SpaceX’s Transporter-1 mission was the first in the new rideshare program that SpaceX announced in 2019. The company said at the time that it would make “regularly scheduled” launches of its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket, carrying large batches of small satellites, or “smaller ones”. “Instead of focusing on a large, primary payload.
Typically, smaller ones reach into orbit by tagging with larger, more expensive satellites, and the waiting list can be long and unpredictable. But a major push in the launch industry is to directly cater to the fast growing small scale industry. Dozens of new rocket companies are promising to build scale-down rockets that can provide quick and easy launches for smaller ones. Two such companies, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit, have successfully shipped their downsized rockets to Orbit and started commercial operations.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are much larger than Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit’s rockets, and they are typically used to launch hefty communications or spy satellites or dragon spacecraft, which allow astronauts and cargo to fly internally Ferry to and from the space station.
Deciding to dedicate additional missions to only launching batches of small people is a company first, and is an indication of how much interest in the industry has grown.
As the number of devices increases in the classroom, there is a growing concern among the experts. Satellites have collided in orbit before, and although such incidents are not much of a threat to those on the ground, debris from an accident could remain in orbit for years or decades.