Poll

Which orbital launch vehicles will have their first successful flight by the end of 2024?

Ariane 6 (Arianspace)
52 (22.5%)
Arora (Reaction Dynamics)
1 (0.4%)
Eris Block 1 (Gilmour Space Technologies)
0 (0%)
Hanbit-Nano (Innospace)
0 (0%)
Neutron (Rocket Lab)
4 (1.7%)
New Glenn (Blue Origin)
13 (5.6%)
RFA One (Rocket Factory Augsburg)
1 (0.4%)
Rocket 4 (Astra)
2 (0.9%)
Skyrora XL (Skyrora)
0 (0%)
Starship (SpaceX)
58 (25.1%)
Volans (Equatorial Space Systems)
0 (0%)
Vulcan (ULA)
58 (25.1%)
One other vehicle type by a democracy
6 (2.6%)
Two other vehicle types by democracy(ies)
2 (0.9%)
Three or more other vehicle types by democracy(ies)
0 (0%)
RS1 (ABL Space Systems, late add to poll)
14 (6.1%)
H3 (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries  / JAXA, late add to poll)
20 (8.7%)

Total Members Voted: 62

Voting closed: 01/26/2024 10:26 pm


Author Topic: Poll: which launchers will launch successfully by end of 2024?  (Read 3208 times)

Offline deltaV

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Rules:
Liftoff must occur by the end of 2024 UTC time. I don't think any of these vehicles will have their first successful flight in 2023 or earlier but just in case, earlier dates count for the explicitly listed vehicles. Launches before the creation of this poll don't count for the "other" options since it would be silly otherwise.

Only launch vehicles that are intended for orbital use qualify. For the "other" options only vehicles in democratic countries qualify.

A launch counts as successful if the payload (or stage if there’s no payload) survives the shutdown of the engines into an orbit that’s at least an almost-LEO, "abort once around" orbit. Success or failure at other activities such as post-orbital engine firings or recovery of any stages for reuse is irrelevant. For example if Starship launches east from Texas and enters an orbit that would have it reenter near Hawaii that counts, even if one or both stages don't reenter successfully.

If you vote for an "other" option please say which other launchers you expect in a comment.

Most of the options are from the list of "Planned maiden flights" in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_in_spaceflight.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2023 10:46 pm by deltaV »

Offline Zed_Noir

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RS-1 from ABL should have a shot of orbiting something before they hit the financial wall.

added - For the record voted for Starship, Vulcan and RS-1 as one other type. Before the RS-1 got added to the poll. Have doubts that the Ariane 6 and the MHI H3 will successfully make orbit in 2024. As for the rest of the field, they will all slip past 2024 in my estimation.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2023 04:30 am by Zed_Noir »

Offline deltaV

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RS-1 from ABL should have a shot of orbiting something before they hit the financial wall.

Oops I should have included them. I added them now. For future reference when interpreting results there were 4 votes for "1 other" out of 13 total voters when I added RS1.

Offline ZachS09

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I selected Ariane 6, Neutron, Vulcan, RS1, and Starship.

The first four; I have confidence in them making it to orbit easily.

But Starship may fly two more IFTs including the upcoming IFT-3, and then make its first successful orbital launch afterward.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2023 10:29 am by ZachS09 »
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Offline laszlo

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Another one of those polls. The definition of success is so sketchy as to render the whole poll meaningless, the almost-an-orbit orbit is included so that SpaceX will be able to count a success without completing an actual orbit when sub-orbital is explicitly disqualified for everyone else and the host nation's political system somehow counts for something (probably to keep the Chinese from claiming a success if they test a new unannounced launcher).

Offline deltaV

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The definition of success is so sketchy as to render the whole poll meaningless, the almost-an-orbit orbit is included so that SpaceX will be able to count a success without completing an actual orbit when sub-orbital is explicitly disqualified for everyone else

An abort once around orbit is in the ballpark of 200 km altitude apogee and 50 km perigee, which is 45 m/s delta vee from a 200 km circular orbit, ~0.5% of the ~9.5 km/s to get from Earth's surface to LEO. So an abort once around orbit is ~99.5% of the way to a stable orbit, whereas a suborbital Kármán line tourism flight needs only about one quarter of orbital delta vee. So abort once around has far more in common with LEO than it does with a suborbital tourism flights. I therefore think classifying abort once around as orbital is reasonable.

