SpaceX Will Surpass the Soviet Record of 108 Space Launches

The Soviet Union reached a peak of 108 successful space launches in one year (1982) during the Cold War and will be on pace to pass them with 110 to 140 launches in 2023.

Planet4589 has a launchlog of all orbital space flights.

The SpaceX raptor engine factory at 1000 engines per year could make 25 Super Heavy Starships and full raptor engine capacity of this first factory is 4000 engines per year (100 Super Heavy Starships).

30 fully operational Super Heavy Starship (each flying once per week) could have 1500 flights in 2024. 120 fully operational Super Heavy Starships could have 6000 flights in 2025.

10 thoughts on “SpaceX Will Surpass the Soviet Record of 108 Space Launches”

  1. Is there enough demand for that many launches carrying that much cargo?

    I know $/kg will drop to spur demand, but apart from mining, I struggle to see a huge reason to have that much capacity. Am I missing something?

    • You can use SHS to do Point-to Point (P2P) on Earth is a very short time (90 minutes from any place to any place – minus the polar regions).

      This mean competition with normal airplanes on medium-long routes and probably cheaper than airplanes too.

      • You know, it’s dangerous to your health to be too close to a jet engine without serious hearing protection. But it’s literally deadly to be too close to one of these rockets taking off, and for a much, much greater distance.

        Basically every spaceport, yeah, even for P2P, has to have a significant exclusion zone around it. Seriously, I don’t buy this notion that P2P rocketry is going to displace airliners.

    • Except for the original goal of Mars colonization, I don’t know where the demand will come from, but I feel it probably will come from something nobody is thinking about right now, and any such demand will probably take quite a while to develop. I think the Mars colonization effort will not materialize as quickly as Musk thinks it will, but I would love to be wrong about that.

      Meanwhile, Starship initially will be used to launch the Starlink v2 satellites, which will let SpaceX work out any problems discovered with this first version of Starship and Super Heavy, and demonstrate how well it works.

      Once NASA and other organizations that design spacecraft take in how large and heavy of a spacecraft Starship can launch, and adjust their designs so as not to devote time and expense to minimizing size and mass of their spacecraft, spacecraft for various missions will be able to be designed and built quicker and at less cost than now. And some missions that were not feasible before will become feasible. That probably still will not reach the limits of the capabilities Starship offers, but will be beneficial.

      At some point, someone might think of a project besides Mars colonization that needs the full capabilities of Starship, or even a bit more. If that happens, then Starship will begin to be fully utilized, or that possibly could push SpaceX into designing a rocket that becomes the next step up in capabilities.

      • Solar Power Satellites, assuming the Greens don’t suddenly find a form of solar power they object to.

        Hotels. Starship will make access to space cheap enough for luxury vacations.

        Asteroid mining.

        Ultra-large orbital telescopes.

        Trash removal to prevent a Kessler cascade.

        Maybe zero-G manufacturing of semi-conductors.

        The real threat to Starship is that it increases traffic to orbit enough to make something other than rockets cost effective. A giant mass driver, maybe, or a Lofstrom launch loop. Eventually an orbital ring.

  2. 30 fully operational Super Heavy Starship (each flying once per week) could have 1500 flights in 2024. 120 fully operational Super Heavy Starships could have 6000 flights in 2025.

    Maybe in 5-10 years not in 1-2 years.

    • The good part of having a factory producing 1000-4000 engines per year is they can become very good at producing them.
      It is more like producing truck engines than airplane engines.
      You produce en-mass, test them, throw away the failures.
      Fix the failures in the production line an not in the produced engines.

      If prices go down enough, you could see exponential growth in demand.
      Space launches, Point-to Point travel on Earth or the obvious uses, but I bet a lot of people can find creative uses of cheap reusable rocket engines. Or maybe, parts of them.

  3. They certainly have a chance of doing so, but it’s probably too soon to tell whether they are on track to doing so. Perhaps in May or June we can have some more confidence on whether they are going to break that record or not.

    In other news, man, those success ratios in the late 1950s and early 1960s were certainly brutal, weren’t they? On the other hand, it seems that the absolute number of launch failures every year is constant to a first-order approximation.

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