Once upon a time, landing a rocket seemed like something out of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Then came Elon Musk, SpaceX, and the Grasshopper program. You might not remember this but the testing for the space company’s Falcon rockets was extensively documented. And awesome.
Now it’s 2023 and the company has been launching and landing rockets for years now. Not all of them have come home safely (and it was hilarious). But enough have landed successfully that it’s now commonplace. As of this week, Elon’s company has racked up 200 successful rocket landings.
SpaceX goes big
After delivering 72 spacecraft to orbit, Falcon 9 returns to Earth and completes SpaceX’s 200th landing of an orbital class rocket pic.twitter.com/7Aw52C97jk
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 13, 2023
And those landings don’t count the Grasshopper rocket tests, either. Instead, the company has completed enough missions to successfully land its 200th orbital class rocket on a launch pad (or ocean barge, when they’re feeling advanced). The milestone was hit on Monday, 12 June, following the launch of the Transporter-8 rideshare mission.
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The point of the launch might not have been particularly special — little of (positive) note happens during a rideshare — but the launch was also the company’s 40th launch for the year. That’s a massive number for any agency in any year. The fact that we’re only halfway through 2023 makes it all the more impressive.
Additionally, the reusable Falcon 9 rocket used for this launch clocked up its 9th mission at the same time. Technically, it’s now ready for mission 10. This sort of reliability is why SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is now considered the safest rocket ever made.