A Review of SpaceX's Launch Manifest History

SpaceX CRS-7 launch. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

SpaceX CRS-7 launch. Photo Credit: Alan Walters / AmericaSpace

For SpaceX, the last year has been a time of struggle and success. After launching six customers into orbit in the first half of 2015, SpaceX faced a second-stage launch failure on its seventh launch. Yet, in less than five months, SpaceX completed its launch contract with Orbcomm by launching OG2–2, and landed the first stage booster back at the Cape just a few miles south.

For 2016, SpaceX has set for itself an agressive launch schedule and the introductory launch of the Falcon Heavy, now expected to fly no earlier than December. The company has so far launched five times and landed three times in the first five months of 2016, and is currently in final preparations to launch their sixth mission of the year this week from Cape Canaveral AFS. Yet, challenges have reared their head.

Falcon-9 touches down on "Of Course I Still Love You", 400 miles off the Florida coast just minutes after launching Thaicom-8 earlier this year from Cape Canaveral AFS. Photo Credit: SpaceX

Falcon-9 touches down on “Of Course I Still Love You”, 400 miles off the Florida coast just minutes after launching Thaicom-8 earlier this year from Cape Canaveral AFS. Photo Credit: SpaceX

Two launch customers of SpaceX broke into the news in the opening months of 2016 that they were examining changes to their upcoming SpaceX launches because of delays in SpaceX’s existing launch manifest, which motivate a look at SpaceX’s launch manifest.

Complicating that task, since late November 2014, SpaceX no longer publishes expected launch date windows or payload arrivals at the launch site.

Company President Gwynne Shotwell stated in March 2016 that the company’s launch tempo was set to increase dramatically from previous years. SpaceX’s previously lower launch rate was attributed to settling on a stable design for their Falcon-9 rocket, which has certainly evolved in the six years since its first flight. Between 2010, with the first flight of the Falcon-9 v1.0, and today’s v1.1 “Full Thrust” (FT), the Falcon-9 has grown in its ability to loft payload.

Launcher LEO (kg) GEO (kg)
Falcon 9v1.0 13,150 4,850
Falcon 9v1.2 22,800 8,300
% Increase 73% 71%

As the above numbers show, the original Falcon 9 v1.0 could launch 13,150 kg (28,990 lbs) into low-Earth orbit (LEO) and 4,850 kg (10,690 lbs) into geosynchronous-Earth orbit (GEO). Today’s Falcon 9 v1.1 “FT” can loft 22,800 kg (50,265 lbs) into LEO and 8,300 kg (18,300 lbs) into GEO—a 73 percent and 71 percent increase in payload growth over a six-year period.

For commercial launch customers, satellites are a means of satisfying customer needs, generating revenue, and serving existing, or expanding, markets. Getting a company’s satellite in orbit requires contracting the services of a launch provider. In the resulting launch contract, the launch customer pays to get a payload launched on one of the provider’s launch systems at a time, a launch window, all listed on the provider’s launch manifest.

While every customer expects a payload to be launched within the contracted launch window, as with any human endeavour, that does not always happen. Delays in launching a payload can result during development and manufacturing of the payload, from the launch provider not having sufficent launch capacity, or for a number of other reasons. Delays in launching a payload, regardless of the cause, can strongly impact a company’s bottom line, as Orbcomm’s CEO Marc J. Eisenberg made clear in an interview in 2015. With commercial satellite costs starting at the tens of millions, commercial launch customers do not typically store backup capabilities, really satellites, in orbit to take-up the slack of a delayed satellite launch. In today’s Just-In-Time world, doing so would represent an inefficient use of resources on an un-, or under-, used asset depreciating both financially and technologically.

An unmet launch window commitment caused by delays in a launch provider’s system development can force launch customers to seek other avenues for getting their payload into orbit. As the case of Avanti Communications shows, there are costs for a satellite owner associated with changing launch providers. One problem for any launch customer looking to change their ride into orbit is the dearth of available launch slots by other providers.

And then there is cost; any decision to leave SpaceX and pursue another launch provider means a considerably higher launch cost, and the sooner the desired launch the more costly. Avanti Communications’ move in 2010 to drop its launch contract for its Hylas 1 satellite with SpaceX, signed in 2007, for a launch on an Ariane 5 cost Avanti an additional $68 million. SpaceX has never been able to regain Avanti’s business; the latest Avanti Hylas 4 launch contract went to Orbital ATK.

Falcon-9 stands triumphant as it sails into Port Canaveral after launching Thaicom-8 from nearby Cape Canaveral AFS just days prior. Photo Credit: John Kraus / AmericaSpace

Falcon-9 stands triumphant as it sails into Port Canaveral after launching Thaicom-8 from nearby Cape Canaveral AFS just days prior. Photo Credit: John Kraus / AmericaSpace

Unmet launch window preconditions can also potentially cost the launch provider more than just a lost customer. In 2012, after SpaceX canceled the Falcon 1e stipulated in Orbcomm’s original September 2009 launch contract with SpaceX, Orbcomm renegotiated its launch contract to penalize any delays by SpaceX or itself in meeting the launch window, originally set for multiple launches in 2010–2014.

