What is the success rate of NASA launches since it was founded in 1958? I'd appreciate a decade by decade statistic. By successful I mean a successful launch into space and release of payload (if any). It's irrelevant if the payload itself fails later.

Edit: IOW, the Challenger disaster should be considered a failure while Columbia, within this scope, should be considered a success as disaster struck only during re-entry. I'm only interested in official NASA launches into space. Sounding Rockets, ICBMs, etc. can be excused from this question.

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    $\begingroup$ Taking just the launch vehicle (LV) success rates into account (not counting payload success rate), the best data can probably be collated through Space Launch Report All-Time Launcher Results Summary. Some numbers according to other sources are 85% for 1958-74 time period and 94% for 1989-98 time period, but overall figures would depend on which LVs you actually count, and the question is rather vague regarding that. ;) $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Aug 29, 2013 at 3:47
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could clarify what kind of missions you are talking about? Just ones where the purpose was a routine launch of a payload or ones where the purpose was to test an LV system? What counts as a failure? Does it have to blow up before it's considered a failure or is it a fail if it gets aborted / postponed? $\endgroup$
    – Caleb
    Aug 29, 2013 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ Technically speaking, the Columbia disaster was actually a result of an insulation separation and collision with the vehicle during launch. $\endgroup$
    – Octopus
    Mar 31, 2015 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ You'd need to define "NASA launch". Is that just NASA-designed vehicles? Does it include commercial vehicles with NASA payloads? Does it include Soyuz launches that NASA paid for? $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Feb 9, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


According to this site

the Delta II has successfully launched more than 190 NASA missions and maintains a 98 percent success rate.

success rate of SHUTTLE is 98.25% to end-2005

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I'm having a hard time just sorting out NASA, but here's the statistics for every launch, using the source information found here. This gives the following breakdown, by decade

  • 1950's 43.6%
  • 1960's 85.1%
  • 1970's 93.5%
  • 1980's 96.0%
  • 1990's 93.9%
  • 2000's 94.7%
  • 2010's 94.7%

Note the list was last updated Oct 8, 2015.

  • $\begingroup$ Launch success rates should be ronded to one or zero digits behind the the point. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Feb 12, 2017 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ Done. In the future, feel free to propose an edit by clicking on the edit button. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Feb 13, 2017 at 13:42

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