[UPDATE: Today’s attempt was scrubbed due to weather conditions. Another launch window is available tomorrow at 10 AM ET]
SpaceX is status to launch the very first of its dedicated rideshare missions – an offering it launched in 2019 that allows small satellite operators to book a part of a payload on a Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX’s rocket has a relatively excessive payload capacity compared to the dimension of many of the small satellites produced today, so a rideshare mission like this offers smaller companies and startups a chance to salvage their spacecraft in orbit with out breaking the bank.
The cargo capsule atop the Falcon 9 flying today holds a total of 133 satellites according to SpaceX, which is a recent file for the most effective number of satellites being launched on a single rocket – beating out a payload of 104 spacecraft delivered by Indian Space Research Organization’s PSLV-C37 launch back in February 2017. It’ll be a key demonstration no longer only of SpaceX’s rideshare capabilities, nonetheless also of the complex coordination taken with a launch that involves deployment of a couple of payloads into utterly different target orbits in relatively rapidly succession.
This launch shall be intently watched in particular for its handling of orbital traffic management, since it positively heralds what the future of private space launches may perhaps search for like in phrases of quantity of activity. Some of the satellites flying on this mission are no longer powerful larger than an iPad, so trade consultants shall be paying shut attention to how they’re deployed and tracked to avoid any potential conflicts.
Some of the payloads being launched today encompass significant volumes of startup spacecraft, including 36 of Swarm’s puny IoT network satellites, and eight of Kepler’s GEN-1 communications satellites. There are also 10 of SpaceX’s maintain Starlink satellites on board, and 48 of Planet Labs’ Earth-imaging spacecraft.
The launch stream above may tranquil begin around 15 minutes sooner than the mission start, which is status for 9: 40 AM EST (6: 40 AM PST) today.