Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cape Canaveral Not Busiest Spaceport in 2015, but Did Make History

I was in the room on January 13, 2015 when Col. Thomas Falzarano, commander of the 45th Space Wing's Operations Group, told the National Space Club Florida Committee that with 24 launches scheduled in 2015, Cape Canaveral may be the busiest spaceport in 2015. I very much wanted this to be true, but I was skeptical. Launches often face delays and space plans usually aren't executed on time. Now that 2015 is completed, how did the year's launch manifest pan out?

Short the 24 scheduled launches, there were 17 launches out of Cape Canaveral in 2015, one more than in 2014. Of those, 7 were SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, 8 were ULA Atlas V launches, and 2 were ULA Delta IV launches.

Russia's Baikonur launch site, which was the busiest site in 2014, again was the busiest in 2015 with 18 launches.

Not all launches were successful. I saw the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch failure from fairly up close on a boat on the lagoon. Two of the Baikonur launches failed. Looking at it another way, Cape Canaveral and Baikonur tied for the number of successful launches in 2015.

I watched the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch out of Cape Canaveral a week and a half ago, the last launch of the year out of the Cape. I heard those sonic booms as the rocket first stage returned to Earth and landed. Although Cape Canaveral didn't meet its goal of 24 launches and wasn't the busiest spaceport in the world in 2015, it made history last year. I'm looking forward to more successes in 2016.

My shot of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch out of Cape Canaveral on June 28, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment