On Tuesday, Col. Thomas Falzarano, commander of the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, said in a meeting that, if all went according to the plan, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida would be the world’s busiest spaceport this year with 24 scheduled launches.
Last year, the Russians had the supremacy with 21 launches taking place on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (although two of them had failed). In 2014, Cape Canaveral operated only 18 launches, all successful.
During the National Space Club Florida Committee’s meeting in Cape Canaveral, Col. Thomas Falzarano also said that he was thrilled to be there since space business “was picking up”.
The commander explained that this year, 10 launch missions would be operated by the United Launch Alliance, while 14 would be carried through by the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). If all successful, the 24 launches would transform Cape Canaveral in 2015’s busiest spaceport. The Florida-based air force station reached this status 23 years ago.
For the next year, there are 36 launches on the schedule, Mr. Falzarano also said.
The first launch has already taken place on January 10, when a SpaceX cargo ship lifted off from the Cape Canaveral spaceport towards the International Space Station (ISS), that is orbiting Earth at an altitude ranging from 205 to 270 miles. The cargo ship contained scientific equipment, lab experiments, food, water and belated Christmas gifts for the ISS crew.
This first launch had also a sub-mission – an attempt to prevent the first stage booster rocket from splashing into the ocean and end up in pieces. For that purpose, SpaceX had even designed a portable floating platform with an X on it to mark the landing spot. However, it was a bumpy landing and the first stage rocket was damaged beyond repair.
SpaceX wants to recover the rockets to save the millions of dollars wasted after just one space launch. Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said that his company planned to try again a soft-landing in February. And, if that fails too, they would keep trying until the end of the year.
For 2015, SpaceX plans four more ISS resupply missions, as well as a number of communications satellite launches. On January 29, SpaceX will also launch a weather satellite designed to serve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
United Launch Alliance would mainly launch U.S. military satellites this year. To launch the satellites, ULA will make use of Atlas 5 rockets and Delta boosters. However, SpaceX also plans to enter the military business over this year’s course.
Image Source: Top News