Orbcomm got a $4 million reduction from its original launch contract to launch between April 2013 and June 2104. Additionally, added were penalty payments by Orbcomm or SpaceX if either was six months late in the tasks specified in the new contract. While SpaceX did meet its launch commitement by launching the first group of OG2 satellites in June 2014, a 2015 amendment to the 2012 launch contract moved the launch date of the second group of satellites to September 2015. The launch of OG2/2 occured in December 2015.

SpaceX OG-2 launch Dec. 21, 2015, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

SpaceX OG-2 launch Dec. 21, 2015, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

Delays in the Falcon Heavy program were reported in late February 2016 to have caused ViaSat to move its ViaSat–2 consumer broadband satellite launch, which according to the contract announcement on January 15, 2016, was slated for launch on a Falcon Heavy in 2016, to the Ariane 5 for a launch in the first quarter of 2017.

When contacted, ViaSat indicated to AmericaSpace that the move was necessary to fulfill ViaSat’s customer’s needs in the near-term due to delays in the Falcon Heavy program. ViaSat’s contract for a 2016 Falcon Heavy launch of its ViaSat–2 was renegotiated with SpaceX to a 2019 Falcon Heavy of a ViaSat–3 class satellite. SpaceX took the additional move of reserving another Falcon Heavy for a ViaSat–3 class satellite mission that would follow.

While a near-term loss for SpaceX and gain for Ariane, ViaSat and SpaceX are continuing to work together.

SpaceX’s launch manifest is by any measure ambitious. To date, SpaceX has contracted over 110 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches through 2024, with a total of 59 launches contracted through 2016. SpaceX has launched 26 times as of May 27, 2016 (see Table of Launches).

But how has the company’s launch manifest evolved over time since SpaceX first started booking Falcon 9 launch contracts? That is, at least on the surface, a difficult question to answer. It turns out that precious little is known about details of SpaceX’s launch manifest outside the company. But that wasn’t always the case.

Beginning in 2007, SpaceX regularly updated its launch manifest, which listed the customer, year, vehicle, and launch site of upcoming missions. Finding that information today requires going back in time, so to speak, using the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” which incidentally was recently ruled as a legitimate source of evidence by a Federal Judge. Using “Wayback Machine,” SpaceX’s launch manifest published in 2007 (see Table 1), 2008 (see Table 2), 2009 (see Table 3), 2010 (see Table 4), 2011 (see Table 5), 2012 (see Table 6), 2013 (see Table 7), and 2014 (see Table 8) can be gleened.

The last day that SpaceX organized its launch manifest based on committed launch year was on Nov. 20, 2014. Beginning Nov. 21, 2014, SpaceX no longer displayed launches by year, so additional information is gleened from press releases of new launch customers.

The following is based on an examination of SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Heavy launch manifest published by SpaceX at the beginning of 2007 through late November 2014 and subsequent information from SpaceX.

SpaceX_Launch_Manifest_Timeline 2008-2016

SpaceX Launch Launch Manifest 2008–2016 Credit: AmericaSpace

Launch performance can be analyzed by taking the number of launches manifested for a given year and subtracting the number actual launches (see Table 9, Table 10, Table 11, and Table 12). This is a simplification of the analysis done by ULA for its Manifest Quarterly Report for the first quarter of 2014.

SpaceX_Falcon9_Launches_2008-2015

SpaceX Launch Launches 2008–2015 Credit: AmericaSpace

Another visualization shows the extent to which SpaceX’s contracted launches have grown from 2008 onward. As can be seen, the launch frequency of SpaceX has increased steadily since 2012. Missing from the animation are Falcon 9 landings.

SpaceX_Launch_Manifest_Timeline

Animation of SpaceX Launch History 2008–2015 Credit: AmericaSpace

To augment its launch capacity currently limited by spaceport availability constraints, SpaceX is working on adding an additional launch facility in south Texas on Boca Chica Beach, near Brownsville, Texas, assisted by funding from the state of Texas’ Spaceport Trust Fund and the Enterprise Fund. The FAA approved 12 annual launches at SpaceX’s South Texas launch site will allow the company to add more launch contracts to its launch manifest while also allowing it to whittle-down any unlaunched payloads. Ground officially broke on the Boca Chica complex in September 2014, and according to the Browsville Herald, as of mid-April, SpaceX is laying dirt, or fill, to stabilize, or supercharge, the ground. SpaceX has stated that launch operations at Boca Chica would begin sometime in 2018.

With a commitment by SpaceX’s President for 13 more launches this year, 2016 will be a seminal year for the company. Having reached a stable design for the Falcon 9, meeting such a launch rate, and launching a returned Falcon 9 first-stage, SpaceX will be both breaking new ground while assuring launch customers of meeting its launch commitments. For the company’s leadership, engineers, technicians, and other employees, 2016 will truly be transitional.


