PARIS — SpaceX hopes to launch 24 Starlink missions in 2020 as the company builds out a broadband megaconstellation that could ultimately number close to 12,000 satellites, a company executive said Sept. 10.
SpaceX’s Starlink launch cadence will likely average “two a month,” in addition to customer launches, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said at the World Satellite Business Week conference here.
Shotwell said SpaceX may launch more Starlink missions this year, but the final number will depend on customer missions.
After inducing launch delays for customers due to Falcon 9 rocket failures in 2015 and 2016 SpaceX is now caught up on late missions, so much so that rockets are ready before customer satellites, Shotwell said.
Shotwell estimated SpaceX will do seven to eight more missions this year, including Starlink.
SpaceX launched its first 60 Starlink satellites in May using a Falcon 9 rocket.
Mark Juncosa, SpaceX’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said in May that 30 Starlink launches would be sufficient for global coverage based on the company’s deployment plans at the time.