SpaceX Transporter-1 Rideshare Launches 143 Space Ships


The Falcon 9 rocket stands ahead of liftoff for the Transporter-1 mission at the launchpad in Florida.

SpaceX

SpaceX on Sunday launched another rocket in the record book carrying dozens of smaller satellites into space with the first mission of its “rideshare” program.

A Falcon 9 rocket flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida, orbited 143 spacecraft – the new global record for the most spacecraft launched in one go, and marking the 104 set by an Indian PSLV rocket in February 2017 To get across.

Called Transporter-1, the SpaceX mission was the first for the company’s SmallSat rideshare program.

While SpaceX advertises a launch on a Falcon 9 dedicated to a single satellite for $ 62 million, the company’s SmallSat rideshare launch gives smaller satellites – as small as the size of a mailbox – $ 200 million for 200 kilograms. An option for a very small class.

Such rideshare missions have become increasingly common in the space industry, with international competitors such as Ariaspace’s Vega claiming a growing market share of smaller satellites.

Rideshare missions provide a different alternative to low-cost satellites looking for a rocket in orbit, smaller rockets such as Rocket Lab’s Electrons provide a more tailored approach.

“SpaceX is offering a competitive rideshare option, due in large part to the launch of Starlink,” Phil Smith, senior analyst at Bryce Space and Technology, told CNBC.

The SpaceX service is not quite on demand, Smith said, but companies can pay a premium to launch according to their schedule rather than the primary customer’s schedule.

“There is a fairly reliable ‘bus route’ available,” Smith said of SpaceX, “whereas I think one could compare companies like Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit to on-call taxis that would have received your satellite. Are where you want it ASAP. ”

Elon Musk’s company launched 133 satellites as well as 10 Starlink satellites of its own for various government and private customers.

SpaceX’s customers include Board Transporter-1: Planet Labs, Exolonch, D-Orbit, Kepler Communications, SpaceFlight Inc., Nanorax, NASA and Capella Space, as well as IQPS, Loft Orbital, Spire Global, ICAE, Hawkeye 360, Astrocast , And. University of South Florida Institute of Applied Engineering.

In particular, the 10 Starlink satellites aboard the mission will be the first constellation to deploy in polar orbit, as the company continues to expand public access to its satellite Internet network. Those 10 satellites were added after Momentus launched its first Vagina mission after Momentus launched Transporter-1 earlier this month. Momentus cited the extra time required for regulatory approval as the reason for the change.

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