Musk hails SpaceX’s 62nd launch, plans to increase schedule
SpaceX broke records Monday night as its 62nd mission this year launched 21 Starlink internet satellites into orbit. Earlier Monday, Elon Musk’s rocket company also brought back a crew from the International Space Station after a multi-month stay in orbit. Completed missions mark further progress in reusable spacecraft as SpaceX works to eventually colonize Mars.
SpaceX delivered 21 Starlink satellites into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket that launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 10:47 p.m. ET Monday. The launch was SpaceX’s 62nd of the year, surpassing the previous record set in 2022.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned, as planned, to the unmanned ship about 9 minutes after liftoff. The Falcon 9 upper stage deployed the satellites into low Earth orbit about an hour after liftoff.
This mission marks the tenth launch and landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, according to the SpaceX website.
Earlier today, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft brought the four Crew-6 astronauts home from their site on the International Space Station. The crew – made up of two NASA astronauts, an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates and a cosmonaut from Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos – conducted spacewalks, science activities and maintenance during the 186 days in orbit following their launch in March.
SpaceX’s launch schedule is increasing
“Great job by the SpaceX team in successfully launching 61 Flacon rocket missions this year!” SpaceX and Tesla (TSLA) Owner Posted by Elon Musk on his X platform, formerly Twitter, on September 2 ahead of the Starlink mission.
SpaceX has delivered nearly 80% of Earth’s total payload mass to orbit this year, according to Musk. China supplied about 10%, the executive said, while the rest of the world made up the remaining 10%.
Musk said SpaceX hopes to achieve 10 Falcon flights per month by the end of the year and improve to 12 per month in 2024.
SpaceX has completed a total of 261 launches, 223 landings, and 195 total re-flights, according to the company’s website.
The next SpaceX Starlink launch is scheduled for Friday, September 8, with a planned liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, according to space flight tracker Space Coast Launches. SpaceX’s next collaboration with NASA won’t happen until at least February 2024, according to the NASA website. For this mission, SpaceX will fly Crew-8 astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA says the hardware is scheduled to be assigned to the Dragon and Falcon rockets in the coming months.
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