SpaceX plans to launch up to 52 missions in 2022 – Archyde

Commercial space company SpaceX plans to launch a whopping 52 flights in 2022, a NASA safety panel revealed during a meeting today. If successful, that would be the most launches the company has ever completed in a single year, with its previous record last year of 31 launches.

The impressive figure was announced during a virtual meeting of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), which provides guidance to the space agency on how to maintain safety in its largest programs. “NASA and SpaceX must be careful in 2022 not to become victims of their success,” said Sandy Magnus, a former NASA astronaut and panel member, during the meeting. “There is an ambitious 52 launch manifest for SpaceX later this year. And that is an unbelievable pace.”

SpaceX is a key partner of NASA in human spaceflight. The company is responsible for ferrying NASA’s astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station with its Crew Dragon spacecraft, and SpaceX is currently developing a next-generation rocket system called Starship to land humans on the lunar surface for NASA’s Artemis program .

However, SpaceX also has many customers outside of NASA. It regularly launches satellites for other companies, international customers and the Department of Defense. But a good chunk of SpaceX’s launches this year will be for SpaceX itself. The company is currently in the midst of building a massive satellite constellation called Starlink, which will involve launching thousands of spacecraft into low to medium Earth orbit to provide broadband internet access across the globe. Every few weeks, SpaceX launched these satellites in batches of about 50 to 60 vehicles.

Space plans are always subject to change, so there is no guarantee that SpaceX will reach 52 launches. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX said the company aims to reach 48 product launches in 2021 but only until 31. So far this year, SpaceX has already launched three missions, and one more is planned for this afternoon. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While it would certainly be admirable to reach the number, NASA’s ASAP panel also warned of the downsides of such a jam-packed manifesto. “Both NASA and SpaceX need to ensure that NASA’s missions are given the appropriate attention and priority,” Magnus said, “and that the right resources are deployed to maintain that pace at a safe level.”


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