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Discover Elon Musk’s bold plans as SpaceX rockets past China, achieving new milestones in space exploration. Get the inside scoop on SpaceX’s record-breaking launches and the game-changing Starship program, all while addressing environmental concerns. Don’t miss this out-of-this-world update!
Following a series of successful launches, SpaceX, under the leadership of CEO Elon Musk, has surpassed its previous year’s flight count. Elon Musk reported that SpaceX has delivered 80% of all payload mass to Earth’s orbit this year. China accounted for 10% of the deliveries, while the rest of the world combined contributed the remaining 10%.
After SpaceX’s record-breaking 62nd successful flight of the year, Elon Musk shared some insights into the company’s plans for the upcoming year. He announced that SpaceX aims to be responsible for delivering 90% of all payload mass to orbit in 2024. Furthermore, once SpaceX’s ambitious Starship program becomes fully operational, this number is expected to exceed 99%, according to Musk’s projections.
Elon Musk commented on these ambitious goals, stating, “These magnitudes are astounding to contemplate but are necessary to make humanity multi-planetary,” in a post on X.
These announcements followed a recent milestone in the Starship program when the rocket’s booster underwent a “static fire” test, with its engines igniting for six seconds. During the first static fire on August 6, 29 of the 33 engines were fired, while the second test on August 25 saw all 33 engines successfully ignited. Musk teased the eagerly awaited second Starship launch, stating, “Preparing for the next Starship flight,” although the exact launch date remains uncertain.
Starship’s initial flight earlier this year on April 20 ended in a fiery explosion over the Gulf of Mexico. In response, SpaceX made over 1,000 design improvements to the Starship, with plans to launch it again in approximately six weeks, as Musk mentioned in June.
However, there is a pending lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for allegedly allowing SpaceX to launch Starship without adequately addressing its impact on the surrounding environment. The lawsuit’s outcome could potentially affect Starship’s timeline.
The increase in rocket flights led by Elon Musk and SpaceX raises environmental concerns, particularly related to the injection of soot into the upper atmosphere. This could have consequences such as warming the upper atmospheric layers and weakening the ozone layer, contributing to climate change.
Simultaneously, SpaceX conducted its 62nd rocket launch of the year, deploying an additional 21 Starlink satellites into orbit. In a separate mission, the Dragon capsule safely returned four astronauts from NASA and SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission after their six-month stay aboard the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule, enduring temperatures of around 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, descended at over 17,000 miles per hour before deploying parachutes and landing in the ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.