Table of Launches

Payload Orig Launch Date Actual Launch Date
Inaugural 2007 2010
NASA COTS 1 Demo 2008 2010
NASA COTS 2/3 Demo 2009 2012
NASA CRS–1 2010 2012
NASA CRS–2 2011 2013
MDA Corp (Cassiope) 2008 2013
SES–8 2013 2013
Thaicom 6 2013 2014
NASA CRS–3 2012 2014
AsiaSat 8 2014 2014
ORBCOMM OG2/1 2010 2014
AsiaSat 6 2012 2014
NASA CRS–4 2012 2014
NASA CRS–5 2013 2015
US Air Force (DSCOVR) 2014 2015
ABS–3A/Satmex 7 2014 2015
NASA CRS–6 2013 2015
Turmensat–1 2014 2015
NASA Dragon Pad Abort Test (CCiCap 2013 2015
NASA CRS–7 2013 2015
ORBCOMM OG2/2 2011 2015
NASA JASON–3 2014 2016
SES–9 2015 2016
NASA CRS–8 2014 2016
Sky Perfect JSAT–14 2015 2016
Thaicom 8 2013 2016

Table 1

2007 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Launch Vehicle Launch Site
U.S. Government (Classified) Q2 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) Q2 2008 Falcon 1 Cape Canaveral
NASA – Demo 1 Q3 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA – Demo 2 Q2 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) Q3 2009 Falcon 1 Cape Canaveral
NASA – Demo 3 Q3 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace Q3 2010 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral

Table 2

2008 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Launch Vehicle Launch Site
Falcon 9 Demo Flight 1 Q4 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS – Demo 1 Q4 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Canada: MDA Corp. Q4 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Avanti Communications: HYLAS Q2 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS – Demo 2 Q2 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS – Demo 3 Q3 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace Q1 2010 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral

Table 3

2009 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Target Date[1] Vehicle Launch Site
Falcon 9 Maiden Flight Q4 2008 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Avanti Communications (UK) 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 1 2009 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 2 2009 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 3 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 1 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace 2011 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 2 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral

Table 4

2010 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Target Date[1] Vehicle Launch Site
Falcon 9 Inaugural Flight 2009 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 1 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 2 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS Demo 3 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) 2010 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM – Multiple Flights 2010–2014 Falcon 1/e[2] Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 1 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace 2011 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 2 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 1 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 3 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 4 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 2 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2012 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[3]
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 5 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 6 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 7 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[3]
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 8 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 9 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 10 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 11 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 12 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral

Table 5

2011 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Target Date[1] Vehicle Launch Site
NASA COTS – Demo 1 2010 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS – Demo 2 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA COTS – Demo 3 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM – Multiple Flights 2011–2014 Falcon 1/e[2] Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) 2011 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 1 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 2 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 1 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 3 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 4 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2012 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[3]
Spacecom (Israel) 2012 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral[4]
DragonLab Mission 2 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 5 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 6 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 7 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[3]
NSPO (Taiwan) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Space Systems/Loral 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral[4]
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 8 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 9 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 10 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 11 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 12 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Iridium 2015–2017 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral

Table 6

2012 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Vehicle Arrival at Launch Site Vehicle Launch Site
NASA COTS 2/3 2011 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM 2012–2014 Multiple[2] Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) 2012 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 1 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 2 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Falcon Heavy Demo Flight 2012 Falcon Heavy Vandenberg
SES (Europe) 2013 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Thaicomm (Thailand) 2013 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 3 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 4 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NSPO (Taiwan) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
DragonLab Mission 1 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 5 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 6 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 7 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Space Systems/Loral 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral[4]
CONAE (Argenita) 2014 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[4]
Spacecom (Israel) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral[4]
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 8 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 9 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 10 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Astrium 2015 Falcon 1/e[2] Kwajalein
Bigelow Aeorspace 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 2 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
SES (Europe) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 11 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 12 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg[4]
Iridium – Flight 1 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 2 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 3 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 4 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 5 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 6 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 7 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 8 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg

Table 7

2013 SpaceX Launch Manifest
Customer Vehicle Arrival at Launch Site Vehicle Launch Site
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 2 2012 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM 2012–2014 Multiple[2] Cape Canaveral
MDA Corp. (Canada) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Falcon Heavy Demo Flight 2013 Falcon Heavy Vandenberg
SES (Europe) 2013 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Thaicomm (Thailand) 2013 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 3 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 4 2013 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NSPO (Taiwan) 2013 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
AsiaSat 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
AsiaSat 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 5 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 6 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 7 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Space Systems/Loral 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
DSCOVR (US Air Force) 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2014 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
DragonLab Mission 1 2014 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Asia Broadcast Satellite/Satmex 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Jason–3 for NASA 2014 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Spacecom (Israel) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 8 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 9 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 10 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 2 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
SES (Europe) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 1 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 2 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 3 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 11 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 12 2015 F9/Dragon Cape Canaveral
STP–2 (US Air Force) 2015 Falcon Heavy Cape Canaveral
Asia Broadcast Satellite/Satmex 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Iridium – Flight 4 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 5 2016 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Iridium – Flight 6 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 7 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 8 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg

