The SpaceX company is stepping up the pace in 2023. It has set itself the goal of carrying out a hundred launches. As a result, the delays between two missions are reduced to the point of breaking a 56-year-old record.
By scheduling two launches less than 45 minutes apart, SpaceX nearly broke a record set in 1966 by NASA’s Gemini 11 and Titan 11 missions.
SpaceX is stepping up the pace
SpaceX has stepped up the pace of its launches from 31 missions in 2021 to more than 60 missions last year. A sustained pace that the company intends to maintain this year. Knowing that 52 rockets have already been shipped between January and July, the previous record of 2022 should not last very long. Elon Musk has also indicated that SpaceX is aiming for 100 flights in 2023, or about two per week.
Anyway, the company also had the opportunity at the end of July to break the record for the shortest time between two launches, which is still 1 hour and 37 minutes.
A Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a batch of satellites for the Starlink constellation, was scheduled to lift off at 10:05 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40). Another launch was scheduled minutes later from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Unfortunately, the Falcon Heavy rocket was suspended 65 seconds before launch. All the conditions for success seemed met, but SpaceX has, it seems, been confronted “violation of termination criteria“.
A giant satellite in orbit
Finally, after two cancellations, the Falcon Heavy rocket took to the skies on Saturday, July 29 at 5:04 a.m. KST. It was the 7e mission for this rocket which is the most powerful in the SpaceX catalog, at least until the arrival of the Super Heavy launcher, a prototype of which took off on April 20 from the StarBase located in Texas.
The main mission of the Falcon Heavy was to put into orbit the largest communications satellite ever built. Weighing approximately 9 tonnes, Jupiter 3 was developed by Maxar Technologies on behalf of EchoStar. In addition to boosting Internet capabilities in North and South America, Jupiter 3 also supports in-flight Wi-Fi, maritime connections, and more.
In any case, SpaceX is doing everything it can to achieve 100 launches this year and thus outpace its competitors, in particular the ESA, which is still awaiting the arrival of Ariane 6.