39 a.m. Japan Standard Time
SHIZUKU (GCOM-W1), KOMPSAT-3, SDS-4, HORYU-2
Remote sensing
H-IIA F21
Tanegashima
Yoshinobu
1
Success
28
USA
May 22
3:44 a.m. EDT
Dragon
Manned/cargo supply
Falcon-9
Cape Canaveral
40
-
Success
29
China
May 26
15:56 GMT
Zhongxing-2A
Communications
Chang Zheng-3B/E
Xichang
2
-
Success
30
China
May 29
07:31 GMT
Yaogan-15
Military/reconnaissance
Chang Zheng-4C
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
31
June 1
09:23:55 Moscow Time
Intelsat-19
Communications
-
-
Success
32
USA
June 13
16:00:42 GMT
NuSTAR
Science/astronomy
Pegasus-XL/L-1011
Kwajalein
Air-launched
-
Success
33
China
June 16
10:37 GMT
Shenzhou-9
Manned
Chang Zheng-2F/G
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
34
USA
June 20
12:28 GMT
NRO L-38
Military
Atlas-5 (401)
Cape Canaveral
SLC-41
-
Success
35
USA
June 29
13:15:00 GMT
NRO L-15
Military
Delta-4-Heavy
Cape Canaveral
SLC-37B
B
Success
36
Europe
July 5
21:36 GMT
EchoStar-17, MSG-3
Communications, weather-forecasting
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
37
July 9
22:38:30 Moscow Summer Time
SES-5
Communications
24
Success
38
July 15
06:40:03.91 Moscow Time
Manned
5
Success
39
Japan
July 21
11:06 local time
HTV-3
Manned/cargo supply
H2B
Tanegashima
-
-
Success
40
July 22
10:41:39 Moscow Time
Kanopus-V No. 1, BKA, MKA-FKI-PN1, exactView-1, TET-1
6
Success
41
China
July 25
15:43:04 GMT
Tianlian-1 (3)
Communications/data relay
Chang Zheng-3C
Xichang
2
1
Success
42
July 28
05:35:34 Moscow Time
Communications, remote sensing
3
Success
43
Aug. 1
23:35:13 Moscow Time
Manned/cargo supply
5
Success
44
Europe
Aug. 2
20:54 GMT
Intelsat-20, HYLAS-2
Application/communications
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
45
Aug. 6
23:31 Moscow Time
Application/communications
24
Failure
46
Aug. 19
10:54:59 Moscow Time
Intelsat-21
Application/communications
-
-
Success
47
USA
Aug. 30
4:05:27 a.m. EDT
Radiation Belt Storm Probe-1,
Radiation Belt Storm Probe-2
Science
Atlas-5 401
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
48
India
Sept. 9
09:53 local time
Spot-6, Proiteres, mRESINS*
Application/remote-sensing
PSLV-CA (C21)
Sriharikota
LP-1
-
Success
49
USA
Sept. 13
21:39
NRO L-36 (NOSS-3 6A, NOSS-3 6B), Aeneas, SMDC-ONE 2.1 (Able), SMDC-ONE 2.2 (Baker), Re, CINEMA 1, CSSWE, CXBN, AeroCube 4A, AeroCube 4B, AeroCube 4C, CP 5
Military/Navy ELINT?
Experimental
Atlas-5 401
Vandenberg
SLC-3E
-
Success
50
Sept. 17
20:28:40 Moscow Summer Time
Application/weather forecasting
6
Success
51
China
Sept. 18
19:10:04 GMT
Compass-M5, Compass-M6
Navigation
Chang Zheng-3B/E
Xichang
2
-
Success
52
Europe
Sept. 28
18:18 local time
Astra-2F, GSAT-10
Application/communications
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Succeess
53
China
Sept. 29
04:12:04 GMT
VRSS-1
Application/remote sensing
Chang Zheng-2D
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
54
USA
Oct. 4
8:10 a.m. EDT
GPS Block IIF
Application/navigation
Delta-4-Medium+ (4,2)
Cape Canaveral
37
B
Success
55
USA
Oct. 7
8:35 p.m. EDT
Dragon CRS1, Orbcomm 2G-1**
Manned/cargo supply, communications
Falcon-9 v1.0
Cape Canaveral
40
-
Partial success**
56
Oct. 12
18:15:01 GMT
Application/navigation
-
Success
57
China
Oct. 14
03:25 GMT
Shijian 9A, Shijian 9B
Experimental
Chang Zheng-2C
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
58
Oct. 14
12:36:59 Moscow Time
Application/communications
24
Success
59
Oct. 23
14:51:10 Moscow Time
Manned
Soyuz-FG
6
Success
60
China
Oct. 25
15:33:04 GMT
Beidou-16
Navigation
Chang Zheng-3C
Xichang
-
-
Success
61
Oct. 31
11:41:18 Moscow Time
Manned/cargo supply
5
Success
62
01:04:00 Moscow Summer Time
Luch-5B, Yamal-300K
24
Success
63
Europe
Nov. 10
6:05 p.m. local time
Eutelsat 21B, Star One C3
Applications/communications
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success
64
Nov. 14
15:42 Moscow Time
Military/communications
4
Success
65
China
Nov. 18
22:53 GMT
Huanjing-1C, Xinyan-1, Fengniao-1A/B
Application
Chang Zheng-2C
Taiyuan
9
-
Success
66
Nov. 20
22:31 Moscow Time
EchoStar-16
Application/communications
39
Success
67
China
Nov. 25
04:06 GMT
Yaogan Weixing-16A, Yaogan Weixing-16B, Yaogan Weixing-16C
Application
Chang Zheng-4C
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
68
China
Nov. 27
10:13:03 GMT
Zhongxing-12
Application
Chang Zheng-3B/E
Xichang
-
-
Success
69
Dec. 1
11:02:50 p.m. French Guiana
Military/remote-sensing
-
Success
70
Dec. 3
12:43:59 Pacific Time
Eutelsat-70B
Application/communications
-
-
Success
71
Dec. 8
17:13 Moscow Time
Application/communications
-
-
Partial success
72
North Korea
Dec. 11
09:49 local time
Kwangmyongsong-3 No. 2
Application/remote sensing
Unha-3
Sohae
-
-
Success
73
USA
Dec. 11
18:03:00 GMT
X-37B (OTV-3)
Military
Atlas-5 (501)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
74
China
Dec. 18
16:12:52 GMT
Göktürk-2
Application/remote-sensing
Chang Zheng-2D
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
75
Dec. 19
16:12: 35 Moscow Time
Manned
5
Success
76
Europe
Dec. 19
6:49 p.m.
Skynet-5D, Mexsat-3
Applications/communications
Ariane-5 ECA
-
Success

