Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: Russia has re-emerged as the world’s top space nation, beating the U.S. for the number of space launches this year.

Russia accounted for 21 out of 57 rocket launches during January-October 2008, said the country’s space agency Roskosmos on Monday.

The number does not include five launches of Russian-Ukrainian Zenith-3SL rockets under the Sea Launch programme.

The U.S. came second with 14 launches, including one failed launch. China placed third with seven launches, followed by Europe’s Arianspace with five launches and India with three rocket launches.