Offline DanClemmensen

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The definition of success is so sketchy as to render the whole poll meaningless, the almost-an-orbit orbit is included so that SpaceX will be able to count a success without completing an actual orbit when sub-orbital is explicitly disqualified for everyone else

An abort once around orbit is in the ballpark of 200 km altitude apogee and 50 km perigee, which is 45 m/s delta vee from a 200 km circular orbit, ~0.5% of the ~9.5 km/s to get from Earth's surface to LEO. So an abort once around orbit is ~99.5% of the way to a stable orbit, whereas a suborbital Kármán line tourism flight needs only about one quarter of orbital delta vee. So abort once around has far more in common with LEO than it does with a suborbital tourism flights. I therefore think classifying abort once around as orbital is reasonable.
I was surprised to learn that Atlas V does not put Starliner into (stable) orbit. After Starliner separates from Atlas' upper stage, it must fire its thrusters to achieve a stable orbit and reach ISS. If the thrusters do no fire, Starliner re-enters. This ensures the safety of the crew if the thrusters fail to fire.

So, is this an orbital flight for Atlas V? How does this differ from SS deliberately achieving an "orbit" that comes down in Hawaii?

Offline mandrewa

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Vulcan Centaur VC2 62
Starship
JAXA H3-303S
Ariane 62
New Glenn

These are the five heavier rockets (payload to LEO greater than seven metric tons) -- I'm looking only at the heavier rockets -- that have reasonably good odds of reaching orbit in 2024.  Success is defined as reaching orbit.

In the case of Starship, the chances are very good, maybe even 98%, that Starship will reach orbit in 2024. 

The odds are also quite good that New Glenn will have its first launch this year.  But it's also reasonable odds that this first New Glenn launch will not be a success.

For the remaining three, the odds are individually high that the rocket will reach orbit.  But it's likely there will be one failure among the three.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2023 12:41 pm by mandrewa »

Offline deltaV

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The definition of success is so sketchy as to render the whole poll meaningless, the almost-an-orbit orbit is included so that SpaceX will be able to count a success without completing an actual orbit when sub-orbital is explicitly disqualified for everyone else

An abort once around orbit is in the ballpark of 200 km altitude apogee and 50 km perigee, which is 45 m/s delta vee from a 200 km circular orbit, ~0.5% of the ~9.5 km/s to get from Earth's surface to LEO. So an abort once around orbit is ~99.5% of the way to a stable orbit, whereas a suborbital Kármán line tourism flight needs only about one quarter of orbital delta vee. So abort once around has far more in common with LEO than it does with a suborbital tourism flights. I therefore think classifying abort once around as orbital is reasonable.
I was surprised to learn that Atlas V does not put Starliner into (stable) orbit. After Starliner separates from Atlas' upper stage, it must fire its thrusters to achieve a stable orbit and reach ISS. If the thrusters do no fire, Starliner re-enters. This ensures the safety of the crew if the thrusters fail to fire.

So, is this an orbital flight for Atlas V? How does this differ from SS deliberately achieving an "orbit" that comes down in Hawaii?
The rules treat SpaceX the same as anyone else - I mentioned Starship only as an example, NOT to give them any special rules.  A flight like the Starliner flight you described sounds like it would count for the poll (except Atlas isn't a _new_ launch vehicle so it's out of scope and fails the last sentence of the first paragraph of the rules). I could have given a quantitative standard such as "within 200 m/s of getting a 200+ km perigee" instead of the qualitative "abort once around" but a quantitative standard requires knowing the perigee and apogee for any temporary orbit and I'm not sure we'd learn that.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2023 02:25 am by deltaV »

Offline jongoff

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I said Starship, Vulcan, and RS-1.

I don't think Neutron will get to flight by end of 2024 given where they're at. Same with New Glenn. Not really convinced most of the rest on the list have the resources to ever make it to orbit. But I'd love to be proven wrong.

~Jon

Offline c4fusion

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I said Starship, Vulcan, and RS-1.

I don't think Neutron will get to flight by end of 2024 given where they're at. Same with New Glenn. Not really convinced most of the rest on the list have the resources to ever make it to orbit. But I'd love to be proven wrong.

~Jon

How about Ariane 6? They seem to be ready for next year and they definitely won’t fold before launching successfully.  Unless you know something I don’t know.

I voted the same and added Ariane 6, I feel like this coming year is there year to do it.

New Glenn is definitely further along than I expected a year ago but between the items they need to do and their historic speed, I would be surprised that they will not only launch but launch successfully.

1. Finish first stage
2. Finish second stage
3. Fire first stage
4. Fire second stage
5. WDR
6. Stacked static fire (?)
7. Any tweaks they find after each stage.
8. Launch it, and there still at least 50% chance of failing, probably more since they don’t have heritage
9. Most likely do steps 1-7 again

Right now to me it seems like there is 2 ways to do it:
1. Reliably and slow - a la SLS, Vulcan, and Ariane 6 and we still don’t know if the later 2 will even be successful on the first flight. They all had their cores assembled well over a year before launch to do extensive testing.

2. Quick but frankly dirty - all the other startups and Starship seem to accept some risk and are willing to blow up a few before a successful flight.

Either way it seems like it’s at least 2 years from first stage sighting until successful flight.

