SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, achieved a record-breaking 96 successful orbital rocket launches in 2023, surpassing its previous annual record of 61 launches in 2022. The company accomplished 91 launches with its Falcon 9 rocket and an additional five with the Falcon Heavy. Notably, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 more times this year than in the entire first decade after its debut.
Throughout the year, SpaceX also made significant advancements in reusing rockets. They successfully landed their 250th orbital rocket booster and launched and landed a single rocket 19 times, demonstrating their commitment to pushing the boundaries of rocket reusability. In addition, SpaceX set a new company record for the shortest time between orbital launches, achieving a turnaround time of just under three hours. This feat has not been accomplished since NASA's Gemini 11 mission in 1966.
It is worth noting that SpaceX's launch count does not include its two Starship test flights, as these flights were not carrying commercial payloads bound for orbit.
Jon Edwards, SpaceX's Vice President of Falcon launch vehicles, expressed pride in the team's achievement and excitement for the future. Just a few years ago, Musk suggested a goal of 100 launches as a thought experiment, and now they are on the cusp of reaching that milestone. Edwards highlighted the team's dedication and expressed anticipation for what they will achieve in the coming year.
Looking ahead, SpaceX aims to launch up to 144 Falcon missions in 2024. A significant portion of SpaceX's valuation, which currently stands at $180 billion, comes from its Starlink system. The company will continue to deploy satellites for Starlink, further solidifying its influence and growth in the industry.
Overall, SpaceX's record-breaking year of launches showcases their commitment to innovation and reusability in the space industry. With ambitious goals for the future, the company is poised to continue pushing boundaries and making significant contributions to the field of space exploration.