SpaceX's 2022 launch manifest has 52 missions –the most planned annual launches to date! SpaceX completed 26 launches in 2020, and a record-breaking 31 missions in 2021. To achieve launching all 52 launches this year, the company could conduct rocket flights at an average rate of one per week. The information was revealed during a virtual meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). “NASA and SpaceX will have to be watchful during 2022 that they’re not victims of their success. There’s an ambitious 52-launch manifest for SpaceX over the course of the year. And that’s an incredible pace,” said former NASA astronaut and ASAP member Sandy Magnus.
ASAP: "Both NASA and SpaceX will have to ensure the appropriate attention and priority are focused on NASA missions, and the right resources are brought to bear to maintain that pace at a safe measure."— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) January 27, 2022
ASAP representatives said they support SpaceX’s ambitious 2022 launch manifest but warned –“Both NASA and SpaceX will have to ensure the appropriate attention and priority are focused on NASA missions, and the right resources are brought to bear to maintain that pace at a safe measure,” they said. Currently, SpaceX is the only American company capable of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Crew Dragon. NASA is relying on SpaceX to maintain their work at the ISS Laboratory. SpaceX returned human spaceflight capabilities to NASA in 2020, it has performed four NASA crew missions to ISS and one private all-civilian mission to Earth’s orbit. This year the company plans to perform more crewed spaceflights for NASA and private companies.
SpaceX is able to steadily increase the pace of launches because it is capable of reusing Falcon 9’s first-stage boosters, which are also modified to create the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. The fleet of previously-flown rockets enable the company to reduce the cost of spaceflight which results in more frequent launches. Most of SpaceX’s planned rocket flights for 2022 are expected to be internal missions dedicated to building the Starlink satellite constellation. This year SpaceX plans to speed up Starlink internet coverage which will require over a dozen Starlink launches. The company initiated the new year strong; It already launched a pair of Starlink satellite missions, a SmallSat Rideshare Program launch, and it plans to conduct two more back-to-back missions over the weekend before January comes to an end. SpaceX aims to launch an Italian COSMO-SkyMed Satellite on January 26 and another Starlink mission on January 30. UPDATE: "Due to weather in Florida affecting pre-launch operations, now targeting Sunday, January 30 at 6:11 p.m. EST for launch of COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 from SLC-40. Falcon 9 launch of Starlink from LC-39A shifting to Monday, January 31, and teams are also continuing to work toward launch of NROL-87 from California on Wednesday, February 2," SpaceX announced on January 29.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX