SpaceX may exceed 90 pc of all Earth payloads to orbit this year: Musk

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New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Billionaire Elon Musk on Tuesday said that his space venture SpaceX is likely to exceed 90 per cent of all Earth’s payload to low-Earth orbit later this year.

Musk said this, in a post on social media platform X, based on a report that showed that SpaceX aced more than half of the 63 orbital launch attempts worldwide in the first quarter of 2024.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO noted that this may further increase to “over 99 per cent” once his huge Starship vehicle is launched.

The 400-foot-tall Starship rocket along with the Heavy Booster aims to help land astronauts on the Moon during the crewed Artemis 3 mission in 2026.

“SpaceX might exceed 90 per cent of all Earth payload to orbit later this year. Once Starship is launching at a high rate, probably >99 per cent,” Musk wrote in a post on X.

“Has to be or we can’t build a city on Mars or base on the Moon. We file almost no patents, so nothing stopping competition from copying us,” he added.

According to a Q1 Launch Report by the Payload website, the five Chinese launchers combined lofted 13.6x less than SpaceX.

Compared to Q1 in 2023, SpaceX’s launch attempts grew by 11 flights in Q1 2024.

Musk had recently announced that the fourth test flight of the Starship vehicle will take place in “about 2 weeks”.

“The primary goal is getting through max re-entry heating. Worth noting that no one has ever succeeded in creating a fully reusable heat shield. Shuttle required >6 months of rework,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Musk’s satellite-based Internet service Starlink crossed 3 million customers in 99 countries.

“Congratulations to the @SpaceX team on passing 3 million customers in 99 countries! And thanks to you for buying @Starlink!,” Musk said.

He said that no long-term contract is required to order high-speed Internet service with Starlink.

It is “easy to order online in 2 minutes,” he said.