Record-breaking year for launches
July 11, 2022
2022 is on track to break all records for rocket launches. Indeed, Elon Musk’s SpaceX alone is responsible for a significant number of these launches; SpaceX added 16 launches spread across its own Starlink craft plus NASA missions as well as commercial launches. But China is matching SpaceX and, as at July 8th, had managed 72 launches between them.
SpaceX on July 7th, for example, made its 13th re-use of its first-stage booster and its 28th orbital mission of the year. The flight was the 50th Starlink launch and the 100th Falcon 9 reflight – and another series of records broken by SpaceX.
During 2021 the world’s launch providers broke all previous records with 135 successful orbital launches (and an additional 11 failures which only proves the risks involved).
The previous ‘best ever’ year was 129 launches in 1984.
Shrinking military budgets reduced the numbers throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
But analysing the 2022 figures (with acknowledgement to the number-crunchers at Spaceflight Now) shows January 1st – June 30th:
27 by SpaceX
4 by Rocket Lab
3 by United Launch Alliance
1 by Astra
1 by Northrop Grumman
1 by Virgin Orbit
21 by China
9 by Russia
1 by India
1 by Europe
1 by Iran
1 by South Korea