An unprecedented number of satellites were sent to space on the 24th of January, on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, setting a new world record for the majority of spacecraft by sending it on a single rocket in one mission. Dubbed Transporter-1 has carried out 143 government and commercial payloads in Earth’s orbit, 133 of which were from a wide variety of countries and companies, including compact nano and microsatellites. Besides, it has also launched 10 of its own Starlink internet satellites, that were added to more than 1000 already activated ones in order to power their broadband communication network. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 mission has been launched out from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station that is located in Florida at 10 a.m. and has been marked as the company’s first one of the SmallSat Rideshare Program that was announced in 2019. The new number surpassed the old record of 104 satellites that were launched in the February 2017 mission by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
This rideshare mission considers dividing the payload capacity of its rocket between different users while minimizing costs for each one, but at the same time delivering complete launch for SpaceX and all of its profits to warrant ‘admiring’ its own spacecraft. SpaceX notes that the rideshare service gives small satellite companies inexpensive access to space, beginning at $1 million on a satellite of 200-kg. Thus, it means almost everyone can create a functional satellite in compact packages. Some have even called it a “rideshare Uber for cosmic travel”.