Beijing time on the evening of January 31, according tomedia reports, space exploration technology company SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that if all goes well, this year’s Falcon 9 rocket will reach a “triple-digit” number of launches, that is, more than 100 times.
Yesterday, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket, putting all 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. It is also the fourth batch of Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX, bringing the total number of satellites currently in orbit to 240.
Starlink is a huge satellite network project designed to provide low-cost, fast broadband Internet services to consumers around the world. It’s an attractive project, but to achieve that goal, SpaceX needs to launch 4,425 satellites.
The Falcon 9 rocket was designed and built by SpaceX in 2000 and launched for the first time in June 2010. After yesterday’s launch, the Falcon 9 has launched 80 times in its 9.5-year career. In the 36 months from January 2017 to January 2020, the Falcon 9 completed 52 consecutive successful launches.
In other words, since 2017, SpaceX has launched the Falcon 9 on average (1.4 times/month) more than four times the average number of launches (once every 2.7 months) before the rocket’s operation.
Yesterday, Mr Musk said on Twitter that he believed the cumulative number of Falcon 9 launches would reach triple digits this year, or more than 100. That means the Falcon 9 will have to be launched at least 20 times in the next 11 months.
On average, SpaceX launches every 9.7 days in January. If nothing unexpected, SpaceX could theoretically launch up to 37 times this year. But based on historical records, SpaceX often delays launches because of weather and other reasons.