*designed to remain attached to the upper stage; **Orbcomm payload left in wrong orbit and lost due to a launch vehicle engine failure


 

The 2012 space launch score card (as of January 17, 2013 ):

-
Country
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
Total
Failed
1
Proton-K/Block DM-2: 1
Soyuz-2-1aST-A/ST-B: 4
-
-
29
2
2
China:
Chang Zheng-4B: 2
Chang Zheng-3A: 1
Chang Zheng-3C: 3
Chang Zheng-3B/E: 5
Chang Zheng-2D: 3
Chang Zheng-4C: 2
Chang Zheng-2F/G: 1
Chang Zheng-2C: 2
19
0
3
USA:
Delta-4-Medium+: 3
Atlas-5: 6
Falcon-9: 2 (1**)
Pegasus-XL: 1
Delta-4 Heavy: 1
-
-
-
13
1**
5
Europe:
Vega: 1
Ariane-5: 7
-
-
-
-
-
-
8
0
6
Japan:
H-IIA: 1
H-IIB: 1
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
0
9
India:
PSLV-XL: 1
PSLV-CA: 1
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
0
7
Iran:
Safir: 1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
0
8
North Korea:
Unha-3: 2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
1
-
World:
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
76
2

**Partial success; Orbcomm payload left in wrong orbit and lost due to a launch vehicle engine failure


UNREALIZED SPACE MILESTONES WHICH WERE EXPECTED IN 2012:

NASA to launch Space Technology 9 satellite to test new systems for future missions. (As of 2007)

Japan to send a lander on the surface of the Moon. (A Sept. 2007 statement by Manabu Kato, chief scientist of the Kaguya project)

NASA to launch "human precursor missions" to Mars. (2004, later delayed?)

NASA to launch Soil Moisture Active-Passive remote-sensing satellite into the Earth orbit. (A 2009 budget proposal)

US and UK to launch one of two Moon orbiters within the Magnolia project. (As of end of 2007. In August 2007, the mission was promised in 2010)

China and France was to launch Small Explorer for Solar Eruptions to observe solar maximum (according to a science development plan released in March 2007, the launch was expected in 2011.)

