SpaceX Satellite Launch: Breaking India’s Ultimate Record
SpaceX sets a new world record on January 24th, 2021 by launching 143 satellites on a single rocket. In a single launch in February 2017, it beat the Indian space agency ISRO’s record of deploying 104 satellites. The Falcon 9 rocket was the launch vehicle for the SpaceX record-breaking flight and the mission was known as Transporter-1. The company released photographs and videos from the operation, adding that this was the largest number of spacecraft ever launched on a single mission.
At Cape Canaberal in Florida, the rocket took off at 8.31pm IST. This was the first mission of SpaceX that had onboard payloads from several clients. CubeSats, microsats and 10 Starlink satellites are among the satellites sent into space. After around 30 minutes of lift-off, the mission began to deploy satellites into position. This launch included satellites from Earth imaging company Planet Labs, satellite communication startup Kepler, and IoT networking firm Swarm.
Initially supposed to blast off on Saturday morning, because of adverse weather conditions at the launch site, the complex Transporter-1 mission was postponed 24 hours. The weather was restored on Sunday, allowing the Falcon 9 rocket and its record-setting launch to get off the ground on time.
As per The Free Press Journal, “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.
The 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 Falcon 9 also carried several satellites affiliated with SpaceX itself. 10 satellites for the Starlink telecommunications mega-constellation also took off on the rocket.”
Forbes mentioned that, “SpaceX did not release a detailed manifest of the satellites on board, meaning the purpose and nature of some of them was unclear at the time of launch.
“One of the problems is that we don’t even know for sure what all of the 143 satellites are,” astronomer and spaceflight expert Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told SpaceNews.
According to Business Insider, “On Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he was excited for the launch, which is part of a new ride-share program to provide small satellite operators affordable access to space. “Launching many small satellites for a wide range of customers tomorrow,” he wrote on Twitter. “Excited about offering low-cost access to orbit for small companies!”