After A slower launch year—By Its standards—SpaceX plans A busy December #Ars_TechnicaDecember 3, 2019
Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches a Starlink mission on Nov. 11, 2019.
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.
After that, SpaceX should return to the launch pad in the middle of the month for its next launch, which will send the JCSAT 18/Kacific 1 communications satellite into space.
This commercial mission is currently slated for no earlier than December 15, also from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
On top of that, there are potentially two more missions before the end of the year—although the schedule for each may slip into January.
SpaceX has not yet announced a launch date for the In-Flight Abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, a dramatic test as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that will see the Dragon pull rapidly away from the rocket.
SpaceX employees are still working toward a launch by the end of December for the test.
SpaceX also may launch its third batch of 60 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit before the end of this month, although the company has not announced an official launch date for this mission either.
That is because in addition to commercial cargo and likely crew missions for NASA, as well as commercial satellite flights, SpaceX intends to pick up the pace of Starlink launches next year.
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