SpaceX set a new all-time record for the most satellites launched and deployed on a single mission, with its Transporter-1 flight on Sunday. The launch was the first of SpaceX’s dedicated ride-sharing missions, in which it divides its rocket’s payload capacity among multiple customers, resulting in a reduced cost for each, while still providing SpaceX with a full and all launch. the income it needs to justify the praise. one of its vehicles.
Today’s launch featured 143 satellites, of which 133 were from other companies that booked trips. SpaceX has also launched 10 of its own Starlink satellites, adding to the more than 1,000 already sent into orbit to power SpaceX’s own broadband communications network. During a launch broadcast last week, SpaceX revealed that it has started serving beta customers in Canada and is expanding into the UK with its private pre-launch test of that service.
Customers for today’s launch included Planet Labs, which sent 48 SuperDove Earth imaging satellites; Swarm, which sent 36 of its own small IoT communications satellites, and Kepler, which added to its constellation with eight more of its own communications satellites. The carpooling model SpaceX now has in place should help new small space companies and startups like these build their operational constellations in orbit faster, complementing other small payload launchers like Rocket Lab and the new came Virgin Orbit, to name a few.
This SpaceX launch was also the first to deliver Starlink satellites to a polar orbit, which is a key part of the company’s continued expansion of its broadband service. The mission also included a successful landing and recovery of the Falcon 9 rocket first stage thruster, the fifth for this particular thruster, and a double recovery of the fairing halves used to protect the cargo during launch, which were fished in The Atlantic Ocean. using its recovery tanks and will be refurbished and reused.