SpaceX is planning to launch five Falcon 9 rockets in about a month, starting with the historic success of putting NASA astronauts into orbit on May 27, followed by three Starlink launches and a GPS satellite on June 30,media CNET reported. Maintaining this nearly weekly launch speed would make it fairly easy for Elon Musk’s commercial space start-up to set a record for the most launches in a year by a private space company.
Currently, SpaceX’s 11th launch in 2020 is scheduled for next Tuesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the 12th launch is tentatively scheduled for a week.
SpaceX, which has had its busiest year to date in 2018 with 21 launches, is now preparing to surpass that goal by 2020, and if all of its plans are met, it could have 38 launches a year. The company aims to complete 70 missions by 2023, according to a draft document SpaceX submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this year.
Many of the launches will involve the Starlink mission, as SpaceX hopes to put tens of thousands of its small satellites into orbit within a decade. The company has already embarked on a “carpooling” launch, making room for some commercial payloads while launching a number of Starlink satellites. Tuesday’s launch will be the second Starlink “carpool” launch, this time for Black Sky to launch two Earth observation microsatellites. Black Sky is a company that provides high-definition satellite imagery.
This will be SpaceX’s third launch of the Starlink satellite in June, bringing the growing constellation to nearly 600 satellites and nearing the threshold of 800 orbiting “routers.” Musk has said this would allow some limited broadband services to begin.
The June 23 launch is scheduled for 2:58 p.m. Pacific time (5:58 p.m. Florida time).