According to a recent report, the United States once again leads the world in the number of launched space missions, a feat unaccomplished for more than a decade, according to Ars Technica.
Twenty-nine launches reportedly occured over the course of last year, blasting past the space programs of our contemporaries.
The only country close to this number ended up being Russia, with 20 launches, followed by China, with 19.
Space X reportedly led the charge in successful launches with a total of 18 missions using its Falcon 9 rocket system, a new record for the company.
All 29 U.S. space launches reportedly went off successfully, while Russia and China each logged one failure.
SpaceX said it wants to things even farther in 2018:
In an interview with Space News, company COO Gwynne Shotwell said they plan to exceed their record number of 2017 launches.
You potentially watched their last launch of 2017 light up the sky over Los Angeles:
“We will increase our cadence next year about 50 percent,” Shotwell said in a statment. “We’ll fly more next year than this year, knock on wood, and I think we will probably level out at about that rate, 30 to 40 per year.”
The company currently boasts three U.S. based launch pads, according to Ars Technica, and they’ll be firing on all cylinders-or thrusters-in 2018.
Shotwell said SpaceX’s launches this year will also likely include putting satellites into orbit for telecomm companies.
Ars speculates that the U.S.’ main competition in the space race in 2018 will be China, who plans to crank up their output after losing a valuable rocket last year, a setback leaving the country’s primary space contractor out of commission for around three months.