Private space company SpaceX has ambitious plans for 2022. After a record-setting 2021 year for launches, here’s how many launches SpaceX is planning for in 2022.
What Happened: SpaceX, the space company founded and led by Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk, is targeting an average of one launch per week in 2022.
NASA’s Aerospace Advisory Panel revealed that SpaceX could have 52 launches in 2022.
“There’s an ambitious 52-launch manifest for SpaceX over the course of the year,” NASA Advisory Panel member Sandy Magnus said. “And that’s an incredible pace.”
SpaceX hit a company record 31 launches in 2021. Musk said in October 2020 that SpaceX was planning to hit 48 launches in 2021, something the company fell short of.
SpaceX launched 20 Falcon 9 rockets in the first six months of 2021, putting it on pace for 40 annual launches. Of the 20 launches, 13 were Starlink missions and seven were commercial.
Production issues eventually led to delays for Starlink launches. SpaceX launched only three times from July to Nov. 11, 2021.
The last two months of 2021 saw heavy launch volume for SpaceX with eight Falcon 9 rocket launches in six weeks.
Why It’s Important: SpaceX is a partner with NASA on several missions and could be a key to the continued growth of the space sector. SpaceX also counts the Department of Defense, international customers and corporations as customers.
Many of the planned launches in 2022 will be for SpaceX as it works to launch its internet access via Starlink satellites.
The aggressive launch schedule from SpaceX could help the company ramp up its Starlink network, a unit of the company investors are hoping will be spun off someday.
SpaceX is expected to launch an Earth observation radar satellite for the Italian Space Agency on Jan. 28, 2022, and a Falcon 9 on Jan. 30, 2022, with 49 Starlink satellites.
The company is on pace for six launches in the first five weeks of 2022, putting its target of 52 launches well within sight.
The Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy could be the second rocket family in history to hit 50 rocket launches in a year and the first to accomplish the feat since the 1980s, according to Teslarati.
Another strong year for SpaceX could lead to increased calls for the company to go public as valuation continues to rise. The Musk-backed space company hit a valuation of $100 billion in 2021, which helped boost the wealth of the world’s richest man.
Photo: Courtesy SpaceX via Flickr
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