Col. Walt Jackim, vice commander of the U.S. Air Force‘s 45th Space Wing, has projected the Space Coast in Florida to deploy as many as 32 launches from five different rockets in 2017, Florida Today reported Tuesday.
James Dean writes the projected 32 launches will surpass 2016’s record of 23 launch operations which was the Eastern Range’s busiest year in the last two decades.
Expected launches for the year include the first of at least seven United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches, Orbital ATK‘s Minotaur IV rocket launch and SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 launch and Falcon Heavy rocket debut.
The report noted that the growing number of launches from Florida in the next five years resulted from an increase in companies that develop rockets including newcomers such as Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, Stratolaunch Systems and Virgin Galactic.
Jackim noted that resources might not be ready to support an estimated 48 annual launches from the Space Coast beginning in 2021 when the test range starts to commence weekly or bi-weekly launches.