At the launchers’ session at Satellite 2016 in Washington D.C. representatives of the main commercial launch providers laid out their planned launch totals for the 2016 year. In summary the planned launch numbers are as follows, with the SpaceX very high aspirational figure being the most eye-catching:
Arianespace plan 12 launches for 2016: Ariane 5 = 8 (including two single launches). If this figure is achieved this will be a record for the Ariane 5. Ariane – Soyuz = 2, Vega = 2. Arianespace and Airbus Safran Launchers look forward to the start of operations with Ariane 6 in 2020 which should provide a 40 to 50% cost reduction compared to Ariane 5.
Space X plan 18 Falcon 9 launches for 2016: This flight rate they aim to increase by further 30% in 2017. The figure of 30% is also the amount they hope to reduce current Falcon 9 launch costs with the reusable first stage once its operation is perfected.
MHI plans 4 or 5 H2A/H2B launches in 2016: The firm looks forward to its first H3 launch in 2020 which promises a 30 to 40% cost reduction over the current workhorse.
ILS/Khrunichev plan 9 launches for 2016: Of these 5 Proton launches will be for Russian government with 4 as commercial flights. Full operations of the Angara 5 continues to slip and the Proton is expected to still be around for at least 10 years.
David Todd contributed to this story.