Each line in each of the launch list files corresponds to a rocket launch.
The file lvtemplate gives the column definitions of the file in the same
format as for the other files provided.
The lists have the following fields:
- Launch_Tag: an identifier for the launch. For orbital launches, this is the international (COSPAR)
designation of the launch. For other launches, the designation is assigned by me using a pseudo-COSPAR format
of the form yyyy-Xnnn, where yyyy is the year of launch, X is a letter, and nnn is an integer. The
designations are explained des.html.
- Launch_JD: the Julian Date (UTC) of launch (defined as first motion, so may differ by a few seconds
from some sources which use rocket ignition)
- Launch_Date, the UTC Gregorian calendar date of launch
- LV_Type, name of the type of rocket used, as given in the
LV table, see lv.html
- LV_Variant - see discussion in lv.html
- Flight_ID: an identifier for the particular launch, for example the serial number of the launch vehicle
or the mission number or name assigned by the launch agency.
- Flight - another identifer for the launch, usually the name of the payload
- Mission - another, alternate identifier. I haven't been consistent about which names go in Flight and which in Mission.
- Platform, Launch_Site and Launch_Pad: where the rocket was launched from. Usually Platform is blank and
the launch site (see the Sites file) tells you where the rocket went up from, and the Pad gives you the specific location
within the launch site. Platform is used for mobile sites such as submarines or planes.
- Apogee - the highest altitude actually reached, in km. This field may be omitted for orbital launches.
In many cases for non-orbital launches the value is a guess based on known capabilities of the launch vehicle, so only values with no
appended question-mark should be taken as accurate.
- Range - the range in km measured along the curved surface of the Earth between launch site and impact site, for
a suborbital launch. I have only recently added this field and very few entries are filled in.
- Destination - the location of landing/impact of a suborbital flight. At present the values in this
field are mnemonics that may or may not be obvious to the reader - sorry I don't have a table of them
at this stage. This is another recently added field and regarded as incompletely supported. Values in parentheses
represent intended targets that were not reached due to a failure.
- Launch Agency: Organization responsible for launch services (often different from the organization
owning the payload). See the Orgs file described in orgs.html.
- Launch_Code Category/Status field. The first letter is the category - O for orbital, M for military missile, T for test rocket,
A for atmospheric rocket, S for suborbital rocket other than missile, D for deep space mission. Also used occasionally are
H (high altitude sounding rocket), R (reentry test), X (launch from world other than Earth), and Y (suborbital spaceplane with human crew).
This field should be reliable for categories O and D, but the remaining letters are not always assigned fully consistently.
It is mainly intended to separate out orbital and non-orbital launches.
The second letter
is S, F or U for Success, Fail or Unknown. Success implies propulsive success only, even if no data was returned
from the payload. Also used is E, for pad explosion (no launch occurred, but included in the lists for completeness).
For orbital launches partial success/failure values are sometimes given, e.g. OS80 or OF40. The values between 00 and 99
indicate a percentage success to be used in statistical assessments of launch vehicle reliability as described in
- Group: For suborbital science missions, indicates the leading organizations responsible for the science payload.
Up to 3 are given separated by slashes. Following the last slash is a comma-separated list of names
of the principal investigators.
For orbital missions this field is normally blank, but is sometimes used to record an additional flight ID.
- Category: Type of flight. Not necessarily a rigorous set of designations; Sat indicates an orbital launch.
Mostly intended for the suborbital science flights where the science discipline is indicated.
- Citation 1 : this citation is the primary reference for the existence of the launch and for the
given launch time. See the Refs file (documentation at refs.html), but I apologize that the Refs file is incomplete.
"Wire" means that the time was taken from wire service stories, internet news sites or live launch broadcasts.
I've been more careful with recording a specific source where the launch time was hard to find.
- Citation 2: Additional citation of interest, for example reference for which launch pad was used, etc.
- Notes: A field for additional notes. Right now I have rarely used this.