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SpaceX Pulls off 3 Orbital Launches in 34 Hours, Smashing Its Record

SpaceX is finishing off the year strong, flying its Falcon 9 rocket three times in less than 34 hours to deliver various payloads to low Earth orbit.


So far this year, the company has successfully completed 59 orbital launches. SpaceX still has two more launches scheduled before the end of the year, which would fulfill CEO Elon Musk’s goal of 60 launches for 2022. In June, SpaceX performed three Falcon 9 launches in 36 hours and 18 minutes, but these most recent launches happened in a span of 33 hours and 46 minutes, setting a new record for the company, as Teslarati points out.


For the first of its recent three launches, a Falcon 9 carried the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission to orbit. The rocket took off from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on December 16 at 6:46 a.m. ET. SWOT deployed as planned, beginning its three-year mission as the first satellite to conduct a global survey of Earth’s surface water to measure how it changes over time.

在最近三次发射中的第一次,猎鹰9号携带地表水和海洋地形(SWOT)任务进入轨道。该火箭于美国东部时间12月16日上午6点46分从加利福尼亚州范登堡太空部队基地的太空发射中心- 4e发射升空,SWOT按计划部署,开始了为期三年的任务,这是第一颗对地球地表水进行全球调查的卫星,以测量它如何随时间变化。

A little over 11 hours later, another Falcon 9 rocket took flight, departing Florida at 5:48 p.m ET. Friday’s second launch carried two communications satellites, the Boeing-built O3b mPower 1 and 2, to orbit for Luxembourg satellite operator SES.

11个多小时后,另一枚猎鹰9号火箭升空,于美国东部时间下午5点48分离开佛罗里达州。周五的第二次发射携带了两颗通信卫星,波音公司制造的O3b mPower 1号和2号,为卢森堡卫星运营商SES进入轨道。

The third launch was a little closer to home for SpaceX, with the reusable rocket delivering more of the private company’s Starlink satellites to orbit. On December 17, a Falcon 9 launched at 4:32 p.m. ET with 54 satellites tucked into its payload fairing. So far, SpaceX has launched over 3,600 of its internet satellites to orbit, of which 3,284 are currently operational, according to stats collected by astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. The use of its workhorse Falcon 9 has put the company way ahead of its competition, such as OneWeb, when it comes to building a megaconstellation of internet satellites in low Earth orbit.

第三次发射对SpaceX来说离家更近一些,这枚可重复使用的火箭将这家私营公司的更多星链卫星送入轨道。12月17日,美国东部时间下午4点32分,猎鹰9号运载54颗卫星发射升空。根据天体物理学家乔纳森·麦克道尔(Jonathan McDowell)收集的数据,到目前为止,SpaceX已经向轨道发射了3600多颗互联网卫星,其中3284颗目前正在运行。在近地轨道建造大型互联网卫星星座方面,猎鹰9号的使用使该公司遥遥领先于OneWeb等竞争对手。

SpaceX has two more launches scheduled this year. Multiple reports suggest that the company is planning on launching Falcon 9 on December 28 to deliver more Starlink satellites to orbit, according to Teslarati. There may even be a bonus launch on December 29, with the trusty launch vehicle carrying the Israeli EROS-C3 Earth imaging satellite.