I'm curious if there is a statistically demonstrable tendency not to schedule launches on certain days, such as those that contain leap seconds (see answers below this question), year changes, or superstitious connotations like Friday the thirteenth for example.

The three sources where I believe I can find or from where I can at least assemble a fairly complete list of orbital launch attempts are:

  1. Scrape the Space Launch Report site, (found in this answer).
  2. Download the complete SatCat from Celestrak and then do some sorting/filtering.
  3. Go to the JSR Launch Vehicle Database as mentioned here, and download potential orbital launches and launch attempts in lists G (Harvard 1957-62), O (COSPAR 1963-), U (Uncataloged (sic)), F (Orbital Failures), and E (Orbital pre-launch Explosions) all found in the list of lists on this page.

But even if I did all three of these, then filtered and merged, I would be missing most/all scrubbed launches; launches that were indeed scheduled, but didn't happen and were rescheduled for the next launch window.

Are there any, even partial lists that would include scrubbed launches for reasons like faulty non-critical sensor data, weather, downrange interference (e.g. fishing contests) etc? Even if not exhaustive, it may still be helpful and informative.

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    $\begingroup$ There's another way to look at it though: there are enough launches by now (at least 3000) that you'd expect at least 10 launches on any given date in the year. So without including scrubs, your dataset is large enough that a day with 0 launches will stand out. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:41
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    $\begingroup$ 'Space Shuttle Missions Summary" has detail on each mission's scrubs, delays, etc. Sorry I can't post link (on primitive device) but I site this in many of my answers and I think it's in the references list on meta. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble ok got it! Space Shuttle Missions Summary from 2011 that you mention in this comment. There are python pdf-reading packages that may be able to quickly reduce to text for automated search. There are 603 instances of scrub* on 249 pages, and 125 instances of scrubbed on 66 pages. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 14:16
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe you should also categorize this by launch provider. chinese launches may avoid completely other days/dates then american ones, for example. I'm not very versed in chinese superstitions, but I can imagine they differ wildly from ours. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ It would actually be very interesting to see if there is any correlation between region and date(s), and to see how cultures diverge. You have definitely piqued my interest. One thing to note: For launches at the KSC, there is often naval warnings for boats, maybe you can find a way to scrape those for attempts. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 8:41


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