SpaceX Had Six Launches in 17 Days

SpaceX has successfully launched six Falcon 9 over a 17 day period. SpaceX has launched 33 missions in 2022 and is almost on pace for nearly 60 Falcon 9 launches this year. This would nearly double the 31 Falcon 9 flights accomplished in 2021.

If SpaceX could sustain a launch rate of one every three days then they could launch 120 times in a year.

SpaceX has launched 2,957 Starlink satellites after Sunday’s mission. About 2,701 Starlink satellites are currently in orbit and operational.

Sunday was the 20th Falcon 9 mission of the year dedicated to deploying satellites for the Starlink network. SpaceX has now launched 1,013 Starlink satellites since the beginning of January.

There were about 4,852 active satellites orbiting the Earth on January 1, 2022. 2,944 belong to the United States. China had 499 satellites at the start of this year. There are now nearly 6000 satellites and SpaceX makes up about half of the satellites.

SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for Aug. 2 from Cape Canaveral with the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, South Korea’s first space exploration mission. The Korean spacecraft will orbit the moon with a suite of cameras and science instrument from Korean research institutions and NASA.

Two more Starlink missions are scheduled for first half of August (a Florida and a California launch).

Six launches per month for the last five months of the year would enable SpaceX to get to 63 launches for 22. Eight launches per month for 2023 would be 96 launches. If 70 of about 96 launches were for Starlink, then about 4000 Starlink satellites could be launched in 2023.

SpaceX could finish with 3700-3800 Starlink satellites in orbit by the end of 2022 and and the 4400 phase 1 of Starlink complete by the end of April 2023.

SpaceX could finish 2023 with about 7700-8000 Starlink satellites in orbit. This would be about three times as much as today. SpaceX would be able to service about 20 million Starlink users around the world in 2023. has real time tracking of Starlink satellites.

12 thoughts on “SpaceX Had Six Launches in 17 Days”

  1. It seems likely that 2022 will be the peak year for F9/FH launches since Starship will launch and begin carrying Starlink 2.0. This implies most Starlink launches in 2023 and after will be on Starship which is higher capacity, lower cost and higher priority for SpaceX. Other customers are unlikely to replace Starlink for F9/FH cadence to stay as high.

    As Starship launches increase and tonnage to orbit radically increases, F9/FH will carry NASA ISS Dragon missions, high priority satellites and robotic exploration, and other paying customers until they too transition to Starship. SpaceX may be able to end F9 booster production and just build Second Stages quite soon and still have plenty of reused booster capacity to serve legacy customers for many years.

    • I have roughly the same expectation, except I think the Starship will be in development long enough that the Falcon peak traffic will be next year, not this year.

        • Well, sorta OK. One of the reasons SpaceX is going to try to launch Starlink satellites on their very first orbital test of the Starship, is that they kind of bet the farm on having Starship available for putting it into orbit. The version 2 Starlink satellites are too large for Falcon to launch economically.

          They need Starship for Starlink to be a success, and they need it ASAP, they were not expecting the FAA to put a 1 year long kink in their schedule.

          • Generation 2 Starlink satellites are designed for the 9 meter wide Starship. Stacked and deployed from a mailbox slot that is about 7 meters wide. The Falcon 9 is 3.7 meters wide. So Gen 2 are not just heavier but specifically designed to stack inside the larger Starship

          • Yep, they need Starship ASAP for their business plans to move forward.

            That (requiring a new rocket to be ready) would have been the kiss of death for past projects, but SpaceX are committed hard to deliver Starship, so it might work.

  2. Starlink sats are at 550km height.
    With a very standard 100X telescope, thats one scan at 5.5km.
    Lets say it takes images of 4096 pixels square, thats just over 1m to 1 pixel
    A T72 tank is about 10 m long, so about 6 or 7 pixels. And remember it will have very specific tank tracks behind it. A decent AI should easily find that in the open.
    I don’t know how often the same patch of ground will have a Starlink overhead, but it must be several times a day with a full constellation. Interesting opportunities.

    • If SpaceX was going to outfit their Starlink satellites to have spysat capabilities, I expect that they’d equip them with substantially better optics than you’re proposing. But I suspect SpaceX really does not want to give China any motive to start shooting down their satellites.

      • Highly doubt that SpaceX will outfit their satellites with spy cameras and also highly doubt that China could shoot enough of them down to cause service disruption. Thats a lot of ASATs.

        • I wonder…
          A dozen or two retrograde clouds of debris will probably cause a cascade of destruction taking out most of the constellation. Good thing those low orbits are decently self cleaning should that ever happen.

          Given the hopefully soon-to-be, huge launch capacity of Starship, it makes sense to make spy sats larger, more capable, armored against laser etc. and put them higher, far out of reach of suborbital ASAT.

      • Yeah, Starlink is already very disruptive for potential conflicts as it is.

        Reliable communications on the front are a make it or break it deal nowadays.

  3. I could tell, it shakes the walls of my business and home every time, not a lot but enough to wake some people up at night.

    I’m glad it’s a low rumble instead of a high whine like jet engines, otherwise I’d hate it.

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