Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center are preparing for roughly the same number of flights this year as they did in 2022 when they hosted 57 launches. That rate surpasses not only the previous record of 31 set in 2021 but also earlier Space Race initiatives like Gemini and Apollo.
Florida Rocket Launches
And launch companies aren’t taking much of a break either: SpaceX plans to host the next launch of a Falcon 9 rocket on Monday, January 2, with a variety of payloads. Otherwise, the company’s Starlink broadband constellation launches are anticipated to be the most frequent.
But after years of planning and research, promises from several businesses may also finally materialise this year in the form of new rockets, some of which are enormous heavy-lift systems. Here are the plans for 2023.
Existing rockets and providers
This year, SpaceX is anticipated to contribute significantly to the manifest, mostly through the launch of Starlink. The business has launched nearly 3,500 internet satellites into low-Earth orbit from Florida and California launch pads, but it will take at least a few thousand more and maybe up to 30,000 satellites to give even limited global coverage. Recently, the business claimed to have one million clients, spanning from households to the government and everything in between.
This year’s noteworthy missions include Falcon Heavy, the three-core version of Falcon 9 with sufficient power for longer, tricker missions. Up to three of them are planned to launch this year, with the first one capable of carrying a batch of payloads for the Space Force as early as mid-January. With simultaneous side booster landings at Cape Canaveral’s two landing zones, SpaceX’s Heavy missions frequently produce loud sonic booms as they descend.
But the heavies won’t stop there. A classified National Reconnaissance Office intelligence payload will be launched on the second-to-last flight of the United Launch Alliance variant that utilises three discarded Delta IV cores somewhere in the first quarter of this year. Launch Complex 37 in the Cape will be the venue. There won’t be any local landings or sonic booms because the Delta IV Heavy is not reusable.
This year, ULA will also provide the transportation for Boeing’s next Starliner capsule expedition. The Crewed Flight Test, or CFT, of the Starliner spacecraft, which is intended to transport men to the International Space Station, won’t take place before April. If it is successful, Boeing will be able to regularly send astronauts to the ISS for rotations in science and station maintenance, joining SpaceX.
SpaceX will continue to deploy people and supplies to the ISS regularly, speaking of astronauts. Two cargo resupply missions, CRS-27 and CRS-28, and at least two crewed trips, Crew-6 and 7, are tentatively scheduled for 2023.
Overall, the Space Coast can anticipate a similar pace this year, with the majority of it being pushed by SpaceX and a sizeable portion of that being made possible by Starlink.
How many rockets did Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center launch in 2022?
Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center are preparing for roughly the same number of flights this year as they did in 2022 when they hosted 57 launches.