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SpaceX successfully launches two communications satellites

SpaceX today successfully launched its third pair of communications satellites for the Luxembourg satellite company SES, its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral.

The first stage completed its ninth flight, landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

83 SpaceX
51 China
14 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
7 India

American private enterprise now leads China 95 to 51 in successful launches, and the entire world combined 95 to 80. SpaceX by itself is now leads the rest of the world (excluding American companies) 83 to 80.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

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  • Richard M

    If SpaceX can sustain this current pace, they *would* hit exactly 100 for this year.

    That assumes *everything* goes right, of course. Which it likely will not. But finishing with 95+ launches for the year would be simply staggering. There is just no precedent for what we are seeing now.

    Meanwhile, Rocket Lab is resuming launches, with a window opening for the iQPS payload on November 28.

  • Diane Wilson

    I don’t expect them to hit 100, but mid-90s would still be impressive. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are coming up. Musk might push his own people through those, but he can’t push NASA or the Space Force. He’ll need Space Force for range safety.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Diane Wilson,

    SpaceX has no scheduled NASA payloads launching during the remainder of the year. The Dragon for the recently launched CRS-29 mission will be returning in early December, but that will be after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. The Space Force doesn’t take any holidays off. But the SpaceX Falcons, which use an Automated Flight Termination System, require no range safety assets anyway. SpaceX may or may not make 100 Falcon launches for 2023, but if it falls short, it won’t do so because of holidays or range safety asset non-availability.

  • wayne

    I’m going to drop this in here:

    Lex Fridman Podcast Number 400
    November 9, 2023
    “Elon Musk: AI, Aliens, Politics, Physics, Video Games, and Humanity….”

    Musk is very interesting in the long-form back-n-forth. I think it gives one a much better idea of where his head is actually at vs. how he’s portrayed in ‘media.’

  • Richard M

    If they miss 100, it will be due to a) payload delays, b) weather, or c) technical difficulties at the launch pad.

    But they have a shot. Their paced is just blistering right now.

  • Edward

    Diane Wilson and Dick Eagleson,
    NASA, launch crews, test crews, security officers, etc. are all too aware that work may continue through holidays. One compensation is the bragging rights about how many holidays were missed, hours spent awake straight, number of days in a row worked, etc. These workers get to show just how dedicated they are to spaceflight and space exploration. When we start comparing war stories, I lose pretty early on.

    SpaceX’s launch crews are the busiest that I have ever heard of (duh). I’m sure that any of them that get a holiday off, this season, would be very appreciative.

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