Table 8

2014 SpaceX Launch Manifest

Note: Formatted as 2007–2013 Launch Manifests for Consistencey

Customer Year[1] Launch Vehicle
ORBCOMM 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 3 2014 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM OG2/1 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
ORBCOMM OG2/2 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Falcon Heavy Demo Flight 2014 Falcon Heavy Vandenberg
AsiaSat 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
AsiaSat 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flt 4 2014 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 5 2014 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 6 2014 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Space Systems/Loral 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Thales Alenia Space (Turkmensat–1) 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
DSCOVR (US Air Force) 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2014 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Asia Broadcast Satellite/Satmex 2014 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Jason–3 for NASA 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 7 2015 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NSPO (Taiwan) 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Spacecom (Israel) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 8 2015 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 9 2015 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 10 2015 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Bigelow Aeorspace 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
SES (Europe) 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
CONAE (Argenita) 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 1 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 2 2015 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
STP–2 (US Air Force) 2015 Falcon Heavy Cape Canaveral
Asia Broadcast Satellite/Satmex 2015 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 11 2016 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
NASA Resupply to ISS – Flight 12 2016 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Iridium – Flight 3 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
DragonLab Mission 1 2016 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Iridium – Flight 4 2016 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 5 2016 Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral
Iridium – Flight 6 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Iridium – Flight 7 2017 Falcon 9 Vandenberg
Intelsat 2017 Falcon Heavy Cape Canaveral
DragonLab Mission 2 2018 Dragon & Falcon 9 Cape Canaveral

Table 9

2015 Launch Backlog
Payload Orig Launch Date
NRO Payload 2015
Spacecom AMOS–6 2015
US Air Force STP–2 2015
NASA CRS–11 2015
NASA CRS–12 2015
Intelsat Payload TBD 2015
Iridium NEXT–1 2015
Iridium NEXT–2 2015
Iridium NEXT–3 2015
NASA Dragon Crew CCtCap 2015

Table 10

2014 Launch Backlog
Payload Orig Launch Date
NASA In-Flt Abort (CCiCap) 2014
ABS–2A/Satmex 9 2014
NASA CRS–9 2014
NASA CRS–10 2014

Table 11

2013 Launch Backlog
Payload Orig Launch Date
SAOCOM 1B (CONAE 1B) 2013
NSPO Formosat–5 2013
Astrobotic/Hakuto Lunar X 2013

Table 12

2012 & Earlier Launch Backlog
Payload Orig Launch Date
Falcon Heavy Demo 2012
SAOCOM 1A (CONAE 1A) 2012
SS/L Payload TBD 2012
DragonLab 2 2011
Dragon Lab 1 2010
Bigelow BA 330 2008

  1. Target dates are for vehicle arrival at launch site.  ↩
  2. ORBCOMM launches aboard Falcon 1, 1/e were changed-over to Falcon 9 upon cancellation of Falcon 1.  ↩
  3. Vandenberg or Kwajalein, depending on range availability.  ↩
  4. Or Kwajalein, depending on availability.  ↩

45 comments to A Review of SpaceX’s Launch Manifest History

  • Lori R.

    wow. I’m impressed, Jim. This super intelligent, informative article by the founder of AmericaSpace is a must-read for anyone interested in the commercial space program. Gwynne will receive a copy in T minus 5 seconds! Thanks for the hard work that clearly went into researching and writing this informative (and challenging) article. She ceertainly has her work cut out for her in managing this complicated, ever-changing manifest. — Lori Robin

  • Joe

    “To date, SpaceX has contracted over 110 Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches through 2024, with a total of 59 launches contracted through 2016. SpaceX has launched 26 times as of May 27, 2016 (see Table of Launches).”

    Hi Jim,

    Just to make sure I am understanding this correctly, in order to meet their original contract commitments through the end of 2016 SpaceX would have to launch an additional 33 times by the end of the year (an average of more than once a week)?

    • Hey Joe,

      I cannot definitively conclude what are the current terms of launch contracts between SpaceX and the customers of the 33 remaining launch commitments through the end of 2016.

    • Ben

      Asking how many launches are required by the end of the year to meet their “original” contract requirements seems a bit silly.

      It would seem very likely that many of those contracts specified launches BEFORE 2016.
      Thus, even it SpaceX was somehow able to launch 33 more missions this year, they will still have failed to “meet their original contract commitments”.

      SpaceX will simply continue working through their manifest, more or less in-order, until each customers launch is completed.

      On the other hand, I would think it is very likely that many of those contracts have penalties of some variety for delays included. (With the possible exception of the NASA CRS missions).

      In that sense since they are still following the original contract, they may not have necessarily even failed to meet their contracted obligations as they are still following that contract (penalties and all).

      Here is a made up example of what I’m talking about.
      A company contracts with SpaceX to launch their satellite April-May 2015.
      But the contract has a clause saying if the launch is delayed (And the delay is SpaceX’s fault), the company will get a discount.

      April-May 2015: company pays $70 million

      June-Dec 2015: company pays $50 million

      2016: company pays $40 million.

      etc

      • Ben

        I forgot to add:

        Thus even a launch in 2016 would still be meeting original contracted requirements, SpaceX may just be losing money.

        • Joe

          Hi Ben,

          As my post above may have indicated (admittedly sarcastic crack about the Donner Party) my interest was in how much SpaceX is able to live up to its ambitious past promises as a way of judging future performance, not how they are handling their problems with past underperformance.

