Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX launched 143 satellites through one spacecraft on 24th January 2021, setting a new record for deploying the most number of spaceships on a single mission.
The 229-foot-tall (70-meter) Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX left the surface at 10 a.m. EST from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The satellites it carried were of different shapes and sizes and completed SpaceX’s first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission.
Falcon 9 launches 143 spacecraft to orbit — the most ever deployed on a single mission — completing SpaceX’s first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission pic.twitter.com/CJSUvKWeb4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 25, 2021
In achieving this remarkable feat, SpaceX broke the previous record of launching the most number of satellites in one mission held by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) that launched 104 satellites in February 2017.
In the mission called Transporter – 1, San Francisco’s Planet company had the most satellites of all on the flight – 48 while SpaceX had 10 satellites for its Starlink internet network that is due to provide broadband internet connections all across the world. The mission also carried payloads for Swarm Technologies, Kepler Communications, Spire, Capella Space, ICEYE, NASA, and a range of other institutions from 11 countries.
The Rideshare flights are a very recent innovation, providing quick and affordable access to space to many companies that might otherwise not be able to afford it. SpaceX charges a comparatively low $1 million to launch a 440-pound satellite and a meagre $5,000 for every 2.2 pounds above that base level.
Will this low-cost launch open a new chapter in the space sector? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.