SpaceX has big plans for the new year, with a rocket mission scheduled to launch this week from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, reported the Observer. The space company’s first rocket launch of 2021 will deliver a communications satellite for a Turkish company, aiming to build television broadcast services in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
SpaceX is working on a satellite-based broadband internet service called Starlink. In 2020, SpaceX launched 16 batches of Starlink satellites and started beta service in North America, reported the Observer. Six launches are planned for January and February, with more to come.
Last year, SpaceX set a record with 24 orbital launches, including two crewed flights to the International Space Station (ISS), reported the Observer. According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the company’s goal is to launch 48 Falcon missions this year, which equates to flying a rocket almost every week.
In addition to the satellites, SpaceX is planning its second operational ISS mission for the spring, sending four astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with a third mission scheduled for the fall. Later in 2021, SpaceX also plans to fly a private ISS mission for Houston-based startup Axiom Space, carrying a crew of four, including two “space tourists.”
Musk also announced that two new prototypes for the company’s Starship that will one day “fly humans to the moon, Mars, and beyond,” are at the ready, located at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas launch site. According to the Observer, SpaceX anticipates that at least one Starship prototype will reach orbit by the end of the year.