“As SpaceX’s launch cadence and manifest for missions from Florida continues to grow, we are seeking to expand our capabilities and streamline operations to launch, land and re-fly our Falcon family of rockets,” SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said in a statement.
The company is fresh off the debut of an enhanced version of its Falcon 9 rocket, called Block 5. SpaceX launched and landed its first Falcon 9 Block 5 on May 11, with Musk announcing plans for this new rocket to achieve a host of new milestones for SpaceX, including launching and landing the same rocket twice in 24 hours – as early as next year.
SpaceX is aiming for at least 24 launches this year, on pace to shatter its record 18 successful launches completed in 2017. The company has already completed 11 launches – including the debut of Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world. President and COO Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC in May the company expects lower demand in 2019, with about the same number of launches expected as 2017.