By Eric Ralph
July 4, 2021
Less than five days after SpaceX completed its 20th successful Falcon 9 launch of 2021, a Long March 4C rocket lifted off with a meteorology satellite in tow, carry the country of China past its own same 20-flight milestone.
Excluding SpaceX and China, the rest of the world combined completed its 20th orbital launch hours before SpaceX when US startup Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket successfully flew for the second time. In simpler terms, relative to any other country, space agency, or company, SpaceX led the world in orbital launches for the first half of 2021 – the first time in history a single company has managed that feat.