US Leads the World in Space Launches for the First Time Since 2003

DooKey

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For the first time since 2003 the US led the world in space launches last year. Previous to this the Russians were the clear leaders year over year and in 2016 the US tied with China for the lead. What this means is that the US is starting to get back to a leadership role in space exploration. The 29 launches that were made last year included 18 that were from SpaceX. If you consider the reduced costs provided by SpaceX to NASA then 2017 was a great bang for the buck year. Congrats to NASA, SpaceX, and all the other contractors that made this possible. Now let's get to Mars!

All of the 29 US launch attempts were successful, whereas Russia had one failure (a Soyuz 2.1b rocket in November), and China had one failure (a Long March 5 rocket in July) and one partial failure (ChinaSat 9A in June). In 2016, the United States tied China for 22 launch attempts. Prior to that, Russia had led the world in orbital launch attempts every year since 2003, when space shuttle Columbia burnt up during its return through Earth's atmosphere.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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As the richest nation on this planet, there is zero reason for USA to fall so far behind on Space exploration like we did. The only way it's ever going to get cheaper is by economies of scale and further tech advances, and you can't do that by renting out someone else's rockets a couple times each year.
 

NoOther

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As the richest nation on this planet, there is zero reason for USA to fall so far behind on Space exploration like we did. The only way it's ever going to get cheaper is by economies of scale and further tech advances, and you can't do that by renting out someone else's rockets a couple times each year.

While that may seem encouraging, I actually don't know what makes this that newsworthy. Not all space launches involve actual space exploration. I would rather have a list of what those projects are doing and what they are actually exploring before claiming they are actually furthering space exploration. I do not think the US ever lost the lead in actual space exploration. The US has spent far more than other countries in space exploration. In fact even going back to 2013 the US spent 6 times more than the next closest country (China with the second largest economy). That hasn't changed that drastically. Spending more money just to launch things into space doesn't really sound like a great use of the money. Also renting rockets is cheaper and better, which is why we were doing it for a long time. Even now NASA is relying on private companies to provide rockets and shoulder some of the burden.
 

IdiotInCharge

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While that may seem encouraging, I actually don't know what makes this that newsworthy. Not all space launches involve actual space exploration.

My first response?

This isn't 'space exploration', as the space that nearly all of these launches lift packages to has already been 'explored'.

This is space commercialization and militarization :D.


[and I'm absolutely fine with the US leading in these versus the alternatives!]
 

86 5.0L

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Private companies launching GPS satellites(spaceX and iridium NEXT)

Does not equal space exploration
 

Madoc

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One of the ways you learn about how to get around in Space is to get around in Space. I consider any orbital flight, for whatever reason, to be "Space Exploration." As long as our understanding of how to get there and how to get around while there improves, then I think it's better than nothing at all.

That being said, we really need to improve our understanding of things before we can get more serious about Space travel -- say, by learning to manipulate gravity. Having to brute force our way out of the gravity well all the time is too restrictive, IMO.
 

Mohonri

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You gotta give some credit to SpaceX here. I have to believe that their lower launch costs had something to do with it. Especially as they continue to refine and practice the refurbishment process, we can hope their launch costs continue to drop significantly.
 
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-=SOF=-WID99

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YAY we put more crap in space then anyone else..that will fall OR create more space junk that will screw us in the future when we send up the next thing and it gets hit with more space junk
 

Marker51

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You gotta give some credit to SpaceX here.
Not some, but most. SpaceX launced 18 of those 29 satellites. SpaceX alone matched the entire government of China, was 2 behind Russia, and doubled the European Union. The Falcon 9 was the most launched vehicle of the year worldwide. Without SpaceX, the US would still be far behind.


Edit. I forgot to account launch failures. China had 2 failures bringing a success total to 16 and Russian had one failure bringing successful launches to 19.
 
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Makaveli@BETA

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As the richest nation on this planet, there is zero reason for USA to fall so far behind on Space exploration like we did. The only way it's ever going to get cheaper is by economies of scale and further tech advances, and you can't do that by renting out someone else's rockets a couple times each year.

You know what would be a good start.

Give Nasa 10% of the bugdet you spend on weapons every year.
 

TheOne5

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America needs to figure out that first doesn't mean best. There's no reason to be a pioneer, just to let hubris and complacency be a downfall.
 

