On October 30, SpaceX sent the Koreasat-5A commercial communications satellite into geostationary orbit. While not a particularly noteworthy event in and of itself, the launch was the company’s 16th of 2017. SpaceX’s record for launches in a single year was previously eight, so that means they’ve already doubled their record. With two months left in 2017, Elon Musk’s space company still has time to add another launch or three to their yearly total.
Conditions for the launch were good, with no adverse weather or technical problems to speak of. The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage returned to Earth about eight minutes after delivering the satellite to orbit, landing on one of SpaceX’s autonomous barges — “Of Course I Still Love You” – which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Though the rocket was initially covered in flames, those later went out.
This marks the 13th Falcon 9 rocket landing this year, SpaceX’s 15th consecutive successful landing, and the company’s 19th overall.
The Koreasat-5A mission was SpaceX’s 11th commercial launch of 2017. The majority of the company’s activity is now in service of private companies and foreign governments, whereas previously the majority of their work concerned U.S. government agencies, such as NASA and NOAA.
More missions and more clients means more money, and that should help facilitate SpaceX’s far-more ambitious endeavors.