This afternoon, SpaceX successfully launched its 32nd Falcon 9 mission for 2022, officially breaking the company’s record for orbital launches conducted in one year. And since it’s only July, there’s still time for the year to push that record high.
SpaceX has been steadily increasing its launch cadence every year — apart from declining in 2019. For 2021, the company made 31 launches, the most it has ever done, making SpaceX also the most prolific US launch provider to date. right Now.
At the beginning of 2022, SpaceX has set an incredibly ambitious goal to launch 52 missions Throughout the year. The number was revealed by a NASA safety advisory panel in January, with a word of caution that SpaceX must strive to maintain safety amid the increasing pace. “NASA and SpaceX must be vigilant during 2022 so that they are not victims of their success,” Sandy Magnus, a former NASA astronaut and a member of NASA’s Space Safety Advisory Committee, said during the January meeting.
But so far, SpaceX has stayed true to its schedule, with nothing but seamless missions this year. Ironically, SpaceX originally hoped to launch Thursday’s missions but paused the countdown shortly after the abortion began less than a minute before takeoff. It was a rare miscarriage for SpaceX, which didn’t have to cut the countdown short for several months due to a technical issue. The company was able to take off today, however, after a continuous countdown.
A major factor that allows for a busy launch schedule is that, in the majority of SpaceX launches this year, SpaceX is serving as its customer. The company uses these launches to bring the massive Starlink constellation online from space, hoisting constellations of up to 53 satellites simultaneously (although numbers vary from launch to launch). Today’s flight from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California added 46 Starlink satellites. The company currently has Nearly 2,600 Starlink satellites are in orbit.
Even without launching Starlink, SpaceX had plenty of other tasks to keep the company busy. Thanks to its partnership with NASA, SpaceX periodically sends Dragon capsules – carrying goods and people – to the International Space Station. The company also has carrier missions, where many small satellites are grouped together and deployed during a single mission. All of that, plus SpaceX’s commercial customers and Department of Defense launches, create a busy manifesto.
Nearly all of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets launched this year have been vehicles previously launched, as the company continues to perfect landing and reuse of its rockets. SpaceX is also working exclusively on the Block 5 version of Falcon 9, which has been optimized for reuse. Today’s rocket successfully landed on one of SpaceX’s unmanned ships after takeoff, marking a total landing of 125 for the company’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Now that SpaceX has surpassed its own record, the company is still moving full steam ahead. There is another mission scheduled for Sunday, July 24 from Florida, to launch another set of Starlink satellites.
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