SpaceX aims to complete a total of 60 missions in 2022, the most annual rocket launches to date! The record-breaking launch manifest is double the amount of last year's missions. SpaceX launched 31 Falcon 9 missions in 2021. "SpaceX Falcon 🚀 team is making excellent progress – aiming for 60 launches this year!" said SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
To complete all 60 missions, the company could conduct rocket flights at an average rate of one per week. SpaceX can increase the pace of launches because it is capable of reusing Falcon 9’s first-stage boosters. The fleet of previously-flown rockets enable the company to reduce the cost of spaceflight which results in more frequent launches. Three particular Falcon 9 boosters have been reused 11 times each, which is unprecedented in the aerospace industry. To date, SpaceX has performed 149 missions, landed a total of 111 rockets and reused boosters in its fleet 88 times.
Most of SpaceX’s planned rocket flights for 2022 are expected to be internal missions dedicated to building the Starlink broadband satellite constellation. SpaceX plans to rapidly expand Starlink internet service coverage this year. Musk said that the Starlink team is making 'excellent progress' too, "...Expecting over 4,200 Starlink satellites in operation within 18 months, which is ~2/3 of all active satellites of Earth," he announced via Twitter on March 28. The company has launched a total of 2,235 satellites of which 2,110 remain in orbit, according to data by Astronomer Jonathan McDowell. SpaceX already provides internet service to over 250,000 users across 30 countries.
Starlink 🛰 team too! Expecting over 4200 Starlink satellites in operation within 18 months, which is ~2/3 of all active satellites of Earth.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 28, 2022
The next launch in SpaceX's manifest is the Transporter-4 mission scheduled for April 1st. It will launch 40 spacecraft owned by multiple companies atop Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program that provides cost-effective flights by sharing payload fairing space. Less than a week later, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the next crewed flight on April 6th. The Axiom AX-1 mission will be the first all-private mission to the International Space Station (ISS). A Falcon 9 will launch an international crew of three civilians who purchased the spaceflight: Larry Conor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe. They will launch aboard Crew Dragon led by former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX