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SpaceX ridesharing mission launches record 143 satellites

According to SpaceX, the rideshare programme offers cheap access to space for small satellite companies, starting at $1 million for a 200-kg satellite.

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San Francisco Published on: January 25, 2021 11:08 IST
SpaceX satellite launch
Image Source : AP IMAGE

SpaceX ridesharing mission launches record 143 satellites

Much like ridesharing via Uber on Earth, Elon Musk-run SpaceX has successfully launched its new cost-cutting rideshare mission with 143 small satellites -- a new record for a single rocket -- into space.

Called the Transporter-1 mission, the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Sunday from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

"Falcon 9 launches 143 spacecraft to orbit -- the most ever deployed on a single mission -- completing SpaceX's first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Programme mission," SpaceX said in a tweet.

According to SpaceX, the rideshare programme offers cheap access to space for small satellite companies, starting at $1 million for a 200-kg satellite.

Much like a "rideshare Uber", a company's small satellite can hitch a ride to space with this new mission.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket sent a mix of shoebox-sized CubeSats and much heavier micro-satellites to a 326-mile-high polar orbit.

The 143 satellites include 48 Earth-imaging satellites, 17 tiny communications satellites, and 30 small satellites for the US and Europe by Germany-based Exolaunch.

"The sheer number of payloads/satellites was well above the limit needed to break both the U.S. and world records for most satellites launched on a single mission," NASA said in a statement.

Both records were previously held by Northrop Grumman with 108 satellites launched on the NG-10 Cygnus mission in November 2018.

SpaceX's previous record is 64 satellites on the SSO-A mission in December 2018, a flight that featured Spaceflight Industries' Sherpa satellite dispenser.

Transporter-1 was the second mission since 1969 to use the polar corridor route from Florida.

Also Read | Indian-American Raja Chari among 3 astronauts selected by NASA for SpaceX Crew-3 mission

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