Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. Rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 127 times over 11 years, resulting in 125 full mission successes (98.43%).
Falcon Heavy is a partially reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as the center core with two additional Falcon 9-like first stages as strap-on boosters. Falcon Heavy has the highest payload capacity of any currently operational launch vehicle, and the third-highest capacity of any rocket ever to reach orbit
The SpaceX Starship system consists of a family of spacecraft collectively named Starship, a super-heavy booster named Super Heavy, and ground support infrastructure, all under development by SpaceX. Starship forms a fully reusable, two-stage-to-orbit super heavy-lift launch vehicle, and will be the world’s tallest and most powerful rocket ever built, producing more than twice the thrust of the Saturn V.
The Falcon 1 was an expendable launch system privately developed and manufactured by SpaceX during 2006–2009. On 28 September 2008, Falcon 1 became the first privately-developed fully liquid-fueled launch vehicle to go into orbit around the Earth.
Saturn V was an American human-rated super heavy-lift launch vehicle used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. It consisted of three stages, each fueled by liquid propellants. It was developed to support the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon and was later used to launch Skylab, the first American space station.
The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated from 1981 to 2011 by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of the Space Shuttle program. Its official program name was Space Transportation System (STS), taken from a 1969 plan for a system of reusable spacecraft where it was the only item funded for development. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981. Five complete Space Shuttle orbiter vehicles were built and flown on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011
The Space Launch System (SLS) is an American super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, under development by NASA since 2011. It replaced the Ares I, Ares V, and Jupiter planned launch vehicles, all cancelled in development. Like those proposals, it is a design derived from the components and technology of the earlier Space Shuttle. SLS is intended to become the primary launch vehicle of NASA’s deep space exploration plans throughout the 2020s and into the future, including the planned crewed lunar flights of the Artemis program and a possible follow-on human mission to Mars.
Atlas V is an expendable launch system and the fifth major version in the Atlas rocket family. It was originally designed by Lockheed Martin, now being operated by United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Atlas V is also a major NASA launch vehicle. In 2021, ULA announced that Atlas V would be retired after an additional 29 launches.
Delta IV Heavy
The Delta IV Heavy (Delta 9250H) is an expendable heavy-lift launch vehicle, the largest type of the Delta IV family. It is the world’s second highest-capacity launch vehicle in operation, behind SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy (with its core stage expended), and closely followed by CNSA’s Long March 5. It is manufactured by United Launch Alliance and was first launched in 2004.
Vulcan Centaur is a two-stage-to-orbit, heavy-lift launch vehicle that is under development by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) since 2014 with an initial flight expected in 2022. It is principally designed to meet launch demands for the U.S. government’sNational Security Space Launch (NSSL) program for use by the United States Space Force and U.S. intelligence agencies for national security satellite launches.
Ariane 5 is a European heavy-lift space launch vehicle developed and operated by Arianespace for the European Space Agency (ESA). It is launched from the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guiana. It has been used to deliver payloads into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) or low Earth orbit (LEO). The rocket had a streak of 82 consecutive successful launches between 9 April 2003 and 12 December 2017.
Ariane 6 is a European expendable launch system currently under development by ArianeGroup on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). It is intended to replace the Ariane 5, as part of the Ariane launch vehicle family.
Vega is an expendable launch system in use by Arianespace jointly developed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Development began in 1998 and the first launch took place from the Centre Spatial Guyanais on 13 February 2012.
Electron is a two-stage, partially recoverable orbital launch vehicle developed by Rocket Lab, an American aerospace company with a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. Electron was developed to service the commercial small satellite launch market. Its Rutherford engines are the first electric-pump-fed engine to power an orbital-class rocket. Electron is often flown with a kickstage or Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft. Although the rocket is designed to be expendable, Rocket Lab has recovered the first stage twice and is working towards the capability of reusing the booster.
Neutron is a medium-lift two-stage launch vehicle under development by Rocket Lab. Announced on 1 March 2021, the vehicle is being designed to be capable of delivering an 8,000 kg (17,600 lb) payload to low Earth orbit, and will focus on the growing mega constellation satellite delivery market. The vehicle is expected to be operational sometime in 2024. It uses LOX and kerosene propellant.
Soyuz (rocket family)
Soyuz is a family of expendable Russian and Soviet carrier rockets developed by OKB-1 and manufactured by Progress Rocket Space Centre in Samara, Russia. With over 1,900 flights since its debut in 1966, the Soyuz is the most frequently used launch vehicle in the world as of 2021. For nearly a decade, between the final flight of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 and the 2020 first crewed mission of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, Soyuz rockets were the only launch vehicles able and approved for transporting astronauts to the International Space Station.
H-IIA (H-2A) is an active expendable launch system operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. These liquid fuel rockets have been used to launch satellites into geostationary orbit; lunar orbiting spacecraft; Akatsuki, which studied the planet Venus; and the Emirates Mars Mission, which was launched to Mars in July 2020. Launches occur at the Tanegashima Space Center. The H-IIA first flew in 2001. As of November 2020, H-IIA rockets were launched 43 times, including 37 consecutive missions without a failure, dating back to 29 November 2003.