Driving the Pace for Space

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dakota Raub
  • Space Launch Delta 45 Public Affairs

In 2017, the ‘Drive to 48’ campaign was a, 45th Space Wing, now known as Space Launch Delta 45, initiative to reach 48 launches in a 12 month time frame from the Eastern Range. In order to accomplish this, the challenge was to launch once a week in order to meet the goal.

On Aug. 27, 2022, a Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sky carrying 54 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., making it the 48th launch in a 12 month time period. 

“The ‘Drive to 48’ was a goal set in place in order to advance our space capabilities and inspire innovation to meet growing demand for space launch range capacity,” said U.S. Space Force Col. Mark Shoemaker, Vice Commander for Operations. “It is important to note we were striving for one launch a week and now, that is the new normal here on the Eastern Range.”

While one launch a week was the goal just a few years ago, the range can support two launches in a single day. On Aug. 4, 2022, the Eastern Range supported two launches in a span of 13 hours, the fastest since 1967.

While the ‘Drive to 48’ is in the rearview mirror, the Eastern Range is aiming for more ambitious goals.

“Our goal is to continuously get better and increase our launch pace capacity while preserving public safety and protecting our critical infrastructure,” said Shoemaker. “We are not setting a specific number for this new goal, but getting to 100-200 launches a year is not far out of reach. Our new drive is to speed up, innovate at every level, and continue to show what it means to be the World’s Premier Gateway to Space.”