SpaceX launched its 60th rocket of 2022, accomplishing a goal it set for itself earlier this year.
- The year 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of SpaceX—and it made an ambitious announcement in March when Elon Musk declared his intention of launching 60 missions using its reusable Falcon boosters before the end of the year.
- The company hit its goal on Wednesday morning, December 28, when a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and successfully deployed 54 Starlink satellites in orbit around the Earth.
- “They did it!” tweeted SpaceX owner Elon Musk.
- This success beats SpaceX’s previous record of 31 successful launches in 2021.
Why it’s News
The successful launch this morning marks another record for the leading innovator in space technology and rockery in the world. Earlier this month, the company previously celebrated launching three separate missions within 36 hours between December 16 and 17.
“Congrats to SpaceX Team on three perfect orbital launches within 36 hours,” tweeted Musk.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy reusable boosters have become one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to deploy materials into Earth’s orbit, being launched almost weekly for satellite deployments and deployments to the International Space Station.
Backing Up a Bit
This particular Falcon 9 booster has been launched 11 times since it was built—and this marks the sixth time it has been used to launch Starlink satellites into low orbit.
“This launch marked the first of Starlink’s upgraded network. Under our new license, we are now able to deploy satellites to new orbits that will add even more capacity to the network. Ultimately, this enables us to add more customers and provide faster service—particularly in areas that are currently over-subscribed,” says SpaceX.
Over 3,300 Starlink satellites have been deployed since May 23, 2019, and the service has more than 1 million subscribers as of December 2022. The service has already been deployed for disaster relief in Florida, Ukraine, and Iran. The total number of satellites is expected to expand as high as 12,000 to 42,000.
SpaceX is also expected to launch its Starship heavy-lifting vehicle within the next few months, which will eclipse NASA’s Space Launch System as the most powerful rocket ever launched and play a role in the upcoming Artemis moon-landing missions.