SpaceX, an American space company led by Elon Musk, has set a record of 60 rocket launches per year.
SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket loaded with 54 Starlinks, a low-orbit Internet satellite, from Launch Pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Base in Florida at 4:34 am (6:34 pm Korean time) on the 28th. With this, SpaceX succeeded in launching its 60th rocket this year. This is more than double the number of launches last year, 31. That’s an average of once every six days. 100% success rate, not a single failure.
SpaceX’s launches this year exceed one-third of the world’s rocket launches (174). Based on the number of successes, it is the same as China (60 times).
Musk announced on Twitter last September that he was aiming to increase the number of space rocket launches to 100 next year.
First launch of the 2nd generation Starlink satellite… 1 million subscribers
Since the first successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket in June 2010, SpaceX has attempted a total of 196 launches so far, and all but two have been successful.
In addition, during this period, 169 attempts were made to retrieve the rocket, and 158 successful attempts were made. Over the past 13 years, the rocket launch success rate is 99% and the rocket recovery success rate is 94%.
Starlink, launched by SpaceX on the same day, includes a second-generation satellite for the first time. The second-generation Starlink satellite, which weighs 1130 kg and is four times the size of the first-generation satellite, can be directly connected to mobile phones without going through a ground base station.
Previously, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized SpaceX to launch 7,500 second-generation satellites.
SpaceX has launched 3666 Starlinks so far. Of these, 3300 are operating in orbit. SpaceX announced on Twitter on the 20th that the current number of Starlink users has exceeded 1 million.
56 out of 60 reusable rockets… Highest record is 15 times
What is noteworthy is that all but 4 of the 60 launches this year used reusable rockets. The use of reusable rockets is 93%. Even on a cumulative basis, 134 rounds, or about 70% of the 196 rounds, were made with reusable rockets.
SpaceX has the world’s best competitiveness in the technology of recovering and reusing rockets. Since the first stage propellant of a rocket accounts for 60% of the total cost, the launch cost can be greatly reduced if the rocket is recovered and reused.
Currently, 32 first-stage propellants have successfully recovered and reused rockets, and the highest reuse record is 15 times. The first-stage propellant B1058, which deployed the Starlink satellite in low Earth orbit on the 17th, is the protagonist of the record. Since its first launch in May 2020, the rocket has flown into space on average once every two months over the past two years and six months.
The 60th rocket (B1062) launched on the 28th this year is the 11th mission. As a result, 5 of the Falcon 9 rockets were used more than 11 times, including this one. The rocket was also able to return to the Atlantic ocean barge 8 minutes and 40 seconds after launch and prepare for its 12th mission.
SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying an Israeli military earth observation satellite from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on the 30th as the last schedule of this year. If successful, the number of rocket launches by SpaceX in 2022 will end at 61.
Senior Reporter Kwak Nopil email@example.com