On December 28, 2016 at 03:23 UTC the “Long March – 2D” (“Changzheng-2D”) rocket-carrier was launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China's Shanxi Province. The rocket orbited two “Gaojing-1” Earth observation satellites. The satellites are designed to collect optical black-and-white imagery with a resolution of less than 50 centimeters, making them the highest-resolution civilian Earth-observing satellites launched by China. But the two-stage launcher did not put the “Gaojing-1” satellites into the expected orbit, raising concerns among outside observers that the “Long March-2D” rocket ran into problems. The rocket also carried a small amateur radio satellites made by Beijing high school students.
On December 21, 2016 at 20:30 UTC the “Ariane-5ECA” rocket-carrier was launched from Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana. The rocket orbited the “Star One-D1” and the ”JCSat-15” telecommunications satellites. The “Star One-D1” satellite, owned by Embratel Star One of Brazil, will support video and radio broadcasters, Internet service providers and direct-to-home television programming, satellite telephone calls, and high-speed data transmissions over Brazil, Mexico and other parts of Latin America. The “JCSat-15” satellite, operated by Tokyo-based SKY Perfect JSAT Corp., will cover Japan and neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and will broadcast pay television channels for SKY PerfecTV service, which counts 3.4 million subscribers in Japan, and enable data transfer and maritime and aviation connectivity. Both satellites were made by US
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On December 21, 2016, at 19:22 UTC (on December 22 at 03:22 Beijing time) the “Long March–2D” (“Changzheng-2D”) rocket-carrier was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu Province, the northwest of China. The rocket orbited the “TanSat” satellite. Using a near-infrared spectrometer, the TanSat satellite will track regional and global concentrations of carbon dioxide down to four parts per million, generating monthly maps of where the densest greenhouse gas levels are distributed worldwide. The satellite will cover every part of the planet at least once every 16 days during its three-year mission. The same rocket also orbited 3 microsatellites: the “Yijian” high resolution earth observing minisatellite, Spark-01 and Spark-02 hyperspectral earth observing minisatellites.
On December 20, 2016 at 11:00 UTC the Epsilon (F2) rocket-carrier was launched from the Uchinoura Space Center situated close to the town of Kimotsuki, in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. The rocket orbited the ERG (Energization and Radiation in Geospace) satellite. It is a research satellite to repeatedly fly through the Van Allen belts high above Earth, helping scientists sort out how chaotic geomagnetic storms form and evolve and potentially endanger astronauts, spacecraft and infrastructure vital to life on the ground.
On December 19, 2016 at 08:55 UTC, two Japanese STARS-C (Space Tethered Autonomous Robotic Satellite) satellites were launched from the board of the International Space Station. The satellites were transported to the space station by the Japanese "Kounotori-6” unmanned supply spacecraft.
On December 18, 2016 at 19:13 UTC the "Atlas V” rocket-carrier was launched from Complex 41 of Cape Canaveral launch site of US Air Force. The launch was performed by United Launch Alliance supported by the 45th Space Wing of US Air Force. The rocket orbited the “EchoStar-19” (Jupiter-2) telecommunication satellite.
On December 15, 2016 at 13:37 UTC, a winged Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket was dropped from the belly of L-1011 “Stargazer” carrier jet off the east coast of Florida and fired into orbit with eight research satellites to fly around the tropics and return measurements of winds at the cores of hurricanes. The modified L-1011 aircraft took off from Cape Canaveral US Air Force Station in Florida about an hour before the appointed drop time. The pilots climbed to 39 000 feet (11 900 meters) and deployed the Pegasus rocket. The air drop occurred around 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the Florida coast at a position northwest of Cape Canaveral.
On December 13, 2016 at 14:18 UTC the 6th Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV "Kounotori-6”) was installed on its berthing port of the "Harmony” module of the International Space Station.