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 Commercial space flights blast off infographic
Graphic charts number of commercial space flights since 2000.


SpaceX leads the field in commercial space flight

By Ninian Carter

December 19, 2023 - SpaceX leads the field of commercial space flight operators by a wide margin, having launched 281 flights since 2008, 90 of them in 2023 alone. A total of 494 U.S. commercial flights have flown since 2000.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX leads the field of commercial space flight operators by a long margin, launching 281 flights since 2008 – most of which took off in the last three years.

Other notable billionaire space pioneers include Richard Branson with 20 launches of his Virgin Galactic and now defunct Virgin Orbit launch vehicles, and Jeff Bezos with 17 launches of his Blue Origin rockets.

SpaceX has also become a valuable launch partner for the U.S. government and NASA, currently holding a multibillion-dollar contract with the latter to develop the massive Starship rocket into a lunar lander capable of delivering astronauts to the moon.

A recent increase in heavy launch frequency, particularly at SpaceX, is accelerating a fall in costs – a one kilogram package can be now sent into low-Earth orbit for just $1,500.

SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, is the world’s second-most valuable privately held startup with a valuation of $180 billion – China’s ByteDance is the most valuable at $225 billion.

PUBLISHED: 19/12/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images