spacex smashed record commercial space launches

Launch Box

As humankind ventures farther into the Earth’s gravity well, it’s been a banner year for Elon Musk’s commercial spaceflight venture SpaceX.

Case in point: Business Insider reports that SpaceX has shattered the record for commercial rocket launches in a year, at 20. That beats the prior record of 18 launches in a year — which was also set by SpaceX, in 2017. Before that, the figure stood at 16, set by United Launch Alliance in 2009.

21 Pilots

SpaceX has one more launch scheduled for 2018 — a satellite called GPS Block IIIA, which will improve location tracking services for the U.S. Air Force — bringing the company’s total tally of launches to 21.

It’s worth noting, though, that the 21 launches falls short of Musk’s most optimistic prediction for the company in 2018: that it would launch more rockets than any country on Earth. That honor, Business Insider found, went to China, which has launched about 35 rockets this year.

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