Space News
space history and artifacts articles

space history discussion forums

worldwide astronaut appearances

selected space history documents

related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Launch and scrub statistics

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Launch and scrub statistics

Posts: 3593
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-18-2007 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have the statistics showing how many shuttle flights have launched during their first attempt vs. launched during their second or third or fourth (etc.) attempts?

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-18-2007 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is a release that contains such info., however, NASA's Space Shuttle Mission Chronology outlines each shuttle launch attempts. If you can't find a copy of it (online as well), let me know and I could either mail you a copy, or if time permits, check my own notes/etc. for you. Many of the earlier shuttle missions from the 1980s were not on time, however, most of the Shuttle-Mir missions of the 90s and others were, overall, on time during their first launch attempts.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-19-2007 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for the fun of it, the following listed shuttle missions (we'll start with the early ones, first 25 from 1981-86, for now) that were not launched on time once NASA firmly had their launch dates set months in advance:
  • STS-1 (a timing skew delay of 2 days)
  • STS-2 (nearly 1 month of delays)
  • STS-3 (liftoff delayed 1 hr.)
  • STS-6 (long 2+ months delay due to hydrogen leak at first)
  • STS-8 (a 17-minute delay due to weather)
  • STS-9 (28 day delay due to suspect exhaust nozzle on right SRB)
  • STS-41B (launch delay while Challenger still in OPF to allow changeout of all 3 APUs)
  • STS-41D (four delay problems within a 2 month period)
  • STS-51A (1 day delay due to wind shears in upper atmosphere)
  • STS-51C (1 day delay due to freezing weather conditions -- most interesting, huh!)
  • STS-51E (was later canceled with the orbiter re-manifested with 51-B payloads; 51-B launch delayed 18 seconds due to a launch processing system failure)
  • STS-51F (launch delayed just over 2 weeks when countdown was halted at T-3 seconds when #2 main engine colant valve shutdown)
  • STS-51I (3 day delay due to in-area thunderstorms and a general purpose computer failure)
  • STS-51J (launch delayed for almost 23 seconds because of a main engine LH2 prevalve close "on" indicator)
  • STS-61C (delayed for almost a month due to a variety of concerns)
  • STS-51L (6 day delay ---)


Posts: 149
From: Athens, GA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 05-21-2007 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for a basis of comparison:

Thirteen Saturn V launches. Zero scrubs. Two delays:

Apollo 14 -- delay for weather to clear;
Apollo 17 -- computer glitch


Posts: 1843
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 05-21-2007 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And of those Saturn V launches, I believe 7 went into totally overcast skies and one got struck by lightning.

I'll stick with a scrub so I can see it and get a safe ride.

The problem with scrub stats is the launch windows. In my mind, if it goes on the first try that's enough to say on time. But the ISS and Mir flights, you have to realize, had/have just five or ten minute windows.

So many of those launches that had 2.5 hour windows would not have gone under those circumstances.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-07-2007 04:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Associated Press:

A database analysis by The Associated Press showed that 47 of the 118 previous space shuttle missions have taken off on their originally scheduled day. Technical glitches account for more than half the delays. (Endeavour was held back because of a leaky valve in the crew cabin.)

Bad weather at Kennedy Space Center is to blame for about a third.


Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 08-26-2009 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How many launches have taken place at the originally planned date and time?

Editor's note: Threads merged.


Posts: 1153
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 08-26-2009 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are 3 things certain in life. Death. Taxes. Shuttle launch scrubs.

How often do Soyuz launches get scrubbed? I can't remember a case of a crew having to egress after being strapped in to their spacecraft. And weather never seems to be a factor. Or maybe it's just not publicized as much.


Posts: 1494
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-26-2009 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was perusing the NASA Press Book for the latest mission the other day, particularly the launch abort section. I was interested to find that they classified the several situations where the SSME's started and then shut down as "Return To Launch Site" aborts.


Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 08-26-2009 03:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe they are called RSLS Aborts.

New Member


posted 08-26-2009 09:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for webhamster   Click Here to Email webhamster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, RSLS (Redundant Set Launch Sequencer) vs. RTLS (Return To Launch Site). The former has happened several times, the latter has never happened (thankfully).


Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 08-27-2009 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Weather has not been a major factor in Soyuz launches. I recall that Soyuz TM-18 lifted in very poor visibility in January 1994. While the first ISS crew disappeared into fog as soon as their Soyuz TM-31 vehicle left the pad on Halloween 2000. Just out of curiosity, will Orion be as finicky as the Shuttle?


Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 08-27-2009 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My one and (so far) only shuttle launch was STS-117 and the statistics show only too clearly that I was fortunate that "my launch" was one of the 40% which made it off the pad on the first attempt. I realise that if I manage to get back to KSC for another launch, the odds favour a scrub.

I distinctly remember a feeling creeping over me as the STS-117 countdown reached about T-3 minutes that Atlantis was definitely going to launch, and nothing was going to interfere with the experience. How right I was!


Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 03-09-2011 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope that 134 is in that 40%. If not, I'm going to be so upset because I'm going to be there for one day then I have to leave.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 All rights reserved.

Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a