SpaceX launched a batch of 143 spacecraft into space from Florida on Sunday morning as part of the company’s new cost-cutting program SmallSat Rideshare, breaking the record for most satellites lifted into space in a single launch.
The Transporter-1 mission launches a lucrative business line for SpaceX, which in 2019 unveiled SmallSat Rideshare, which is essentially vehicle escorts for dozens of satellites of various shapes and sizes. The program provides relatively inexpensive access to space to small satellite companies, starting at $ 1 million for the first £ 485.
Much like Rideshare Uber, the company’s tiny satellite can take a trip into space with other spacecraft instead of purchasing an entire rocket for a much higher price.
After canceling an initial launch attempt on Saturday due to bad weather, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted 24 hours after the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch pad at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, sending a mix of shoebox-sized CubeSats and much heavier small satellites to 326 mile-high polar orbit – an unusual trajectory for the Florida launch site. SpaceX launched its first polar mission from Florida in August last year.
The launch, SpaceX’s third launch so far this year, marks the largest number of satellites carried into space aboard a single rocket, a record previously set by the 2017 launch of an Indian satellite carrying 104 satellites. The 143rd spacecraft on board SpaceX Falcon 9 contains 48 Earth imaging satellites dubbed SuperDoves from planet Earth, 17 communications satellites for Toronto-based Kepler, and 30 small satellites for the United States and Europe that have been pre-loaded. Berlin, Germany.
Also aboard the flight are small capsules of human ashes arranged by Celestis, a spaceflight memorial company. Ten Starlink satellites cover a short distance, bringing SpaceX towards the 1000 mark for the number of active satellites in space supporting the broadband Internet constellation.
DARPA, the Pentagon’s research and development agency, pulled out of the flight-sharing mission earlier this month after two 187-pound satellites were exposed during a launch in Cape Canaveral.
The Transporter-1 mission, which comes just four days after SpaceX60 launched from its Starlink satellites into space, keeps pace with what has been set to be an eventful year in orbit as SpaceX, OneWeb and others race to build massive collections of the Internet. Satellites. In the past 16 days, SpaceX has launched more satellites into space than the entire world launched in any year before 2013, according to data compiled by Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer and an expert in satellite tracking.
Rideshare’s larger rocket missions are capturing the growing demand for affordable launch services from small satellite companies, increasing competition with companies like Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit with smaller missiles designed to launch dedicated small satellites.
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