Space company SpaceX has been at the forefront of rocket launches over the past several years, vaulting the company and the space industry to new heights.
Earlier this year, NASA highlighted an ambitious launch schedule from SpaceX. The guidance may have been conservative.
SpaceX set a company record with 31 launches in 2021.
NASA’s Aerospace Advisory Panel revealed in January that SpaceX was targeting 52 launches in 2022 at an average pace of one per week.
“There’s an ambitious 52-launch manifest for SpaceX over the course of the year,” NASA Advisory Panel member Sandy Magnus said.
Launch partners for SpaceX in 2022 include NASA, international customers, corporations and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Many of the planned launches in 2022 will be for SpaceX as it works to launch its internet access via Starlink satellites.
With 52 launches, SpaceX would be the second rocket family in history to hit 50 launches in a year and the first to accomplish the feat since the 1980s.
The SpaceX website shows 12 launches to date in 2022 with several planned for April.
On Monday, Tesla Inc. and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared a SpaceX post that highlighted an upcoming Transporter-4 rideshare mission.
Musk later tweeted about the 2022 goals of the company.
“SpaceX Falcon team is making excellent progress—aiming for 60 launches this year!” Musk tweeted.
The new comment from the SpaceX CEO highlights that SpaceX could have been conservative with its earlier estimate or the launches to date in 2022 have the company ahead of plans.
Dogecoin co-creator Billy Markus asked Musk when the company will reach 69 launches in a year, hitting on a popular meme-able number.
“Haha, that’s next year,” Musk responded to Markus. “Maybe this year isn’t out of the question…”
The comments from Musk highlight how far ahead SpaceX is of its rivals and how quickly the company is changing the space launches sector, which could also continue to cut dependence on Russia to send astronauts to space and the International Space Station.
SpaceX originally planned to have 48 launches in 2021. Production issues led to delays for Starlink launches and the company only launched three times over a time period from July to Nov. 11, 2021. The company ultimately fell short of its 2021 goal.
By Chris Katje
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