Elon Musk-led SpaceX has launched 88 satellites as part of space firm’s “Transporter-2” mission. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 3:30 pm on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida marking the second successful launch of the company’s SmallSat Rideshare Programme mission.
Onboard these launches were 85 satellites for external customers (including CubeSats, microsats, and orbital transfer vehicles), as well as three Starlink satellites. Notably, It’s the 20th Falcon 9 launch in 2021 and the eighth flight for the rocket’s first stage booster. The space firm shared the video of event with the caption “Liftoff!”
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 30, 2021
While the Transporter 2 mission will deliver fewer objects to space than Transporter-1 mission which set up a new record for putting 143 satellites into orbit, it launched more mass to orbit overall. SpaceX’s ride-share program taps into that growing small satellite market, where companies can offer services ranging from communications to Earth observation. GIven it was the 20th launch event from the space firm’s it is expected that the company will far surpass last year’s record of 26 launches.
The Transporter launches, first announced in 2019, are part of the company’s rideshare business model. Originally scheduled for June 29, the launch was scrubbed after a rotary aircraft entered the flight zone.
The Transporter-2 mission includes nearly 10 customers, some of whom are launch service providers who are themselves organizing customer payloads — like Spaceflight, which is launching 36 small satellites on behalf of 14 customers, as well as its electric propulsion vehicle dubbed Sherpa-LTE, the TechCrunch reported.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a tweet blasted the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations as “broken”. “Unfortunately, launch is called off for today, as an aircraft entered the “keep out zone”, which is unreasonably gigantic,” Musk tweeted.
SpaceX tweeted, “Hold called due to Range being no-go; teams are setting up for tomorrow’s backup opportunity [sic]”