Loose Nut

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As the richest nation on this planet, there is zero reason for USA to fall so far behind on Space exploration like we did. The only way it's ever going to get cheaper is by economies of scale and further tech advances, and you can't do that by renting out someone else's rockets a couple times each year.

You do understand the USA is not the richest nation (its 5th actually), and that's why private companies are doing these launches and NOT the US.
We may be the dumbest, most egotistical, most self centered and most naive but sadly we are not the richest. ( we have WAY to many shutdown factories for that to ever be possible again. )
 

Wierdo

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This is how you MAGA, by promoting more innovation, science and hard work, instead of the rampant idiocracy going on right now.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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America needs to figure out that first doesn't mean best. There's no reason to be a pioneer, just to let hubris and complacency be a downfall.

You do realize that we're first here because we're the best? I.e., Musk's SpaceX developing reusable rockets bringing down costs thus driving more business?
 
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TheOne5

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You do realize that we're first here because we're the best? I.e., Musk's SpaceX developing reusable rockets bringing down costs thus driving more business?

Yeah, but we should be a lot further than we are now. It's inexcusable that a lot of the moon landing data was lost, and we somehow can't find a way to go back. If things went the way they should've have, there would be a lunar base set up already and we should've at least attempted a manned Mars landing.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Yeah, but we should be a lot further than we are now. It's inexcusable that a lot of the moon landing data was lost, and we somehow can't find a way to go back. If things went the way they should've have, there would be a lunar base set up already and we should've at least attempted a manned Mars landing.

It's all about the ROI. The whole reason space access was largely privatized was that government is just too expensive and slow- and as we see with Tesla and others, private industry can find a way to pay for it while innovating and lowering costs.

It just takes an Elon Musk to get it started.
 
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aaronspink

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Yeah, but we should be a lot further than we are now. It's inexcusable that a lot of the moon landing data was lost, and we somehow can't find a way to go back. If things went the way they should've have, there would be a lunar base set up already and we should've at least attempted a manned Mars landing.

That's down to Nixon's hatred of Kennedy more than anything. He wanted to kill and bury Apollo because it was a symbol of the Kennedy administration.
 

nutzo

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Yeah, but we should be a lot further than we are now. It's inexcusable that a lot of the moon landing data was lost, and we somehow can't find a way to go back. If things went the way they should've have, there would be a lunar base set up already and we should've at least attempted a manned Mars landing.

But if we had a moon base, they would want to store nuclear waste on the moon, and then there would be an explosion..... Wasn't this all supposed to happen back in 1999 :D
 
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Mohonri

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Yeah, but we should be a lot further than we are now. It's inexcusable that a lot of the moon landing data was lost, and we somehow can't find a way to go back. If things went the way they should've have, there would be a lunar base set up already and we should've at least attempted a manned Mars landing.
The issue really comes down to the question of "Why do we need to send people to the moon [again]?" The space race was all about national pride and one-upping the Russians, and had a nice side effect of technological and scientific research. Absolutely, it's freakin' cool to be able to send people to the moon. But what's the end goal? If you're looking for scientific research in microgravity, then the ISS is a lot easier. If you're looking for scientific research in a vacuum, you can do that on earth, and if you need both a vacuum AND microgravity, then the ISS fits the bill again. If you're looking for surface samples, geological research, etc, then unmanned probes are a much simpler/easier/cheaper/lighter/lower-risk way to do it.

You've got to come up with a really good reason in order to justify sending humans on a mission. They're a massive pain in the backside from an engineering perspective. They weigh a lot. They require a pressurized capsule. They eat, pee, and poop. They consume oxygen, produce carbon dioxide, and don't perform well if those gases get out of balance.. They are very sensitive to temperature swings, require daily downtime, and can be temperamental. They also like to return to Earth safely, as does the public. What humans *are* good for is physical manipulation, handling unforeseen circumstances, observation, and low-latency control inputs. So in order to justify a manned mission, you have to show that the value the humans add to the mission exceeds the massive costs they impose.
 

haste.

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Nope, that was 2016. All missions in 2017 were 100% successful, including recovery of boosters (where they had planned recovery).
Yeah - getting old. Time seems to blend together these days. :(
 
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