SpaceX ends 2021 with launch record and 100 successful booster landings

SpaceX has launched 31 Falcon 9s this year, beating 2020 by five launches. Post-launch, the company stated it is now done for 2021, making its CRS-24 mission for NASA its final launch until January.

SpaceX CRS-24: Final SpaceX launch of 2021

Following the launch of two Falcon 9s over the weekend, SpaceX launched another rocket to round out the year early Tuesday morning. The mission was CRS-24, the 24th (hence the name) resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Onboard was more food, supplies, and experiments for the orbiting station. The 6,500 pounds of cargo will arrive at the station early Wednesday morning. Once there, the seven crew members will begin to unload the cargo and set up the new experiments.

You can watch SpaceX’s Dragon 2 spacecraft docking on NASA’s live stream. You can find it on most social media sites, YouTube, and NASA’s website. You can also check out our

CRS-24 was SpaceX’s final launch of 2021, rounding out the year with 31 in total, crushing its 2020 record by five launches, and setting a new overall record for the company. Out of the 31 launches, 16 were internal Starlink missions (three more than 2020), three crewed missions (two for NASA and one private), and 94% were on reflown boosters.

The Falcon 9’s Merlin engines firing during liftoff of CRS-24. Credit: Jared Locke / Space Explored

SpaceX humbly bragged about its year-end stats on its website, and rightfully so, as it has proven to be the top commercial launch provider from the United States. Only behind China as a whole country for more launches.

100 succesful booster landings

The second milestone made on CRS-24’s launch was one of reusability. Six years ago today, SpaceX landed its first booster at LZ-1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (then Air Force Station), and today the company reached the milestone of 100 booster landings.

That means we get to talk again about how far reusability has come since SpaceX first proposed landing its booster all those years ago. As mentioned when we reported on the announcement of Relativity’s Terran R and Rocket Lab’s Neutron, reusability has swept the industry and is now considered a must-have for survival.

SpaceX has undoubtedly changed the outlook on reusable rockets and has carved out its place as an innovator in the space launch industry. So when B1069 returns to the port sometime this week, it will be a fantastic moment for the hard-working SpaceX employees who made it happen.

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