Space Stations with Most Rocket Launches

Earlier this year SpaceX completed a test flight that could lead the way to human space flight. That’s a long way in a short time given that this week we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the company’s Falcon 9 craft first reaching orbit. The history of terrestrial space stations, or spaceports, dates back into the 1940s. There are over 100 rocket launching sites across 42 countries representing thousands and thousands of lift-offs. You can explore these stations in the map below using BatchGeo’s grouping technology to see the oldest, newest, and most prolific stations on the planet.

View Space Station Rocket Launches in a full screen map

Some of the earliest rocket launches were created for battle during World War II. The German site at Peenemünde launched over 3,000 V-2 rockets targeted Allied positions in Europe. Similarly bourne out of post-wartime hysteria, the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was established in 1946. Previously the home of the first atomic bomb test, the range has seen the most launches of any site with a count. At over 7,000 launches, it is also the oldest station still in operation.

The Space Race of the 1950s and 60s certainly played its part in rocket launches. Unsurprisingly, the US and Russia have more stations than other countries, with 12 and eight respectively. However, there are few that come close.

  • Argentina has seven sites, most of which ceased in the 60s or 70s. However, a military test launch site re-opened in 2011, and a civilian test site has made two launches since 2014. Another site for the Tronador II rockets should be operational by 2017.
  • Japan had six sites, mostly from the 1950s.
  • China has five sites, and is the only country to join the US and Russia in human spaceflight.

The Kennedy Space Center in Florida has only seen 151 launches, but the NASA center can be thanked for all of the United States human missions until the space shuttle program ended in 2011. Named after John F. Kennedy shortly after his death in 1963, the location was chosen for being a prime spot for reaching equatorial orbit.

Nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is also a rocket site, and the choice of most SpaceX launches. Since 2006, the company has worked under contract with NASA. Falcon 9 first went into orbit five years ago, but it has completed 13 other flights, including five cargo deliveries to the international space station.