Dec. 31: The last chance for a private company to claim a $20-million prize of the X-Prize Foundation for soft-landing a rover on the Moon, capable of moving and relaying images to Earth. (Set in September 2007)


REASSIGNED RUSSIAN MISSIONS OF 2012:

By mid-2012: According to original plans Ariane-5 or Soyuz-ST rocket were to launch the 2,900-kilogram Arsat-1 communications satellite for Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales Sociedad Anonima from Kourou. Arianespace announced the launch contract on June 28, 2010. Arsat-1 will be equipped with twelve 36 MHz, eight 54 MHz and four 72 MHz transponders, all in Ku band. It will offer a wide range of telecommunications, data transmission, telephone and television services mainly across all of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. The satellite is being built by the Argentine company INVAP, with Astrium and Thales Alenia Space as leading equipment suppliers. Before the end of 2012, the satellite was assigned to fly on Ariane-5 in the middle of 2013.

June: An AzerSat communications satellite to be launched on Proton, Zenit or Ariane-5 rocket for the government of Azerbaijan. The spacecraft is to be built by Orbital Sciences Corp. (As of February 2010. The launch was originally planned for December 2011.) Before the end of 2012, the satellite was assigned to fly on Ariane-5 in January-February 2013.

Late 2012: Europe's Ariane-5 or Soyuz-2 rocket to launch Mexsat-3 communictions satellite from Kourou for Mexican government’s communications and transport administration, Secretara de Comunicaciones y Transportes. Mexsat 3 will be built by U.S. satellite manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation. With a mass at liftoff of nearly 3,050 kg, it will carry extended C-band and Ku-band transponders. The satellite will provide next generation communications services throughout the country from its 114.9 degree West longitude orbital slot. Mexsat 3 will have an in-orbit lifetime of over 15 years. Arianespace announced that it won a contract to launch Mexsat 3 on Sept. 29, 2011. Before November 2012, the satellite was assigned to fly on Ariane-5 rocket in December 2012.

Second quarter: Ariane 5 or a Soyuz-ST to launch VINASAT-2, for Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) from Kourou. A launch contract with the satellite developer -- Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS) -- was announced on June 14, 2010. By May 2012, VINASAT-2 was assigned to Ariane-5 with a projected launch date on May 15, 2012.

A Russian submarine-launched rocket was originally expected to lift an EXPERT reentry demonstrator for the European Space Agency in October 2010. However during 2010, the mission was delayed to the summer of 2011 and by mid-2011 slipped to spring 2012. According to ESA, in 2012, funding was provided by the ESA General Studies Programme (GSP) to support Thales Alenia Space Italy in carrying out analyses to identify an alternative launch system. The availability of alternative launch systems on the Russian side appears doubtful because of the evolution of the Russian Ministry of Defence policy not to use military systems for civil space missions. A Technical Assistance Agreement to evaluate Expert launch options with US industry and NASA was approved by the US Department of State. Technical discussions with Orbital Sciences for the evaluation of alternative launch vehicles have started.


CANCELED MISSIONS OF 2012:

Mid 2012: Arianespace was to launch the OHO-1 communications satellite for a new satellite services operator OverHorizon onboard either Ariane-5 or Soyuz rocket from Kourou. OHO-1 was to be produced jointly by Orbital Sciences Corporation and Thales Alenia Space. Orbital was expected to supply the Star 2.3 satellite bus, which would have a liftoff mass of approximately 3,200 kilograms with its payload provided by Thales Alenia Space. The launch contract for the mission was signed on March 18, 2010, however the mission was canceled sometimes before September 2012.

Delayed from early 2011: A Proton M with Briz M upper stage to launch the EuropaSat communications satellite for Inmarsat. Thales Alenia Space of France is developing satellite, using its Spacebus 4000C3 platform. The spacecraft working in S-band mode will provide mobile broadcast and two-way telecommunications services throughout Europe. The spacecraft will have a mass of about 5,700 kilograms. (The contract for the mission was announced on August 22, 2008.) Before November 2012, Inmarsat first delayed and then canceled the EuropaSat project replacing it with three launches of Proton for the Global Express program.

For missions in 2013 click here

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This page is maintained by Anatoly Zak with additions and contributions from S. Günes, George H. Chambers and Brian Harvey

Last update: January 17, 2013

All rights reserved

MEDIA ARCHIVE

MSL

As a small consolation for the failure of Phobos-Grunt, NASA successfully launched its Mars Science Laboratory, MSL, carrying a Russian-built instrument. Copyright © 2012 Anatoly Zak.


Galileo

On Jan. 26, 2010, Arianespace announced a contract for five Soyuz missions to deliver operational satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation network beginning in 2012. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak


Kanopus

Kanopus-V was designed for remote-sensing of the Earth. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


Yubileiny

The Yubileiny-2 experimental satellite was launched on July 28, 2012. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak


EXPERT

A Russian submarine-launched rocket was previously expected to lift an EXPERT reentry demonstrator for the European Space Agency in October 2010. In 2012, the mission had to be re-assigned to a non-Russian vehicle. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak