After a slower launch year—by SpaceX standards—the company may close fast

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches a Starlink mission on Nov. 11, 2019. (credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX will have its lowest annual total of rocket launches since 2016 this year. With 11 orbital launches through November, including two Falcon Heavy missions, the company has no chance to match its total of 18 flights in 2017 or its record 21 missions last year. However, SpaceX is gearing up for what could be a frenetic December to close the books on 2019 and set up a very busy 2020.

As early as Wednesday, the company will launch its third mission to supply the International Space Station in 2019. The CRS-19 mission, launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will ferry about 2.5 tons of cargo to the ISS. This particular Dragon capsule will be making its third flight to the station. It is believed that the Falcon 9 first stage for this mission will not have previously flown.

Liftoff of the CRS-19 flight is scheduled for 12:51pm ET (17:51 UTC) on December 4, and weather conditions are likely to be favorable. The first stage booster has already completed its static fire test.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments