SpaceX Aiming for Record Number of Falcon 9 Launches in a Month
There’s a lot of things one could say about SpaceX — mostly good, honestly, especially after last month’s successful Falcon Heavy launch — but you definitely can’t say they’re slackers. A new report suggests the aerospace company has five Falcon 9 launches planned over the course of one month, beginning in late March and culminating in April.
NASA Spaceflight’s Chris Gebhardt writes that the aerospace company is trying to dramatically increase its number of launches to achieve its ultimate goal of 30 Falcon 9 launches in 2018.
“Based on the Range-requested dates submitted by SpaceX to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the current plan calls for all five of the upcoming Falcon 9 missions to launch within a one month period, beginning with Iridium NEXT-5 from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, on 29 March at 07:19:49 Pacific,” Gebhardt reports.
If none of the launches are scrubbed — which is a very big “if” — three of the five scheduled launches will take place over the course of just one week. An Iridium NEXT launch is set to kick off the launch manifest on March 29.
“Iridium Communications Inc. announced that the fifth Iridium NEXT launch has been targeted by SpaceX for March 29, 2018 at 7:17 a.m. Pacific from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California,” the company confirms on its website. “This launch will use the same Falcon 9 first stage as the Iridium-3 launch that took place in October 2017 and begin a rapid-cadence launch schedule targeting completion of the Iridium manifest by mid-2018.”
SpaceX had a great year in 2017, successfully pulling off 18 missions. This year, the company is planning to increase the frequency of its Falcon 9 launches in addition to another Falcon Heavy launch as soon as June.
It’s a lot, but SpaceX has proven that they’re up for the task — as long as weather permits.