          Musk is promising flights rates (of vehicles much larger/more complex than the Falcon 9) that would dwarf the past promises and if there ever were an attempt to put people on Mars whose survival depended on those future promises being kept it would be an interesting situation.

          • Ben

            Musk is nothing if not optimistic about schedules. Even the (very) biased commenters over at /r/SpaceX freely admit (even expect) things to take at least 50% longer than he claims.

            Current Schedule in “Elon” time:
            2018: 1 Falcon Heavy sends Red Dragon mission to mars
            2020: 2 Falcon Heavies send 2 Red Dragon missions to mars
            2022: First Mars Mission of Mars Colonial Transport (launched on BFR)

            So, he wants to develop, build, and launch to mars a ~100 person habitat module on an all new SLS-class rocket in 6 years…
            Oh and SpaceX doesn’t have a 3 billion/year budget to spend on either.

            As to how he expects to pull that off, your guess is a good as mine.

            Although, it sounds like SpaceX intends to start sending missions at every Mars transfer window. I would expect SpaceX will be able to do that reliably before sending humans. But, then again I don’t think they’ll be sending a MCT to Mars in 2022 either. I guess I just not optimistic enough.

            • Joe

              About the SpaceX Mars “plan” (they will apparently introduce another new one later this year) it keeps changing so is hard to analyze a moving target, but in the past Musk has stated:

              (1) The BFR will have the capability (using only chemical upper stages) to place a 100 tonne payload on the Martian surface in a single launch. That would require the launcher to place the mass equivalent of a fully fueled Saturn 5 moon rocket into LEO on a single launch (hat tip to John Hare for that analogy). That is a lot bigger than even a Block II SLS.

              (2) The payload (at 100 tonnes) will carry 100 colonists. 1 tonne/passenger, going to be pretty crowded for a month’s long trip.

              (3) In order to build up his enormous Martian Colony it will fly 1,000 times/year. But Martian launch windows open only once every 26 months. The duration of the windows is dependent on the capabilities of the launch vehicle. With only chemical rockets used it is generous to give a 30 day duration. That means to average 1,000 flights/year during those thirty days/26 months the “plan” would require launching a BFR every 20 minutes around the clock for the entire 30 days. A truly aggressive launch schedule.

              • Clio Marsden

                Another way to take your comment is you’ve already conceded SpaceX will be capable of landing people on the surface of Mars to worry about re-supply…be careful someone may tag you as a NewSpace fanboy.

                We’ll see about MCT architecture in Sept. Most dynamic organizations that are trying to do innovative things have moving targets and changes in direction. Musk’s notorious schedule ambition is a handicap in your eyes but it drives SpaceX to make huge strides in a short amount of time. The architecture has not been officially announced so working off of leaks or early concepts doesn’t mean much. I would be surprised if it matched exactly what the prevailing thoughts are. We know that Raptor was resized down to around 500K thrust from over 1M originally because the systems engineering works better that way after the numbers were crunched (even with the extra plumbing). Flexibility in the design, as it is fleshed out, is a good thing. Being stuck with parts that you must use regardless if ideal is a bad thing. In any case what will be announced will be significantly larger than SLS no matter what. So it should be exciting to see how it turns out.

                • Joe

                  “Another way to take your comment is you’ve already conceded SpaceX will be capable of landing people on the surface of Mars to worry about re-supply…”

                  Anybody who jumped to that conclusion would be indulging in some very fanciful wishful thinking. Musk indicated that size payload and launch tempo were required to get the colonists to Mars as well. So it is unlikely he will be transporting 100 people at a time to Mars any time soon. Happily, that means he will also not likely be the first to starve someone on Mars anytime soon either. Just couldn’t resist the Donner Party reference.

                  “be careful someone may tag you as a NewSpace fanboy.”

                  Already too late for that to be a first. When I recently said something positive about Blue Origin’s work on the BE3/BE4 Engines, the same SpaceX fans who call me an Old Space Troglodyte when I say something positive about the SLS immediately called me (what else) – a Blue Origin Fanboy. The only thing you have to do to get called names by SpaceX fans is say anything positive about anything but SpaceX. 🙂

                  “Most dynamic organizations that are trying to do innovative things have moving targets and changes in direction. Musk’s notorious schedule ambition is a handicap in your eyes but it drives SpaceX to make huge strides in a short amount of time.”

                  There should be a great future for you in SpaceX PR department.

                  • Clio Marsden

                    Not PR. SpaceX uses ‘sparse matrix’ engineering. Decisions are made (not deferred) and backtrack if the path is not suitable, rather than stalling waiting for all the boxes to be checked before any progress is made.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZTFh-y06EE

                    F9 just turned 6 years old. That is astonishing progress in 6 years by any aerospace development measure. If FH is flying by the end of the year that would be from barely making it to orbit to the largest operational launch vehicle in under 7 years. Again we’ll see how it shakes out.

                    • Joe

                      Thank you for making my point.

                      In numerical analysis, a sparse matrix is a matrix in which most of the elements are zero (that is a lot of pertinent information is missing). By contrast, if most of the elements are nonzero, then the matrix is considered dense. Sparse matrices are used in engineering applications when solving partial differential equations.

