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2022-05-13 16:30:12

SpaceX has been on a tear in 2022, notching 18 rocket launches and two astronaut splashdowns in just the first 130 days of the year — an unprecedented pace for the company and the commercial launch industry.

The latest is scheduled for Friday evening with the launch of 53 of SpaceX's Starlink internet satellites out of California's Vandenberg Space Force Base. It will be the twelfth Starlink launch so far this year, and it could be followed over the weekend with another mission set to take off out of Florida.

It's been an dizzying year of activity so far, further cementing SpaceX's dominance over the commercial launch industry. Led by SpaceX, the industry is on pace to blow past the annual launch highs of the mid-20th century space race, when most launches were carried out by governments rather than the private sector. 2021 already set a new record with 145 total launches, compared to 129 carried out in 1984, the previous record-setting year, according to data from research firm Quilty Analytics.

If SpaceX keeps up its current pace, it could launch more than 52 rockets this year alone, far outpacing its record, set last year, of 31.

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