SpaceX took a moment to reflect on its history-making 2022 in the dying moments of the year.
Elon Musk’s company plans to launch 61 orbital missions in 2022, nearly doubling its previous single-year record of 31, which was set in 2021. The new mark represents a surprising cadence, as SpaceX recognized in a few celebratory tweets last week.
“On average, SpaceX launches every 6 days from one of our three sites, with 92% of missions completed with flight-proven first stage rocket boosters, and the Falcon 9 now has the most launches of a vehicle type in a single year. holds the world record for. ,” the company Tweeted on 30 December (opens in new tab)Shortly after the Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the EROS C-3 Israeli Earth-imaging satellite on SpaceX’s final mission of 2022.
“Most importantly, SpaceX has successfully delivered our customers’ payloads into orbit, deployed additional Starlink satellites that add more capacity to our network, and flown critical cargo and astronauts to the @space_station and safely returned them.” returned home. [to] Earth,” SpaceX added one more tweet (opens in new tab) that day.
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On average, SpaceX launches every 6 days from one of our three sites, with 92% of missions accomplished with flight-proven first-stage rocket boosters, and the Falcon 9 now has the most launches of a vehicle type in a single year. Launch has a world record.December 30, 2022
Starlink is SpaceX’s vast constellation of Internet satellites, serving customers around the world. As noted by Ars Technica (opens in new tab)Of SpaceX’s 61 launches in 2022, 34 were devoted primarily to building the Starlink megaconstellation, which includes more than 3,300 operational satellites. (opens in new tab) (and the count is on).
The other 27 missions served a variety of customers, including NASA. SpaceX launched four missions to the International Space Station for the agency last year, two astronaut flights and two robotic cargo missions. All four used the company’s Dragon capsule and workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.
The Falcon 9 flew all but one of SpaceX’s orbital missions last year. The only exception was USSF-44, a November 1 flight for the US Space Force that used the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. Prior to USSF-44, a Falcon Heavy had not lifted off since June 2019.
As impressive as 61 launches in one year is, the new record may not last long. Musk said in August (opens in new tab) That SpaceX is “aiming for up to 100 flights” in 2023. That would be about two orbital missions per week.
SpaceX already has one flight in the books this year: A Falcon 9 on Tuesday (Jan. 3) flew 114 small satellites on a rideshare mission called Transporter-6. Transporter-6 was the company’s 200th successful orbital flight overall, and marked the 15th mission for that special Falcon 9 first stage, which just last month set SpaceX’s record for reusability.
Mike Wall is the author of “out there (opens in new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaelwall (opens in new tab), Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) Or Facebook (opens in new tab),