SpaceX continues to set records. In fact, the company completed three launches in just 36 hours, marking the fastest three-mission streak in history for a commercial launch company. Despite this achievement, the company is going through a turbulent period internally.
East Coast to West Coast
The three launches were carried out by a Falcon 9, SpaceX’s reusable and ultra-reliable launch vehicle. The first took place this Friday, June 17, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket thus propelled 53 Starlink satellites into low orbit, completing a little more the constellation whose mission is to bring high-speed Internet to the most isolated areas of the world. This launch is also a new record: the booster made its thirteenth flight with a landing on a barge.
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The second launch took place the following day from Space Complex 4E at Space Force Base Vandenberg in California. This time, the Falcon 9 carried the SARah-1 radar imaging satellite, built by Airbus for the German military. The launcher used had already carried out two missions this year. Finally, the third launch in this impressive series was held on June 19 from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Falcon 9 carried a spare satellite for Low Earth Orbit Satellite Operator Globalstar.
The three thrusters were salvaged for reuse, a feat when you consider that seven years ago, reusing rockets seemed next to impossible. This demonstrates how SpaceX has changed the game in this sector after numerous failed launches, Elon Musk’s company is now a real reference and is one of NASA’s most important partners.
Despite the new record set by SpaceX, an event recently tarnished the image of the company valued at more than 125 billion dollars. In fact, several employees wrote a letter in which they expressed their dissatisfaction with Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, and called for more inclusion within the company. ” Elon’s behavior in the public sphere has been a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, especially in recent weeks. As the most prominent CEO and spokesperson, Elon is considered the face of SpaceX – every tweet Elon sends is a public statement of fact from the company. It is essential to make it clear to our teams and our potential talent pool that their messages do not reflect our work, our mission or our values. “, we could read there.
They made particular reference to the allegations of sexual harassment that weigh against the billionaire, as well as the incredible outputs of the latter on Twitter since the announcement of the acquisition of the social network. Shortly after the letter was published, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell announced the dismissal of several company employees involved in writing the letter.
She stated that ” the letter, requests and overall process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated, intimidated and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign something that did not reflect their views Distributing the letter, she added, was against company policy. and did not demonstrate the strong judgment necessary to work in this very difficult sector that is space transport “.
SpaceX is on multiple fronts
Despite everything, SpaceX has already carried out 26 launches in 2022 and therefore continues the frenetic pace of 2021, the year in which the company operated 31. This year, that number could double. In addition to its Falcon 9 and Starlink, SpaceX is focusing on the Starship, its super-heavy launch vehicle that can outshine NASA’s SLS.
If the rocket prototype has yet to make an orbital flight, it could be the case soon, SpaceX has finally obtained the necessary permits from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, Starship was chosen by the American space agency as a lander under the Artemis program, during which humans will return to the Moon.