SpaceX Heading for 61 Launches in 2022 and Over 200 Total

The Dec 16, 2022 SpaceX launch of O3b mPOWER internet satellites was the 200th launch of SpaceX Falcon rockets. SpaceX has had a record 59 launches in 2022 and still has two more launches scheduled for Dec 28, 2022. SpaceX has bookings and plans to launch over 100 times in 2023. There have been 191 Falcon 9 launches but there were a few other non-Falcon 9 launches.

SpaceX is now at about 70-80% of all commercial launch. China, Russia will of course launch their own military and space spying missions. SpaceX Starlink is about 70% of all satellites in orbit. SpaceX is larger than the tiny missions from Rocketlabs. SpaceX is launching about 90% of commercial launch mass and similar share of the revenue. SpaceX launches most of the other non-Starlink satellites. SpaceX is responsible for about 80% of the satellites in orbit.

SpaceX domination of space launch and satellites will increase with the fully reusable Super Heavy Starship. SpaceX launches will go up by 1000 times and launch payload by 10,000 times over the next two to four years after Super Heavy Starship starts frequent usage. Starlink Gen 2 fully deployed will Space at over 90% of all satellites in orbit (42,000 SpaceX and 2000-4000 others) and they will launch 80% of the other satellites.

SpaceX dominates all commercial space launch. They have put Europe Ariane and Russian rockets tiny launches of national missions.

Thunderfoot and Other SpaceX Haters Are Wrong

There is still silliness from people like Thunderfoot claiming that SpaceX is not a success and the reusable first stage is not economically superior. He lumps in the expendable second stage as a cost against the reused first stage to try to claim it is not economic to recover and reuse the first stage.

He cherry picks a conservative statement from Gwynn Shotwell and ignores a tweet from Elon Musk that clearly states the economics.

In August 2020, Elon Musk tweeted that refurbishment and reuse of a booster is done for less than 10% the price of a new booster while the payload reduction is below 40%. According to his tweet, SpaceX breaks even with a second flight per booster and saves money from the third flight on.

The second stage is expended in partial Falcon 9 reusability and it is expended when the entire rocket is thrown away. The money saving from

The first stage clearly has almost no refurbishment costs because they have been reused in as little as 21 days. A lot of maintenance could not happen with relatively speedy reuse. A few weeks of actual work by a few dozen people is all that is possible based upon the frequency of reuse.

All of the primary structure of the reused boosters are intact. The first stage boosters are only used at low altitude.

13 thoughts on “SpaceX Heading for 61 Launches in 2022 and Over 200 Total”

  1. Does anyone know how long it’s been since spacex lost a booster it meant to land? Sometimes it expends an old one to get some extra payload into space, but that does not count.

    It’s been years since one has been lost, as far as I can remember. One booster just finished it’s 15th round trip. Amazing! The impossible done 15 times in a row with the same hardware.

  2. Hi Brian

    You’ve dropped some text off a sentence here:

    The second stage is expended in partial Falcon 9 reusability and it is expended when the entire rocket is thrown away. The money saving from

    What were you going to say?


  3. SpaceX traffic isn’t going to expand quite as fast as you’re suggesting, I expect, because even after Starship is flying, it will take a while for the market to fill that capacity. The lower launch cost will make a lot of space activity economical, such as private sector SPS experiments, but it will take a few years to go from “economical” to “flying”.

    • Really? I would have thought the accelerated cadence need for Starlink Gen2 rollout to meet FCC minimums will raise traffic levels substantially, and if Musk goes all in and expands Starlink to the max 40K+ size, launches will have to speed up even more, considering an expected 5 year sat lifecycle.

      • Brian expects a 1,000 fold increase in launch cadence, and a 10,000 fold increase in tonnage per year.

        Let’s see, currently 3,300 or so satellites. Target is about 12,000. With Falcon they’d been launching about 500 a year. So, 500,000 satellites a year, and 12,000 needed.

        At Brian’s projected capacity, SpaceX could loft that entire constellation in 9 days.

        So, no, I don’t think Starlink will soak up much of that launch capacity.

        You know what would? Solar power satellites…

        • Kurt Sorenson worked for NASA on costing Solar Power Satellites. His colleague had this huge spreadsheet that they entered every single cost they could think of and one day just to see the result Kurt got him to enter zero cost for launch cost. Unfortunately, they got a result that even at zero launch cost, Solar Space Power would not be economically feasible. Here’s a link to the video. It’s on nuclear power and specifically Molten Salt Reactors. If you ever wanted to know anything about nuclear history, nuclear power, how it works and why molten salt is better, it’s the best nuclear power explanation I’ve ever seen. Long but thorough, covering why nuclear is as it is today.

          ” PROTOSPACE on Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors”

          I’m in favor of these but…if they don’t work economically, then they don’t work.

          • Cool conference room!

            I’m somewhat curious exactly what was driving the SPS cost. Would have been nice to know.

    • There are a lot of generation 2 starlink to go into orbit. Maybe I’ll subscribe to the service once the constellation is nearly done.

      After starlink, and perhaps other low orbit com-constellations are done, I think that either SpaceX, or someone else will put a prototype solar power sat into orbit. If it works out, that will be the next “killer app” for starship. The question is will production powersats be partially built with lunar, or asteroidial materials.

      • Lowered launch costs hurts the case for using extra terrestrial resources in building them. Hurts it badly: Extra-terrestrial resources were to be used to minimize launch costs from Earth, after all. If SPS can work economically without them, that’s a lot of system complexity that can be eliminated.

        I do wonder if at projected launch costs mining nickel from the Moon becomes feasible. Almost all the nickel originally part of Earth ended up in the core, our nickel mines are going after old asteroid impacts, meteoritic iron. Well, that’s lying around on the surface on the Moon, in theory can be magnetically separated.

  4. Seeing the expected increase in mass launched per year, and the market adjusting itself to that mass a few years later, soon the microlaunchers will look as silly as making kids trikes trying to compete with trucks.

    Hopefully, they grow up soon enough and make some real competition.

    • For a minute there I thought that Rocket Lab would be the most aggressive competition to SpaceX, until I found out that the Neutron rocket is only going to be roughly the same size as a Falcon 9.

      • That size is around the current sweet spot for payload. With it they will have a solution for nearly the current market for launches. The evidence is the rarity of falcon heavy launches.

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