At the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Conference, SpaceX announced that they will be shifting their focus from the testing and development of Falcon 9 rocket cores towards mass production.
That’s right, we are about to have a slew of SpaceX rockets on our hands.
This news comes from SpaceX COO, Gwynne Shotwell. “Now we’re in this factory transformation to go from building six or eight a year to about 18 cores a year. By the end of this year we should be at over 30 cores per year,” Shotwell said. “So you see the factory start to morph.”
The move to kick up their rocket production is being made to anticipate the numerous launches that are in the pipeline for the company over the coming months and years. Indeed, they are set to begin manned launches next year.
While the company has yet to formally announce a date for its next launch, it has been confirmed that the mission is intended to carry the SES-9 communications satellite into orbit. Shotwell notes that the next launch will take place sometimes in the coming weeks; after which, SpaceX intends to launch flying missions “every two or three weeks.”
That would be around 20 some missions a year.
In addition, crewed Falcon 9 flights are still on track to begin by 2017. The flights are set to have an in-flight test of the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system that is scheduled to take place in 2016.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is also underway, with a launch scheduled for the latter end of 2016. Should it prove to be successful, this would be the most powerful rocket on Earth by a factor of two, notable for being able to lift a staggering 53 tons of mass into orbit.