Offline deltaV

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JAXA H3-303S

I just added an option for H3. For future reference there are currently 5 votes for "one other" and 34 votes total.

Offline laszlo

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I was surprised to learn that Atlas V does not put Starliner into (stable) orbit. After Starliner separates from Atlas' upper stage, it must fire its thrusters to achieve a stable orbit and reach ISS. If the thrusters do no fire, Starliner re-enters. This ensures the safety of the crew if the thrusters fail to fire.

So, is this an orbital flight for Atlas V? How does this differ from SS deliberately achieving an "orbit" that comes down in Hawaii?

It differs by leaving Starliner in orbit unless there's a failure whereas the successful operation of SH/SS leaves SS in the drink 4,000 miles short of the take-off point.

Offline laszlo

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The definition of success is so sketchy as to render the whole poll meaningless, the almost-an-orbit orbit is included so that SpaceX will be able to count a success without completing an actual orbit when sub-orbital is explicitly disqualified for everyone else

An abort once around orbit is in the ballpark of 200 km altitude apogee and 50 km perigee, which is 45 m/s delta vee from a 200 km circular orbit, ~0.5% of the ~9.5 km/s to get from Earth's surface to LEO. So an abort once around orbit is ~99.5% of the way to a stable orbit, whereas a suborbital Kármán line tourism flight needs only about one quarter of orbital delta vee. So abort once around has far more in common with LEO than it does with a suborbital tourism flights. I therefore think classifying abort once around as orbital is reasonable.

That sounds a lot like calling Apollo 4 a lunar flight  instead of Earth orbital because the CM re-entered at 24,000 mph but I'm willing to agree to disagree about this and move on.

On the other hand, what does the launching nation's form of government have to do with any of this?

Offline deltaV

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what does the launching nation's form of government have to do with any of this?

A poll covering the whole planet could have gotten overly lengthy so I focused this poll on the democratic part of the planet. Feel free to make another poll about other launchers if you want.

Offline deltaV

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I voted for Ariane 6, New Glenn, RFA One, Starship, and Vulcan. I would have voted for the late additions RS1 and H3 as well if they had been options when I voted. I was on the optimistic side this time - it's more likely that some of these won't launch in 2024 then launchers I didn't vote for to launch in 2024.

Offline trimeta

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I stuck with the majors (Vulcan, Ariane 6, H3, Starship), along with ABL's RS1 (since it'll be their second attempt). I think New Glenn and Neutron will slip to 2025, although there's a decent chance they'll succeed on the first launch. I also think there's a decent chance that Glimour Space Technologies and RFA will make orbital launch attempts in 2024 (Gilmour is claiming March, and RFA is claiming April), but I don't expect either of those to be fully successful. Of the rest, Skyrora said this past August that they "[expect] a first launch next year," but I think that'll slip into 2025 (at least). Likewise, Innospace said they were going to have HANBIT-Nano "make its commercial debut in 2024," but I don't expect to see it until 2025 either. Astra of course won't survive long enough to launch Rocket 4. I similarly don't hold out a lot of hope for Reaction Dynamics or Equatorial Space Systems making launch attempts, mostly due to them being less advanced.

Offline DeimosDream

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First orbit by: Ariane 6, H3, RS1, Starship, Vulcan.

"Late 2024" is usually code for "2025". I'll be pleasantly surprised if Neutron manages a 2024 wet dress rehearsal.

It is also a safe bet that new companies won't achieve orbit on the maiden flight of their first orbital rocket. New Glenn, Eris, Vikram-1 (Skyroot Aerospace), etc.

Offline deltaV

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So far Vulcan (58/62 voted for it), H3 (20/28 voted for it) and Starship (58/62 voted for it) have launched successfully. I'm aware of the following scheduled flights: RS1 in April, Gilmour Space's Eris 1 in April, ISAR Aerospace Spectrum in June, RFA One in June, Ariane 6 in June or July, New Glenn in August, Arora in Q4 and Daytona in Q4. Rocket 4 is supposedly scheduled for sometime in 2024 but I haven't found any specific time frame. Neutron is apparently trying to launch before the December 15 2024 deadline for the first task orders for NSSL phase 3 lane 1 but some congressional staffers think this is optimistic. Space One KAIROS had a failed launch March 13, I don't know if they'll attempt again this year. I have not attempted to find launch dates for the vehicles that received 0 votes; please say if you know one.

Edit: https://payloadspace.com/will-2024-finally-bring-a-bunch-of-new-rockets/ mentions ISAR Aerospace Spectrum, Skyroot Aerospace Vikram-1, Skyrora XL, Orbex Prime, and TLON Aventura-1 as additional western launchers that may launch this year.

(I made edits to this post on various dates 2/16/24 - 4/3/24.)
« Last Edit: 04/04/2024 01:55 am by deltaV »

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