Watch every SpaceX launch from 2020 and say Auld Lang Syne with fire

This year has been one to block from our memories. But all the progress made in space by Elon Musk's rocket company is worth another look.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
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Eric Mack
2 min read

SpaceX aimed for up to 39 launches in 2020. The company wound up with 26, which still makes it the most prolific year for Elon Musk and his team, and second only to China and its Long March family of rockets with an unofficial count of 30.

Most notably, SpaceX's number includes two missions that carried astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon, setting a number of milestones for human spaceflight. The Demo 2 mission that took NASA's Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the space station was the first crewed commercial flight and the first from US soil since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. SpaceX did it again with four astronauts, including one from Japan's space agency, JAXA, on the Crew-1 mission in November.

The 14 Starlink satellite launches made up more than half the SpaceX flights this year, brought the broadband constellation closer to its first 1,000 flying routers in orbit and enabled the Better Than Nothing beta to begin in October.

In addition to those 26 Falcon 9 flights, SpaceX also continued development of its next-generation Starship rocket at its south Texas facility. This culminated in the dramatic first high-altitude flight of a prototype, which was deemed a success despite the hard, explosive landing after reaching about 8 miles (12.5 kilometers) in altitude.

In 2021 we can expect even more of the same, with scheduled Falcon 9 missions carrying Starlinks, bigger satellites and more astronauts to space. There are even a few Falcon Heavy launches on the calendar, which we didn't get to see in 2020. And certainly we'll be seeing more from the Starship development team in Texas.

Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy every launch Elon and his pals brought us during what was otherwise a year we'd rather forget.