With two more launches planned for June, SpaceX is on schedule to launch five of its Falcon 9 rockets in the span of about a month. Continuing this near-weekly pace of launches would allow Elon Musk’s commercial space startup to pretty easily set a new company record for most launches in a year.
The latest string of missions started with its historic success sending NASA astronauts to orbit on May 27, followed by three Starlink launches and plans to boost a GPS satellite on June 30.
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The 11th SpaceX launch of 2020 will be the third in that series of Starlink missions and is now set for Friday (postponed from Tuesday and Thursday) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the company’s 12th launch of the year tentatively planned for the following Tuesday.
SpaceX had its most active year so far in 2018 with 21 launches and is now on pace to eclipse that mark in 2020, perhaps hitting 38 launches for the year total if all its plans pan out. The company hopes to continue packing its calendar with more lift-offs, aiming for 70 missions in 2023, according to a draft filing with the Federal Aviation Administration from earlier this year.
Many of the launches will be Starlink missions, as SpaceX looks to put tens of thousands of its small satellites in orbit this decade. The company has begun conducting ride-share launches, making room for a few commercial payloads alongside a batch of Starlink birds.
Thursday’s launch is set to be the second Starlink ride share, this time with two Earth-observing microsatellites for Black Sky, a company that provides high-def satellite imagery.
This will be the third Starlink launch in June alone, bringing the size of the growing constellation to nearly 600 satellites and closer to the threshold of 800 flying routers that Musk has said would allow for some limited broadband service to begin.
The June 26 launch is set for 1: 18 p.m. PT. SpaceX carries livestreams of all its launches but if you want to watch along, just come back here: We’ll add the stream once it becomes available.
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