SpaceX propelled 2 Falcon 9 rockets with little fanfare. On Friday, the first booster boosted and elated nearly 3 tons of supplies, including 2 new NASA space suits, to the International Space Station. On Sunday, the 2nd mission lifted off to boost 53 more satellites. This brings the total on-orbit number of Internet spacecraft to over 2,500.
Because Falcon 9 takeoffs are so common, it received relatively little attention in the space community. SpaceX has already launched 31 rockets this year. All were successful. This number matches the Falcon 9 boosters that were launched in 2021, which was a record for SpaceX.
With a variety of payloads, including its Starlink satellites, personnel, cargo flights for NASA, and commercial satellites, SpaceX is elevating its payloads this year. As of Monday, the Falcon 9 rocket has delivered roughly 300,000 kilos to Low-Earth orbit. Since January, it has been launched every 6.4 days on average. More than any other nation or business on the earth, this. Starlink will launch two additional launches this week.
SpaceX keeps pushing the limits of reuse. On its thirteenth mission in the previous month, SpaceX used three different first-stage centers. SpaceX representatives assert that they have enough information on reusing these first-stage centers to launch several further missions.
This is the flight rate of United Launch Alliance, which is the main competitor of US-based SpaceX. ULA launched 31 rockets between 19 March 2017 and the present, counting both its Atlas and Delta fleets. This is a frequency of 1 launch every 64th day.
To rival American companies, SpaceX launched 10 rockets per hour. Both companies have a 100 percent success rate throughout this period.
In the next few years, this competition will be more miscellaneous in its environment. ULA will be launching its Vulcan heavy lift rocket soon. This is likely to happen in the 1st half of 2023. The company’s launch schedule should improve with a long launch manifest that includes institutional customers as well as Project Kuiper of Amazon. As ULA expands its operations and Vulcan production capabilities, this will likely happen sometime in the middle of the 2020s.
SpaceX is also working on the next-gen Starship rocket. In the next 6 months, this heavy-lift rocket will likely begin a series of test flights from South Texas. SpaceX is also ramping up Florida operations for Starship and its Super Heavy booster. Trevor Mahlmann, a photographer used a remote camera to capture the zoomable panorama of NASA’s launch tower for Friday’s cargo launch, captured it during remote camera setup.
However, SpaceX has to announce how it will split Starship launch activities among Texas, Florida, and South Texas. It is increasingly possible that SpaceX will fly Starship test flights from Texas, and then transfer to Florida only after it is satisfied with the vehicle’s performance. This is coherent bearing in mind the high-value resources of NASA and the Department of Defense in addition to other launch companies in Florida.