SpaceX has broken its own record for the number of rockets launched in a single year, surpassing its previous benchmark of 31 with more than five months left of the year.
The 32nd launch of 2022 saw a Falcon 9 rocket lift off from the Vandenberg Space Force base in California on Friday, delivering a further 53 Starlink satellites into orbit.
“Congrats to SpaceX team on record number of launches!” SpaceX boss Elon Musk tweeted following the launch.
It took the total number of satellites in the Starlink constellation to close to 3,000, further expanding the space-based internet network and keeping SpaceX on course to achieve 52 orbital missions this year.
The private space company plans to launch thousands more Starlink satellites over the coming years, achieving global coverage at some point in 2023.
The satellite internet service is currently available in 36 countries, allowing people to access high-speed internet for a monthly fee of $110 and a one-time fee of $599 for the equipment needed to receive the signal.
A Starlink Premium service launched earlier this year offers higher download speeds and increased reliability for an additional fee of $2,500.
“Starlink internet works by sending information through the vacuum of space, where it travels much faster than in fiber-optic cable and can reach far more people and places,” SpaceX’s website states.
Tracking cam footage from today’s Falcon 9 launch of Starlink pic.twitter.com/771gLqbm9t
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 22, 2022
“With high speeds and latency as low as 20ms in most locations, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet.”
The Starlink service is primarily designed for people in remote areas where traditional ground-based telecommunications infrastructure does not reach, however it has found users in areas hit by natural disasters and conflict.
An estimated 150,000 people use Starlink to stay connected in Ukraine, where SpaceX has waived the typical monthly fee following Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European country.