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How many orbital and beyond-Earth launches have been done every year?

There is a Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_spaceflight

But it doesn't contain enough data.

There is a green graph there, but it doesn't show the exact numbers. Plus 1967 has almost 150 flights, which probably isn't accurate. The answer to another question says it is 124 - Most busy times in space launches by decade?

As for individual articles - not all years mention the number of launches, for example 1984 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_in_spaceflight

Here's a similar question: Number of satellites launched per year?

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    $\begingroup$ As explained by the help center, you should show that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself. For example, indicate how this easily-found Wikipedia article doe not answer your question. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Nov 9 '20 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ There is a green graph there but not showing the exact numbers. Plus 1967 has almost 150 flights which is probably not accurate. The answer to the other question says it is 124 - space.stackexchange.com/questions/45911/… $\endgroup$ – Joe Jobs Nov 9 '20 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ As for individual articles - not all years mention the number of launches for example 1984 - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_in_spaceflight $\endgroup$ – Joe Jobs Nov 9 '20 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ Your comment should have been put into the question before asking it. Showing you cannot easily find the answer shows that the question is interesting and spending time to answer it is useful and bring new information/knowledge to the community. Take a tour and browse the help center for more information. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Nov 10 '20 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ The bar graph is accurate, but it includes failures. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 10 '20 at 13:14
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note: for the purposes of launch statistics one should probably use the smaller of the two numbers below; the insertions of the "000" for debris items should not count.

Celestrak

offers a copy of at Satcat from which a tabulation of space objects can be gleaned:

The legacy text format (uses column numbers instead of the new CSV format) is as follows:

001-011  International Designator
    Launch Year (001-004)
    Launch of the Year (006-008)
    Piece of the Launch (009-011)

So for each year we should be able to count the number of unique "Launch of the year" values exist, and compare it to the highest value to see if they agree.

They do except in 1971 and 2014 where there's a difference of one more launch of the year than the highest launch number. This happened because someone inserted a value of 000 for launch of the year:

1971-000E    05310   D US UNKNOWN 1 DEB          US     1971-01-01  AFETR  1990-09-26   1436.7    1.2   35795   35763     N/A
2014-000A    40328     UNKNOWN LDS DEB           CIS    2014-01-01  PLMSC                710.6   70.5   32069    7930    0.0030

Here's a plot of the data, and the raw numbers below. Please note that it is not accurate for this year 2020 because the year isn't over yet.

launches per year

inelegant script for sorting and plotting https://pastebin.com/GykNkE5Q

tabulated results (year 2020 is incomplete!)

1957 2 2 True
1958 8 8 True
1959 14 14 True
1960 19 19 True
1961 35 35 True
1962 72 72 True
1963 55 55 True
1964 87 87 True
1965 112 112 True
1966 118 118 True
1967 127 127 True
1968 119 119 True
1969 110 110 True
1970 114 114 True
1971 121 120 False
1972 106 106 True
1973 109 109 True
1974 106 106 True
1975 125 125 True
1976 128 128 True
1977 124 124 True
1978 124 124 True
1979 106 106 True
1980 105 105 True
1981 123 123 True
1982 121 121 True
1983 127 127 True
1984 129 129 True
1985 121 121 True
1986 103 103 True
1987 110 110 True
1988 116 116 True
1989 101 101 True
1990 116 116 True
1991 88 88 True
1992 95 95 True
1993 79 79 True
1994 89 89 True
1995 74 74 True
1996 73 73 True
1997 86 86 True
1998 77 77 True
1999 73 73 True
2000 82 82 True
2001 58 58 True
2002 62 62 True
2003 61 61 True
2004 53 53 True
2005 52 52 True
2006 63 63 True
2007 65 65 True
2008 67 67 True
2009 75 75 True
2010 70 70 True
2011 80 80 True
2012 75 75 True
2013 78 78 True
2014 91 90 False
2015 83 83 True
2016 83 83 True
2017 86 86 True
2018 112 112 True
2019 97 97 True
2020 87 87 True

United Nations

Ars Technica's SpaceX Starlink engineers take questions in Reddit AMA—here are highlights included a reader poll when I viewed it, screen shot below. It said:

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs monitors and logs objects, including satellites, launched each year.

Their home page is at https://www.unoosa.org/ and there is a page called Outer Space Objects Index

But this just looks like an attempt to make a "UN Satcat clone"

screenshot of online poll from Ars Technica

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2020 has had 89 launch attempts with 81 successes and 8 failures. You can read the full timeline of launches attempts here.

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I got the file named launchlog.txt from this place: Master Orbital Launch Log - JSR Launch Logs - Jonathan C. McDowell

As an alternative there is this file: GCAT: General Catalog of Artificial Space Objects - the O File: Orbital Launches

This is the data that I got:

YEAR LAUNCHES SUCCESS FAILURE
2020 99 90 9
2019 102 97 5
2018 114 111 3
2017 91 84 7
2016 85 83 2
2015 87 82 5
2014 92 89 3
2013 81 77 4
2012 78 73 5
2011 84 78 6
2010 74 70 4
2009 78 73 5
2008 69 66 3
2007 68 63 5
2006 66 62 4
2005 56 52 4
2004 54 51 3
2003 63 61 2
2002 65 61 4
2001 59 57 2
2000 85 81 4
1999 78 70 8
1998 82 77 5
1997 89 83 6
1996 77 71 6
1995 80 72 8
1994 93 89 4
1993 83 79 4
1992 97 94 3
1991 91 87 4
1990 121 115 6
1989 102 100 2
1988 121 115 6
1987 114 108 6
1986 110 102 8
1985 125 120 5
1984 129 127 2
1983 129 127 2
1982 129 119 10
1981 126 120 6
1980 108 103 5
1979 110 105 5
1978 128 123 5
1977 130 123 7
1976 131 126 5
1975 132 125 7
1974 113 104 9
1973 116 109 7
1972 113 105 8
1971 133 117 16
1970 124 113 11
1969 125 106 19
1968 128 119 9
1967 139 124 15
1966 132 117 15
1965 124 109 15
1964 99 86 13
1963 69 52 17
1962 81 67 14
1961 50 34 16
1960 38 19 19
1959 23 13 10
1958 28 8 20
1957 3 2 1

6003 launches in total, 5545 successful and 458 failures

On average 93.5 launches per year, 86.5 of them successful

  • Most launches: 1967 - 139
  • Most successful launches: 1983 and 1984 with 127

and this is the script I used for generating the list:

cat launchlog.txt | grep -v "^ " > log
cat log | grep -E "^.{192} S    " > logs
cat log | grep -E "^.{192} F    " > logf

FOR /L %%A IN (1957,1,2020) DO (
  awk "/^%%A/ {c++} END {print %%A c}" log >> yeara.txt
)
cat yeara.txt | sed -e "s/\(....\)/\1 - /" > yra.txt

FOR /L %%A IN (1957,1,2020) DO (
  awk "/^%%A/ {c++} END {print %%A c}" logs >> years.txt
)
cat years.txt | sed -e "s/\(....\)/\1 - /" > yrs.txt

del /f yearf.txt
FOR /L %%A IN (1957,1,2020) DO (
  awk "/^%%A/ {c++} END {print %%A c}" logf >> yearf.txt
)
cat yearf.txt | sed -e "s/\(....\)/\1 - /" > yrf.txt

paste yra.txt yrs.txt yrf.txt | sed -e "s/\t....//g" > y.txt

(a, s and f means all, success, failure)

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