SpaceX Reaches For the Stars

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched on Oct. 20, sending 54 Starlink satellites into orbit.

SpaceX successfully hurled the satellites into the Starlink constellation, bringing the total number of Starlink satellites to 3,500 for the company’s 100th mission in Florida. “With the completion of today’s launch, it marks SpaceX’s 48th successful Falcon 9 mission of 2022,” SpaceX Space Operations Engineer Siva Bharadvaj said

That’s not the only celebratory news for SpaceX. According to Aviation Week reporter Irene Klotz, fourteen years after the company won its first major contract with NASA, SpaceX has beat Boeing to become NASA’s largest for-profit vendor after Caltech, which operates NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. SpaceX received a record $2 billion dollars this fiscal year, compared to the $1.7 billion dollars that Boeing received. However, most of the success has resulted from the engineering behind the Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9, the first rocket capable of being reused, has had a total of 181 launches, 141 landings and 119 total reflights. The SpaceX merlin engines on the rocket produce 845 Kilonewtons each, allowing the rocket to produce more than 1.7 million pounds of thrust at sea level.

“We’re on track to be double our launch rate last year, which was a record launch rate for us. In fact, I believe Falcon 9 was the most launched rocket worldwide of 2017. And, if things go well, which is a caveat, then SpaceX will launch more rockets than any other country in 2018,” Entrepreneur Elon Musk said on a call with various reporters.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

— Elon Musk

SpaceX is preparing for the first Falcon Heavy launch since 2019. On the Falcon Heavy, 27 SpaceX Merlin engines are used to generate about 5 million pounds of thrust, a feat unmatched by other rockets today. Its debut in February 2018 was one of the most memorable launches in its history: the test flight took Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster with a mannequin named “Starman” into orbit around the Sun.

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor,” Musk said in response to the Falcon Heavy launch.

The future is looking bright for SpaceX after the company surpassed other aerospace companies for contracts with NASA and just completed their 100th mission in Florida. Their steady rise in the aerospace industry is pressuring many celebrated aerospace companies to up their game for the future of spaceflight.