NASA's NPP climate and weather satellite roars into space on Oct. 28, 2011.
The Indian Space Research Organiztion launches a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the new GSAT-12 communications satellite on July 15, 2011 in a mission from the Satish Space Centre at Sriharikota Island off India's southeastern coast.
Astronaut Nicole Stott caught Juno's launch on August 5, 2011. She tweeted the picture with this comment: "Our view of Juno launch from Cocoa Beach. Next stop Jupiter! Beautiful!"
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during the system's first operational test at 1:56 a.m. EDT Oct. 5, 2011, at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was conducted by the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency with the support of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. During the test the THAAD system engaged and simultaneously intercepted two ballistic missile targets.
Ryan Graff took this photo of space shuttle Atlantis' final launch from the window of a Southwest Airlines plane. Photo was posted on Twitter by Ryan Graff's brother, Chad Graff @ChadGraff.
The Air Force's second X-37B space plane soars toward space atop an Atlas 5 rocket after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 5, 2011.
Japan's Kounotori 2 unmanned cargo spacecraft launches toward the International Space Station Jan. 22, 2010.
ESA’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle, was launched today evening from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, in French Guiana, at 22:50:55 CET by an Ariane 5 to deliver critical supplies and reboost the International Space Station
The exhaust plume of space shuttle Discovery casts a long shadow after the shuttle's final launch on Feb. 24, 2011 to kick off NASA's STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.
An Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA’s Glory spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 576-E here at 2:09 a.m. (PST) March 4, 2011.
A Russian Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, named for famed cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - the first human in space - launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 4, 2011 at 6:18 p.m. EDT.
Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16 on its final flight — STS-134.
Airline passenger Stefanie Gordon used an iPhone to snap this photo of the space shuttle Endeavour streaking toward space on May 16. Gordon was flying from New York to Palm Beach, Fla., aboard a Delta jet.
The Soyuz carrying NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa lifts off at 4:12 p.m. EDT (2012 GMT) on June 7, 2011.
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-2 at 7:20 a.m. PDT, June 10, 2011, with the Aquarius/SAC-D observatory for NASA and the Space Agency of Argentina.
Lift-off of the Minotaur I rocket carrying the new ORS-1 satellite from the MARS 0B pad at Wallops Island, Va., on June 29, 2011.
Space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on the final shuttle mission.
The StratoShuttle-1 student balloon, an educational project by the Quest for Stars group, captured NASA's shuttle Altantis soaring into orbit as seen from 89,000 feet on July 8, 2011. Tweeted @questforstars: "Atlantis, GO at Throttle up!"
A Soyuz rocket launched at 8:27 a.m. local time on July 13, 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to carry six new Globalstar mobile communucations satellites into orbit.
A Russian Proton rocket launches two new satellites, the Kazaksat 2 and SES 3 satellites into space for commercial customers on July 15, 2011, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at 2:41 a.m. EDT on July 16, 2011, with the Air Force's Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-2 payload. This launch marks the 50th successful GPS launch on a Delta vehicle.
Team Vandenberg launched a Minotaur 4 from Space Launch Complex-8 here at 7:45 a.m. Aug. 11, 2011.
A Russian Soyuz rocket launches the unmanned Progress 44 cargo ship from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Aug. 24, 2011, to deliver fresh supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket and spacecraft crashed in eastern Russian just over five minutes after liftoff.
Media representatives at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida photograph the launch of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL). Liftoff was at 9:08:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2011.
On 21 September 2011 an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites, Arabsat-5C and SES-2, into their planned transfer orbits.
China's first space laboratory module, Tiangong 1 (Chinese for "Heavenly Palace") blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Sept. 29, 2011. The module will fly a 2-year mission for docking tests.
Soyuz 2-1b rocket lifts off on Sunday, October 2, 2011, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during the system's first operational test at 1:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time Oct. 5 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was conducted by the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency with the support of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. During the test the THAAD system engaged and simultaneously intercepted two ballistic missile targets.
Soyuz clears the tower for the first time from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana carrying the first two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites, on October 21, 2011.
A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress 45 cargo ship lifts off from a pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 30, 2011.
Launch of Shenzhou 8 on October 31, 2011, was successful. According to the orbit calculation, the Shenzhou 8 spaceship has entered its operating orbit with a perigee height of 200 km and apogee height of 329 km. The obliquity of the orbit is 42 degrees, and the orbiting cycle is 5379 seconds.
The Proton rocket carrying three Glonass navigation satellites launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 4, 2011.
A Zenit rocket launches into space carrying Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft toward Mars on a mission to collect samples of the Martian moon Phobos. Liftoff occured on Nov. 9, 2011, Local Time from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (Nov. 8 EST).
Despite heavy snowfall, the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft carrying three new space station crewmembers to the orbiting outpost successfully launched on Nov. 13, 2011, at 11:14 p.m. EST from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Curiosity, the new Mars Science Laboratory, and its Atlas 5 rocket pierce the clouds as they rise into the Florida sky on Nov. 26, 2011.
The Chinese Long March 3A rocket lifted off at 5:07 a.m. Beijing time on Dec. 2, 2011.
The Russian Proton rocket blasted off on Dec. 11, 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Russian TMA-03M Soyuz spacecraft launches Dec. 21 from Kazakhstan, carrying three new crewmembers to the International Space Station.