SpaceX launches three Falcon 9 rockets in 36 hours

SpaceX successfully completed three Falcon 9 launches in just over 36 hours, highlighting the company’s continued effort towards ever-higher launch cadences in 2022.

In February, shortly after a NASA oversight panelist revealed that SpaceX was targeting 52 launches in 2022, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the purpose of the company was “Falcon [to] launch about once a week” throughout the year. In October 2020, continuing a tradition of SpaceX’s extremely ambitious launch cadence targets, Musk also tweeted that “many improvements” would need to be made to reach his goal of 48 launches – an average of four launches per month – by 2021. Ultimately, SpaceX fell well short of that goal, but set a new annual record of 31 launches in one year, breaking its 2020 record of 26 launches by about 20%. However, perhaps even more important than the new record was the fact that SpaceX managed to complete six launches in four weeks in late 2021.

This impressive and unexpected achievement would end up being an explicit sign of what is to come in 2022.

The successful completion of three SpaceX launches in 36.5 hours is just an extension of that feat. In the same four-week period in late 2021, SpaceX completed three of those six launches in 69 hours. Two months later, SpaceX did it again, launching three Falcon 9 rockets from all three Falcon launch pads in 67 hours.

More importantly, SpaceX was also able to sustain an average cadence of most more than one Falcon launch per week during the first half of 2022, completing its 26th launch of the year on June 19 with another two launches planned before the end of the month. SpaceX actually sustained that cadence even longer. As of November 24, 2021, SpaceX has completed 32 Falcon 9 launches in less than seven months.

The company’s latest hat-trick or triple-header began on Friday, June 17, when the Falcon 9 booster B1060 took off at 12:09 pm EDT from the LC-39A platform at SpaceX’s Kennedy Space Center, helped transport another 53 satellites. Starlink V1.5 in space, and became the first Falcon rocket to launch and land 13 times. Starlink 4-19 was also SpaceX’s 49th dedicated Starlink launch, the 50th consecutive successful landing of SpaceX’s Falcon, and the 100th successful reuse of the Falcon Booster.

Falcon 9 B1060 takes off for the 13th time. (Richard Angle)

22 hours later, a second Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the SLC-4E from SpaceX’s Vandenberg Space Force Base at 7:19 am PDT, Saturday, June 18, carrying the first of three SARah radar satellites to Germany and an unspecified number of carpooling payloads. For the third time this year, booster B1071 was successfully propelled back to shore and landed on the SLC-4E’s LZ-4 landing pad shortly after takeoff.

The fog made the Falcon 9’s SARah-1 launch virtually invisible, but the landing was not. (SpaceX)

Finally, at 12:27 pm EDT on Sunday, June 19, a third The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Station’s LC-40 platform carrying a single spare Globalstar-2 communications satellite and, apparently, several secret ride-sharing payloads. Falcon 9’s Globalstar launch took place just over 14 hours after SARah-1, breaking SpaceX’s record time between two orbital launches.

Third Falcon 9 launch in 36 hours. (Richard Angle)

Globalstar FM15 was also SpaceX’s 26th launch of 2022, averaging one launch every 6.5 days in the first half of the year. June is not over, however, and SpaceX still has plans to launch Starlink 4-21 on June 25 and the SES-22 geostationary communications satellite on June 28. If both launches avoid delays, SpaceX will end the first half of 2022 with 28 successful orbital launches. Perhaps even more significantly, after two other launches in the last few days of June, SpaceX will have launched 17 times in one. single room – equivalent to 68 releases per year if sustained for four quarters. In the history of spaceflight, a single family of rockets has never been successfully launched more than 61 times in a year.

SpaceX launches three Falcon 9 rockets in 36 hours

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