Elon Musk’s SpaceX smashes annual orbital rocket launches

Elon Musk’s SpaceX smashes annual orbital rocket launches

Written by Alison Lurie, In Tech, Published On
December 31, 2023

With 96 successful operations this year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has continued its dominance of the US satellite industry and set a new record for orbital rocket launches in 2023.

Using 91 launches with the Falcon 9 and an extra 5 using the Falcon Heavy, the California-based business significantly surpassed its previous record of 61 launches in 2022.

At 1:07 am GMT on Thursday, SpaceX started to break records by launching the Falcon Heavy from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the US military’s X-37B spaceplane. The launch of the Falcon 9, which carried 23 Starlink broadband satellites, occurred a little after three hours. Not only did that break the previous record held by SpaceX, but it was also the shortest interval between orbital launches in Florida since the 1966 NASA Gemini 11 mission.

Have a look at what the X user states: 

According to Jon Edwards, VP of Falcon launch vehicles at SpaceX, Mr. Musk first proposed 100 missions as a “thought experiment,” and the current tally of 96 launches is slightly lower than that. “Intended to unlock our thinking as to how we might accelerate Falcon across all levels of production and launch,” Mr Musk wrote on X. Here we are, only a few years down the road. Working with the greatest team in the world fills me with immense pride, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish next year.

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Regarding SpaceX’s success, Mr. Musk has been mum so far. With a constellation of satellites orbiting the Earth at altitudes ranging from 200 km to 2,000 km, SpaceX’s Starlink offers internet access to users in low-Earth orbit. Let us put the International Space Station at 408 kilometres and the Hubble Space Telescope at 547 kilometres into context.

The service offers broadband internet with low latency and high speed. Orders are fulfilled in the order they are received within each coverage region. When compared to traditional internet providers, satellite internet is a good alternative. For example, a device needs to be close to a cell tower in order to use 5G or any broadband connection to access the internet.

A user might expect a better and faster connection the closer they are to the cell tower. The internet can be accessible from the most inaccessible locations with the help of a satellite. Currently, there are over 5,200 active satellites that make up the Starlink mega constellation. The first deployment target is 12,000 satellites, with an eventual goal of 42,000.

New research from Verified Market Research indicates that the worldwide market for low-Earth orbit satellites would expand at a CAGR of approximately 17% between 2017 and 2030, eventually surpassing $34 billion. Mr. Musk’s space exploration vehicle is called SpaceX as well. Colonizing Mars is one of the long-term objectives of the corporation. Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, and Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, are competitors in the space industry.

Mr. Bezos’s other company, Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has already begun competing with SpaceX, launching its first satellites in October. Hectocorns are start-ups with a valuation of $100 billion or more; SpaceX is one of three such companies. Shein, an e-commerce site for Chinese clothing, and ByteDance, the company behind the viral video app TikTok, are the other two.

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