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New Year Marks New Rockets from the Space Coast

Last updated on January 4, 2023

The Space Coast is gearing up for a bustling year of rocket launches, with the potential to set new records and introduce some fresh names.

Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are currently averaging more than one launch per week, and this rate could nearly double thanks to increased investments from NASA, the U.S. Space Force, and various commercial contractors.

SpaceX will be leading the charge with their Falcon 9 rockets; however, spectators can look forward to several appearances of the powerful Falcon Heavy throughout 2023 as well. In addition to these launches, there are several exciting missions planned for 2023 that involve humans traveling into space from Florida:
– Crew-6 in February (hosted by SpaceX)
– Polaris Dawn Flight in March (led by billionaire Jared Issacman)
– CST-100 Starliner Test Flight in April (hosted by Boeing).
– Axiom-2 Mission in May (featuring former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson)
– Crew-7 in October (hosted by SpaceX)

All of these launches have something special about them that make them worth watching – especially when it comes to Polaris Dawn’s tethered spacewalk !!

As more launch service providers set up shop in Brevard County, Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida, the state’s aerospace economic development agency, says “How many can we sustain? We’re building and investing, not just us alone, but the Space Force and NASA,” he said. “And commercial contractors are investing in infrastructure that should be able to support 100 launches a year. That was our plan. I think we want the capability to be able to do two, two-plus a week.”

Space travel is set to reach new heights in the coming year, with United Launch Alliance (ULA) expecting to bring its new Vulcan Centaur rocket to market in early 2023. The first of two certification flights will be completed before ULA’s three planned launches for the Department of Defense later that same year. This delay from 2021 was due to waiting on engines for the rocket from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which were finally delivered and installed on the first Vulcan rocket in November 2022.

Launch of Atlas V Juno from Cape Canaveral AFS

The inaugural flight aims to send Astrobotic’s Peregine lunar lander as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, while Sierra Space and its Dream Chaser spacecraft are also expected to join SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon and Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft as options for NASA. As well as being able to make a return trip back at Kennedy Space Center, Dream Chaser is seen as a mini space shuttle by many onlookers.

Blue Origin’s own New Glenn remains delayed until further notice however; this is because it uses seven BE-4 engines – five of which have already been spoken for by ULA – leaving just two spare ones available.

Meanwhile Relativity Space plans on joining other launch companies such as Astra Space with their 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket at Canaveral Launch Complex 16 next year after approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Firefly Aerospace has also secured a lease from SLC20 with ABL Space Systems planning an orbital flight for Amazon Project Kuiper soon after too.

All these launches combined could see up 50,000-100,000 satellites launched across America over the course of this decade, according to DiBello, who acknowledged that both FAA & US Space Force had made great strides when it came streamlining range & launch operations so capacity wouldn’t be an issue going forward either; citing how the Space Launch Delta 45 and the Eastern Range recently had prepared to support two SpaceX launches with overlapping windows, so could have conceivably seen two rockets flying up within 33 minutes of one another.

2023 looks like it’ll be an action-packed year full of incredible opportunities for exploration into space! With so many upcoming launches slated for lift off this year on our Space Coast, we’re sure to experience breathtaking moments that will leave us starstruck !!

Michael Lynch
Author: Michael Lynch

Raised on the Space Coast, I want to keep North Brevard informed of what's happening. Send Tips / Story Ideas to TitusvilleMedia@gmail.com

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