With all missions on its schedule successfully lifting off so far in 2015, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is on pace to defend its title as the world’s busiest spaceport.
To date, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have combined for nine launches of U.S. military, NASA and commercial telecom satellites. There were 16 from the Cape last year, tied for the highest number there since 2003.
This year, 24 missions are penciled in. Most of the launch activity is courtesy of SpaceX, with 14 planned. The first took place Jan. 10 when its medium-duty Falcon 9 booster took a Dragon capsule to resupply the International Space Station. Perhaps most noteworthy was the Feb. 11 launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR. Later this year, the company plans to make the first launch of its new Falcon Heavy rocket.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) has also been busy. Its year started on Jan. 20 when an Atlas V took the U.S. Navy’s third Mobile User Objective System communications satellite into orbit. It was the first of eight scheduled ULA missions from Cape Canaveral AFS. The most recent was May 20, when another Atlas V launched the Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.
ULA also launches the Delta II rocket and the Delta IV Heavy rocket, currently the world’s most powerful.
Photo credit: NASA