This Friday, July 22, SpaceX launched its 31st rocket of the year, beating its previous record of thirty launches recorded last year. This pace should continue over the next few months, as the company prepares for the first orbital flight of its new workhorse.
New record for launches in one year
SpaceX continues its momentum with two new successful launches over the weekend. A first Falcon 9 rocket took off this Friday, July 22 from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, to deliver forty-six new satellites Starlink in orbit.
Note that this launch was originally supposed to be operated the day before, but the company aborted the attempt at T-46 seconds. No reason was given for this cancellation. Still, this will have put an end to a remarkable sequence of sixty-two consecutive launches without interruption during the final count. The last time was in December 2020.
The company then continued with the launch of a second rocket this Sunday, July 24 to deliver fifty-three other satellites to expand its constellation, this time from Cape Canaveral (Florida).
The first two stages of these rockets returned to land successfully about 8.5 minutes after launch. These were the 32nd and 33rd SpaceX launches in 2022, which is a record for the company in one year. And we are only in July. Last year, SpaceX successfully launched 31 rockets throughout the year. This year, the Falcon 9 rocket launched every 6.4 days, delivering more than three hundred tons of supplies to low Earth orbit. That’s considerably more than all the other countries and companies in the world combined.
Starlink already has more than 2,800 active Starlink machines, as the company seeks to expand its satellite internet service. As a reminder, the company has regulatory approval to send 12,000 of these structures in low Earth orbit.
First orbital flight for the Starship
SpaceX is also making progress on its Starship project from South Texas. Its fully reusable spacecraft should be able to make its first orbital flight in the coming weeks. For this occasion, the company has also submitted new flight plans. If all goes as planned, the Super Heavy booster will be able to either make a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico, or make a full return with a capture and recovery attempt at the launch site.
The Starship will continue to an altitude of 250 km, before making a controlled landing in the Pacific.