The company, which was dominant in all aspects in 2023, is ending the year in style.
It's been a great year for SpaceX, and they're ending 2023 with dignity: this morning's Starlink 6-36 mission was their 300th mission in total, and they also broke another record!
The final champion of the year in terms of rockets was the Falcon-9 B1069, whose mission was to place another 23 satellites into low Earth orbit. The launch began from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station's SLC-40 launch pad at 5:01 a.m. HST, not far from LC-39A, from which USSF-52/OTV, the fifth Falcon Heavy aircraft of the year, lifted off. Just a few hours ago – within 7 tasks. Exactly 2 hours, 54 minutes and 40 seconds passed between the two launches, with the previous record of 4 hours, 11 minutes, and 20 seconds being handed over to the past (the absolute record in the entire history of space is still held by Gemini 8/Atlas) on March 16, 1966. We came to the pair at 1 hour, 40 minutes and 59 seconds).
The same mission went smoothly again this time, after the twelfth ascent, the twelfth return was also successfully completed with the first stage, namely Lack of gravity I landed on an almost unmanned ship. 640 kilometers across the Atlantic, meaning three carriers accomplished this in just a few hours, including the Falcon Heavy's two side stages. The second stage launched the satellites beyond their usual one-hour orbit, so the 96th mission of the year was also a complete success for the company. Although it seemed until yesterday that there might be another Starlink mission on the 31st, it has finally been confirmed in an official post on X that this was the last Falcon launch of the year.
Additional stats: This was SpaceX's 293rd success out of 300 missions, the 283rd out of 286 Falcon-9 launches, and the 257th consecutive flawless flight by an airline. All of the company's missions this year have ended in success, and the launch of 96 aircraft alone is a major achievement that no one else can come close to. Looking ahead to next year, SpaceX will raise the bar even higher, with no less than 144 missions planned! Of course, this requires the right combination of many factors, but if they can at least keep up with this year's pace, 120 Falcon and a fair number of Starship launches could come together!