SpaceX could launch up to 100 missions in 2023

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SpaceX aims to complete 100 launch missions by 2023, company CEO Elon Musk announced on Tweeter. SpaceX has already set a previous record in 2022 and will continue to set records in the future. SpaceX performed between 15 and 20 launches per year between 2017 and 2019. As Starlink enters the construction phase, the number of launches between 2019 and 2020 suddenly doubled at one point.

According to Space.com, many of the missions coming in 2023 could include satellite batches for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation. 25 of SpaceX’s 39 launches this year have been dedicated Starlink flights, which release about 50 satellites into orbit at a time. All Starlink missions have launched atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, but that could change next year.

Yes. Aim for up to 100 flights next year.

Elon Musk

© Space X

SpaceX has launched 39 orbital missions so far in 2022, or about one every six days. In the first half of 2021, Musk’s company launched a total of 20 satellites, a 50% increase over the launch rate for all of 2020. In the second half, the company experienced two blank periods, so SpaceX was launched 11 more times. in the second half of the year. The company carried out six launches in the four weeks to the end of the year, proving capable of 78 launches per year.

So far, 2022 has maintained the launch pace of the last weeks of 2021, if not increased it. In the first half of this year, SpaceX completed 27 successful Falcon 9 launch missions. That’s nearly half the time needed to break its previous record of 31 launches in 2021. If that pace continues, the company will reach many new records this year.

In the second half of this year, the company launched six rockets in July and August. With this, it maintains a pace of 72 launches per year. However, this was considered a fluke. But if the company follows up with six more launches in September, that could be considered the new normal for Falcon 9 launch cadence. To hit 100 Falcon launches by 2023, SpaceX would need to find a way to average eight launches per month. This is a 33% increase from its current rate.

NASA has tasked SpaceX with managing five more missions to send its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of the decade. The space agency has asked the aerospace manufacturing company run by tycoon Elon Musk to handle five new launches by putting together a $1.4 billion contract.

As Reuters reports, NASA has reached this new agreement with the billionaire firm which also owns Tesla Motors and Neuralink for his company to manage five more trips to the International Space Station, bringing the total number of missions contracted to SpaceX for its Crew. Dragon. astronaut capsule at 14.

The latest contract extension between SpaceX and NASA comes in response to an effort by the space agency to ensure a steady record of astronaut flights to the ISS, especially now that Boeing – the other aerospace manufacturing company with which she has a similar transport agreement – ​​suffered complications. to finalize the relaunch of its Starliner space capsule.

“NASA is authorized to maintain an uninterrupted U.S. capability for human access to the space station through 2030 with two unique commercial crew industry partners,” NASA said in its statement.

SpaceX and Boeing, the two partners on commercial crew issues, won multimillion-dollar contracts with NASA in 2014 to develop, test and routinely fly space capsule systems to send astronauts to the ISS and return, the orbiting research laboratory that has hosted international crews of astronauts. for more than two decades.

Since achieving certification in 2020, SpaceX has successfully used its reusable Crew Dragon capsule on some five crewed missions to the International Space Station, making it the first private company to send humans into Earth orbit and relaunch NASA’s manned spaceflight program which had remained on hiatus. since the withdrawal of the US shuttle program in 2011.

On the other hand, Boeing and its CST-100 Starliner capsule did not suffer the same fate as they suffered a delayed takeoff due to software problems and valve malfunctions. The company’s first manned flight has been postponed until February 2023 and is seeking to successfully complete a final test mission before NASA can certify the spacecraft is suitable for routine astronaut flights.

NASA had ordered six manned missions from each company, but ordered three more from SpaceX in early 2022 due to technical issues with Boeing’s capsule.

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