Bad weather forced SpaceX to close plans to launch a record 143 small satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday.
The team was asked to recycle for another attempt at 10am EST on Sunday morning when forecasters estimated a 70% probability of acceptable conditions.
Scores of satellites above the Falcon 9 are the most determined to be launched by a single rocket, eclipsing the previous 104-satellite mark established by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in February 2017.
The mission, known as Transporter 1, is SpaceX’s first dedicated rideshare flight in a program intended to provide low-cost access to operators of small satellites, otherwise carrying large, high-priority satellites There may be a problem riding on a rocket.
“Excited about offering low cost in class for small companies!” SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted on Friday.
SpaceX charges a relatively low $ 1 million to launch the 440-pound satellite and pays $ 5,000 for 2.2 pounds above that base level. The company says that transporter missions will be carried out every four months or so as needed.
Transporter 1 Flight exposes an ongoing debate in the aerospace community about the need to control space traffic management as more and more small satellites populate low-Earth orbit. Among the concerns: the risk of a collision that can create debris clouds and a threat to other spacecraft.
NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel stated, “Given the recent growth in non-traditional commercial space missions, including the deployment of large numbers of satellites for satellite servicing, space tourism and worldwide Internet access, the current roles and It may be appropriate to update the responsibilities. ” A recent report has written.
“As things stand today, there are no clear lines of authority for direction among the many entities working in space.”