                      As a design philosophy it means basically “taking a flyer”. It may surprise you to learn that I agree with Rasky (but you over use that one short video) it is a good one for low risk developments, but those would not include applications where lives (or even large amounts of capital) are at risk.

                      Used in the context that you chose, it is a buzz phrase.

                      If you want to do more to impress SpaceX PR folks, try reviewing a few of (NASA Administrator) Bolden’s old speeches and add these buzz phrases to your list:
                      (1) World Class
                      (2) Bold
                      (3) Game Changing
                      (4) Twenty First Century
                      And of course the ever popular
                      (5) Paradigm Shifting.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      Hence my use of quotes around term, maybe I should have used double quotes? Yes, I can lift Wikipedia too.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparse_matrix

                      It is important if you are doing something new to not be pinned down early on. As the design matures I would expect the matrix to fill in and certainly by operational revisions be well understood. I have not used any of these other terms (that I can recall). Do you think classic NASA approach would have gotten SpaceX to where it is today? If SpaceX were to unveil a vehicle at only 75 tons SoM and less people but still managed to put it on Mars, would they be a failure in your eyes because the target moved? Would it be a failure if it were 100 tons but over 2 launches to refuel at LEO? (which is what I think is most likely). At one point shuttle concept had jet engine that bolted on for transport…good move to change direction on that one. Shuttle was suppose to fly multiple times a month too. I am trying to tease out under what conditions success could be arrived at other than never missing a schedule and never changing approach as the design/concept matures.

                    • Joe

                      I do not need to lift from wkipedia or anything else to know the real uses of sparse matrix matrices in solving partial differential equations Clio. I am an engineer trained in (among many other things) precisely that.

                      I therefore also know that using the term in a programmatic sense simply means making an early decision with much less information and risking having to go back and start over again.

                      Rasky used the term to mean precisely that and (at about 1:40 into the less than 3 minute video) describes it as being useful for Low Cost/Low Consequence efforts as training exercises for new engineers. This is not a new concept. Search on the name Harry Stine and you should be able to find similar proposals from decades ago.

                      You are advocating using it on a booster (according to you) much larger than the Block II SLS and on which you would like lives to be dependent.

                      Your privilege, but your video link does not support your position.

                      You like to use technical terminology you do not seem to understand in an apparent attempt to intimidate others (Whoo – Clio used a big word, I’m scared).

                      You will have to do better than that.

                    • Clio Marsden

                      No need to “school” me on the term used casually vs the strict mathematical definition, already knew that. It is obvious when a technical mathematical term is used to describe design/program process that it is illustrative more that definitive, duh. I’ve used manipulating matrices to solve multi-variable economics problems too.

                      Rasky couches his suggestions, watching all the videos, in the realization that NASA institutional inertia and other factors makes large scale adoption impractical to impossible. Your claim is bunk given the evidence. Dragon/v2, F9 and FH are not “Low Cost/Low Consequence” programs and yet have used this approach. Rasky only claims that this how NASA should use it because that is only way NASA can use it given the reality of the world. Half a loaf better than none.

                      I am not saying that one should wing it or that all projects should have minimal understanding before moving forward equally. Simply saying there is a lot to be said for turning back the dial a bit and making some faster moves early and seeing how in plays out. Fear of failure at all cost is not healthy either. I am now tapping out. Have a good one.

                    • Joe

                      “Rasky couches his suggestions, watching all the videos, in the realization that NASA institutional inertia and other factors makes large scale adoption impractical to impossible.”

                      So you believe you can read the man’s mind and thus “know” he would say what you would like him to, but is somehow not allowed to do so.

                      Hard to discuss something with someone who thinks themselves clairvoyant.

                      Everything useful (and some things not so useful) to be said about “‘sparse matrix’ engineering” has been said.

                      You have a good one as well.

  • mkent

    A few corrections, if I may:

    1) SpaceX flew only seven Falcon 9’s in 2015, not eight. The failure was on its sixth launch, not its seventh.

    2) Hylas-4 is being launched by Arianespace, not Orbital. Orbital is the satellite manufacturer.

    3) The payload table should be to GTO, not GEO. Even a Delta IV Heavy can only launch 14,900 lbs directly into GEO.

    4) The payload numbers in the table for the Falcon 9 v1.0 are actually for the v1.1. The v1.0 could loft only 4,540 kg to GTO, as evidenced by both Wikipedia and SpaceX’s own website through May 2012 — two years after the 1.0 debuted. The website listed Falcon 9’s payload to GTO as 4,850 kg from June 2012 through April 2016, almost coinciding with the lifespan of the v1.1.

