SpaceX is now launching 10 rockets for every one by its main competitor

Enlarge / Atop Falcon 9, CRS-25 lifts off on Friday night. Zooming in, you can see mosquitos dotted throughout the frame, backlit by the rocket exhaust. (credit: SpaceX)

With little fanfare this weekend, SpaceX launched two Falcon 9 rockets. The first booster lifted off on Friday night and carried nearly three tons of supplies to the International Space Station, including two new space suits, for NASA. The second mission launched on Sunday boosted another batch of 53 Starlink satellites, bringing the on-orbit total to more than 2,500 operational Internet spacecraft.

The launches attracted relatively little notice in the space community and beyond because Falcon 9 launches have become so commonplace. Already this year, SpaceX has launched 31 rockets, all successfully. This tally matches the number of Falcon 9 boosters orbited in 2021, which at the time set a record for the launch company.

But this year, SpaceX has taken its cadence to another level, with a mix of payloads including its Starlink satellites, crew and cargo missions for NASA, Department of Defense missions, and commercial satellites. As of Monday, the Falcon 9 rocket has launched every 6.4 days this year and has lofted nearly 300,000 kg into low Earth orbit. This is considerably more than every other country and company in the world combined. Two more Starlink launches are likely this week.

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