SpaceX ties annual launch record with latest Starlink mission

As seen from north of Orlando, Florida, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of the launch site, SpaceX launches its 31st mission of 2022, tying the record set last year. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

As seen from north of Orlando, Florida, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of the launch site, SpaceX launches its 31st mission of 2022, tying the record set last year. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX launched its 31st Falcon 9 rocket of 2022, tying its annual flight record set just last year — and it’s only July.

The company’s Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites at 10:20 a.m. (14:20 UTC) July 17, 2022, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The first stage of the rocket, core B1051, made its 13th flight to space, joining two other boosters that also reached that milestone for the company.

Core B1051 landed safely on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” staged some 400 miles (650 kilometers) downrange from the launch site. It was the 124th landing of a Falcon 9 first stage.

SpaceX’s Starlink internet constellation is expected to grow over the coming years to as many as 42,000 satellites in low Earth orbit. Currently there are just over 2,600 operational satellites after today’s launch.

Starlink Group 4-22 is the 20th launch to shell 4 and the 51st dedicated Falcon 9 launch with satellites for this constellation.

This was the Falcon 9’s 31st flight of 2022, which is the same number of SpaceX missions as all of 2021. The company is averaging a launch every 6.38 days.

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Video courtesy of SpaceX

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