    5) I’m pretty sure the new payload numbers are for an upgraded Falcon 9 not scheduled to launch until 2018 or 2019, not the Falcon 9 v1.2 (also called the v1.1 full-thrust) that’s currently flying. I believe this because a) I don’t think you get a 70%+ improvement in payload by just densifying the propellants and a minor second-stage stretch, b) Falcon 9 v1.2 used a special burn-to-completion mode to put the 5,270 kg SES-9 payload into a GTO that was 1,766 m/s short of GEO — barely above the standard GTO, and c) if the current Falcon 9 could lift 8,300 kg to GTO, why is ViaSat switching to Ariane? The 6,700 kg ViaSat-2 should be well within its capabilities, yet SpaceX is forcing them to wait for a years-late Heavy instead of launching their payload for them now. SpaceX has always said their prices don’t factor in re-usability, so ViaSat paid for an expendable launch. SpaceX should be happy to launch ViaSat-2 on an expendable Falcon 9 instead of the expendable Falcon Heavy that ViaSat paid for, if they could. I don’t think they can. d) Ditto the 5,900 kg EuropaSat/HellasSat-3, which is leaving the Falcon Heavy for a Proton. e) Ditto the 6,070 kg Inmarsat 5F4.

    BTW, great article! That took some real effort to pull together. Thanks for the resource.

    • Neil

      This is an interesting item MKent. I’ve never heard of another major upgrade to the Falcon. TTBOMK the current design is fixed with only minor changes that may improve reusability.
      Could you provide a source for this information?
      Cheers

      1. I used the following for SpaceX’s 2015 Launches:
        1. NASA CRS-5 on January 10, 2015
        2. DSCOVR on February 11, 2015
        3. Asia Broadcasting Satellite/EutelSat (SatMex) on March 2, 2015
        4. NASA CRS-6 on April 14, 2015
        5. Turkmensat-1 on April 27, 2015
        6. Dragon Pad Abort Test May 6, 2015
        7. NASA CRS-7 on June 28, 2015
        8. ORBCOMM (OG2/2) on December 21, 2015
      2. Thank you for the correction that Hylas -4 is manufactured by OSC and to be launched by Arianespace.
      3. Thank you for the correction on Table 4. Yes, that should have been GTO, not geosynch.
      4. Thank you for the payload number for Falcon 9 1.0.
      5. For the Falcon 9 1.2 numbers, which I took from Elon’s tweet, I assumed those were for F91.2. Thanks for the update.

      Lastly, thanks for these corrections; they will make the article better. I have to double-check before putting them up, but I do appreciate it.

      Lastly, please excuse the mentally deficient formatting. Apparently WordPress and HTML don’t always play nicey-nicey.

      • mkent

        Ahh. I see, now. You’re counting the Dragon 2 pad abort test. I didn’t count that because that test vehicle wasn’t a Falcon 9 and was never meant to reach orbit. So it really shouldn’t count towards the orbital tally expressed in “After launching six customers into orbit in the first half of 2015…”

        Sorry for nitpicking. It’s actually a very good article. It’s obvious you put a lot of effort into it. Thanks for that.

        • Wrongway Corrigan

          Counting Dragon 2 pad abort but not counting Grasshopper or Dragon 2 Dragonfly testing.

          That seems to not fit. Either low altitude component tests count as launches or they dont.

          • Just as a refresher, the title of the article is, “A Review of SpaceX’s Launch Manifest History”. As noted in the article, the launch manifest content is taken from SpaceX’s own launch manifests from 2007-2014, with supplemental material for 2015, but no interpretation or finessing.

            If you look on SpaceX’s launch manifests, which are at the end of the article, the abort tests are listed, or manifested.

            The Grasshopper tests, or any internal SpaceX launch tests, are not manifested.

            Given all of this, how not sure how one who read the article would think that things seem to “not fit.”

  • keith mcfall

    I think it would be good to consider adding total launches for comparing with the backlog. Both are summed/integrated quantities. A casual observer would then be able to see how launches are either catching up or diverging from contracted flights.

    • The total number of launches is in the article.

      • keith mcfall

        I forgot to say that I was referring to the graph. “Contracted” and “Actual” refer to annual values, while “Backlog” is the running total of annual “Contracted” minus “Actual”. It is like plotting A(t), C(t), and the integral of A(t)-C(t) with respect to time. I was suggest adding the integral of A(t) with respect to time to for a more (I think anyway) apples to apples comparison with the other integral.

      • keith mcfall

        On the other hand, your existing set makes it clear how many years of launches would be needed to clear the backlog … so never mind 🙂

  • Jim R

    The backlog numbers are misleading, contracted dates change and the delay is not always caused by SpaceX, and some of the entries in the table are not contracts at all. I’m pretty sure “analysis” like this is exactly the reason SpaceX stopped updating their manifest with dates.

    Bigelow: They reserved a launch slot a long time ago, but they don’t have anything to launch, SpaceX convinced them to leave the reservation in.
    DragonLab: These missions need a customer, I don’t think any has signed up yet.
    ISS resupply: NASA only need 3 Dragon missions per year, having 5 listed for 2016 is just not realistic from customer point of view.
    CONAE: This is delayed by a lawsuit against Argentina government
    NSPO: Taiwan just put the satellite together early this year.
    Spacecom: Satellite is not ready until this year
    SS/L: This is probably just a placeholder for future SS/L clients, instead of an actual satellite
    Iridium: This is delayed by several factors, include payload, finance and Dnepr.

    • I think that the article is pretty clear that this is a history of SpaceX’s launch manifest as published by SpaceX from 2007 through late 2014.

      That contract dates change both due in part to the customer and launch provider is noted in the article. All of the items are still as far as I could confirm with the launch customers or SpaceX still contracted to launch by SpaceX, noting the changes from Avanti Communications, ViaSat, and possibly Inmarsat.

