SpaceX is about to break a major rocket-launch record this week

If everything goes well, SpaceX will have sent 32 spacecraft into orbit in 2022 when a Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on Thursday, topping the previous annual record of 31 missions it established in 2021. And SpaceX has a ton more launch dates set: The commercial spaceflight business in California is on target to launch 50 rockets this year, or about one every seven days.

53 Starlink broadband satellites were successfully launched by SpaceX using one of their Falcon 9 rockets on July 17. This was the 13th launch utilizing the same Falcon 9 rocket stage and the 31st successful flight of the year. Also this year, SpaceX has launched the most rockets into orbit. United Launch Alliance, a rival of SpaceX located in the US, has conducted one launch about every 64 days.

Additionally, SpaceX launches more often than government space organizations. China set a lofty aim of 60 missions in 2020 in order to dominate the world in rocket launches. Since then, it has made attempts to accomplish that target, but just 24 have been fulfilled. According to the nation, more than 50 launches are slated for 2022. Through the end of the year, NASA has eight further missions scheduled in addition to other initiatives.

The rocket recycling promise made by SpaceX is being kept. The company’s ability to prepare for launches more quickly and affordably thanks to the reuse of rocket components. Before the next launch, the Falcon 9 rocket’s boosters underwent weeks and months of refurbishment.

But it hasn’t been an easy route to 50 launches by the end of the year. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, stated that the massive explosion on July 11 caused by the Starship booster engines during testing was “not good.”

The operation, which will take place at the Californian Vandenberg Space Force Base on Thursday, will send additional Starlink broadband satellites into orbit. Musk has a bigger goal in mind, even if delivering the most rockets and boosters into orbit is an accomplishment in and of itself. His vision is for mankind to use a Starship rocket to go to Mars and the moon, becoming an extraterrestrial species. According to SpaceX, a crewed voyage to the Red Planet might take place as early as 2029 if all goes according to plan.

However, two new businesses, Relativity Space and Impulse Space, may provide some competition for SpaceX on the path to our neighboring solar system. The two challengers assert that they will get to Mars sooner than SpaceX, thus we could be at the beginning of a new space race. For now, you may watch a YouTube Livestream of Thursday’s record-breaking Falcon 9 launch starting at 1:13 p.m. Eastern, commencing 10 minutes before the launch.

Source: Popular Science

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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