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EXCLUSIVE: SpaceX wants to launch up to 120 times a year from Florida – and competitors aren't happy about it

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses SpaceX's ambitious plans to launch its Starship mega-rocket up to 120 times per year from two launch pads in Florida, which is causing concerns among its competitors like Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA).

🙋 Q&A

[01] SpaceX's Starship Launch Plans

1. What are the key details of SpaceX's Starship launch plans in Florida?

  • SpaceX plans to launch Starship up to 44 times per year from NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
  • SpaceX also plans to launch Starship up to 76 times per year from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
  • In total, SpaceX aims to launch Starship up to 120 times per year within a six-mile area on the Florida coast.

2. What are the concerns raised by SpaceX's competitors regarding these launch plans?

  • Blue Origin and ULA have submitted comments calling for regulators to ensure minimal disruptions to other launch providers in the area.
  • Blue Origin has suggested limiting Starship operations to particular times and giving other launch providers a right of first refusal for conflicting launches.
  • ULA has expressed concern that such a high flight rate from just one Starship launch site would disrupt other launch operations in the area and cause significant environmental impacts, and that the impacts would be amplified if coming from two launch sites in close proximity.

3. How is the U.S. Space Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responding to SpaceX's Starship launch plans?

  • The U.S. Space Force is preparing a draft environmental assessment that will contain SpaceX's final anticipated launch cadence, which could change based on the pace of Starship's development or the number of scrub jay nests discovered.
  • The FAA is preparing a separate impact statement for SpaceX's Starship launch plans at Kennedy Space Center's pad 39A.
  • The Space Force's environmental impact statement for SLC-37 is also considering an alternative of having SpaceX construct an entirely new launch pad, SLC-50.

[02] Broader Context of SpaceX's Starship Plans

1. What are SpaceX's broader plans and goals for the Starship system?

  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has incredibly ambitious plans for Starship, seeing it as a key enabler for colonizing Mars and "expanding the light of consciousness" through the cosmos.
  • SpaceX has a goal of beefing up its Starship manufacturing facilities to enable producing one Starship second stage per day.
  • Musk eventually wants to launch Starship multiple times per day, with each launch delivering hundreds of tons of cargo to low Earth orbit or beyond.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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