      So I’m not sure your comments are germane to the purpose of this article, which was simply to look at how SpaceX’s launch manifest has changed over time, all according to SpaceX’s own launch manifest, via “WayBackMachine”.

      OTOH, you raise several negative points about SpaceX launch customers, none of which I’m sure those customers would be happy with me publishing without attribution. Those points might make a good follow-on article But, to be fair, I need you to email me directly, identify yourself, and provide by email and voice confirmation a way for me to confirm your identity and points with either SpaceX or all of the launch providers you’ve listed. Otherwise, our conversation just ended.

      さようなら

      • Jim R

        “That contract dates change both due in part to the customer and launch provider is noted in the article.”: Where? I’m not seeing it.

        “OTOH, you raise several negative points about SpaceX launch customers, none of which I’m sure those customers would be happy with me publishing without attribution.”: Delay is common in the space industry, nothing negative about that. There’s no need to publish them again since most of these are already reported publicly by other news sources.

        • Matt McClanahan

          The notation in the article you’re looking for is:

          While every customer expects a payload to be launched within the contracted launch window, as with any human endeavour, that does not always happen. Delays in launching a payload can result during development and manufacturing of the payload, from the launch provider not having sufficent launch capacity, or for a number of other reasons.

          As for some of the customer-related delays, I’d tend to agree that a number of these are either not surprising or already reported on.

          I’m really not sure why DragonLab appears in the manifest at all, since SpaceX doesn’t seem to have yet found an actual customer for such a mission. If they are seeking customers, they’ve been pretty quiet about it. The most I’m aware of is that they did a press release in 2008 obliquely referring to “prospective customers” following a workshop, and nothing seems to have been spoken of DragonLab since then. Considering F9 wouldn’t fly for two more years, you can imagine how firm the commitments from a 2008 workshop were.

          http://www.dailybreeze.com/article/ZZ/20081104/NEWS/811049855
          http://www.spacex.com/press/2012/12/19/spacex-adds-two-dragonlabtm-missions-manifest

          As for Bigelow’s multiple manifest entries, I can’t help but wonder what’s gone through his mind over the last ten years. I certainly don’t envy him. After successfully lofting two prototype habitats, which by all accounts were totally successful, all the time since then he’s been in an almost comical no man’s land. His situation is worse than a catch-22, he has to juggle how much of a standing workforce to maintain (he’s gone through a couple hiring and layoff cycles) with securing customers (MOU’s don’t really cut it) with manufacturing and factory development (why build tooling and a spacecraft without a customer?) with the biggest hurdle, the ongoing lack of a transport vehicle (which certainly won’t become available before 2019).

  • David Baker

    A great article and worthy of filing as a record of note. However, and not to diminish the importance of the work here, a defining parameter in launch vehicle selection after launch cost is the insurance premium, which itself depends on the market’s perceived reliability value of the selected launcher. Low premiums are hard to obtain and easily skewed by even a single failure, raising the premium and toppling a low-cost offer advantage over competitors. Reliability and flight performance affects insurance greatly and this must be factored in to any assessment of a launcher’s true placing in the catalogue of available rockets. Insurance is a vital part of a customer’s financial plan and getting the money depends on getting insurance.

  • Jeff Findley

    Good article. Well balanced and takes mentions pretty much every factor influencing SpaceX and its ever changing launch manifest.

  • Tracy the Troll

    Clearly Musk is in a very big hurry to get off the Earth…In a recent interview with ReCode.. http://www.recode.net/2016/6/6/11840936/elon-musk-tesla-spacex-mars-full-video-code His number one fear is from Strong AI developed by Goggle that will consolidate power on the planet into the hands of a very few people..He was hardly concerned with the US election rather how to stop the coming of the Goggle created AI. In that regard anything he does with SpaceX will seem illogical and haphazard in his quest to get to Mars.. I can only believe that the recent events in Orlando will accelerate his plans..

  • Lori R.

    Question to all the self-appointed critics and editors
    here: “Where’s YOUR article, Dude?”

  • Jeff Wright

    Great article Jim

    You know, I’d like to see a history of the shuttle derived HLLV–all its enemies–and its triumph as SLS

    • James

      Jeff Wright and Jim Hillhouse –

      “Great article Jim”, I’ll second that compliment and also strongly agree with Jeff’s next idea.

      “I’d like to see a history of the shuttle derived HLLV–all its enemies–and its triumph as SLS”

      And some comparisons of the SLS with the Direct Team’s proposed Jupiter family of launchers could also be useful in such a series of articles about “shuttle derived HLLV”.

      “The Jupiter family of Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles is part of the proposed DIRECT Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle architecture.” From: ‘Jupiter (rocket family) Wikipedia’
      At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_(rocket_family)

  • Karol

    I love the smell of a Jim Hillhouse article in the morning. It smells like . . . victory! Great work Jim!

  • He explained what I’d been missing, why I’d been missing it, and
    most importantly, he told me the 1 thing I required to do, to make every little thing commence operating for me the way I wanted and required it to.

    Feel free to surf to my webpage; how to
    manifest a dream job; santosj.me,