SpaceX completed its final mission of the year on Dec. 16 with the successful launch of JCSAT-18/Kacific1 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. It was the company’s 13th launch of 2019, SpaceX’s lowest yearly launch total since 2016. However, the Falcon manifest for 2020 promises to be far busier.
The slump in launches this year was a result of two major factors. Firstly, SpaceX was no longer grinding through a backlog caused by two anomalies in 2015 and 2016. Commercial launch contracts for geostationary communications satellites have also stagnated.
2020 will be a different story, with SpaceX set to smash their previous record of launches in a year, 21, which was set in 2018. The expected increase is due to Starlink, the launch provider’s new internet constellation. SpaceX is planning to launch a batch of Starlink satellites every two weeks, which would amount to approximately 24 launches on top of their existing contracted missions.
This could see SpaceX’s 2020 launch total reach at least the mid-30’s.
The 2020 number is a rough estimate based on SpaceX’s known manifest.
The fast pace of Starlink deployments will allow SpaceX to rapidly expand its coverage area. Numerous other companies including OneWeb, Amazon, and Telesat are ...