SpaceX successfully launches cargo Dragon to ISS

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched a cargo Dragon to ISS.

The first stage booster successfully landed on its drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

This Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule were entirely new, making their first flights. This was the first new Falcon 9 to fly since November 2020, with sixteen launches during that period using reused boosters exclusively.

In fact, since November 2020 SpaceX has completed a total of 21 launches, all done in less than seven months. Moreover, the company has scheduled 34 (!) more launches through the rest of the year. If they achieve this ambitious schedule, they will complete 51 launches in ’21, more than doubling their previous annual record of 25 set last year. With all other American companies added in, there will be a good chance the United States launch total could exceed 70, breaking the country’s own annual launch record set in 1966 at the height of the first space race.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

17 SpaceX
15 China
8 Russia
2 Rocket Lab
2 ULA

The U.S. now leads China 23 to 15 in the national rankings.