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SpaceX Shatters Record By Launching 143 Spacecraft on a Rocket

SpaceX Shatters Record By Launching 143 Spacecraft on a Rocket

The Elon Musk-run company launched yet another rocket into a new record, with its “SmallSat Rideshare” delivery program aboard Transporter-1.

The Elon Musk-run company launched yet another rocket into a new record, with its “SmallSat Rideshare” delivery program aboard Transporter-1.

Credit | SpaceX

SpaceX launched another rocket into space, this time breaking a record for the number of spacecraft carried into orbit by a single rocket. This was part of the company’s “ridesharing” program, “SmallSat Rideshare,” which carries small satellites into space at a discounted rate.

The Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX’s standard nowadays, took off of Florida’s Cape Canaveral, carrying a total of 143 spacecraft into Earth’s orbit. That beats the previous record, of 104 spacecraft, by an Indian rocket launched in February of 2017.

Dubbed the “Transporter-1”, this SpaceX mission was the first in the company’s new SmallSat Rideshare program.

What is SmallSat Rideshare?

SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare is a program that allows companies to send satellites into orbit for as little at $1 million for a 200 kilogram package. While SpaceX has a Falcon 9 single satellite launch listed at $62 million, these SmallSats are what they sound like. Small satellites.

This allows SpaceX to send multiple small satellites into orbit, compared to a one organization-one satellite deal. That allowed SpaceX to push out 143 spacecraft into orbit, for at least $143 million in revenue for this one trip.

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Rideshare rockets as a market

These rideshare missions have become increasingly commonplace within the space and satellite industry, with SpaceX competing against growing competition, such as Arianespace’s Vega trips. All of these companies are attempting to claim a growing share of the quickly expanding marketplace of small satellites.

These rideshare missions and trips allow different ways for smaller satellites to be put into orbit for cheaper. Compared to the past, only, option of single satellites being shot off into orbit, (which was incredibly expensive), smaller companies can now send smaller satellites for cheaper prices.

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This also allows SpaceX to make more money from launches, as they can now take smaller costs from hundreds of satellites, compared to a big price from one satellite. While their service isn’t exactly on demand, companies can pay a premium to get their satellites sent out according to their schedule.

In total, SpaceX sent 133 government and private satellites into orbit, as well as 10 first-party Starlink satellites. The company had some customers including: Kepler Communications, Spaceflight Inc, Nanoracks, NASA, HawkEye 360, Astrocast, and the University of South Florida.

The 10 Starlink satellites are to become part of SpaceX’s growing satellite internet service, which is moving past its private beta. SpaceX has been working hard to deploy more satellites into additional areas to spread coverage, and these 10 satellites were the first satellites in a while.

That was due to regulatory approval having been needed for the company to launch them.