SpaceX’s Progress Towards 100 Launches: A Review of Achievements and Challenges

As of now, SpaceX is not on track to reach the goal of 100 launches this year. In the first half of 2023, they completed 44 launches, which is behind the pace required to achieve the target. However, a significant portion of the year remains, and SpaceX has shown the ability to increase its launch cadence.

To reach 100 launches, SpaceX would need to average a launch every 3.65 days. Their launch rate in the year’s first half was approximately one launch every 4.05 days, excluding Starship launches. They have been able to accelerate their launch schedule by conducting launches almost every week and occasionally performing back-to-back or double-header launch days.

One factor contributing to the increased launch frequency is introducing a new design for the second-stage nozzle in April. This design allows for faster production of the second stage, reducing the turnaround time between launches. Although this shorter nozzle is less efficient and can carry fewer payloads into orbit, the cost advantage for certain missions outweighs the reduced efficiency.

Considering SpaceX’s current manifest for 2023, which includes 31 scheduled launches, and the potential addition of Starlink missions, they may still come close to achieving the 100-launch milestone or surpass it. The company has demonstrated its ability to adapt and increase its launch rate in the past, so it will be interesting to see how they progress in the remainder of the year.