SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, managed to set a new record with the Transporter-1 mission on Sunday. Onboard the Falcon-9 rocket was 143 satellites with a total weight of about 5,000 kg.
Transporter-1 is the first in a series of shared launches that will be dedicated to launching small satellites into orbit — the new concept combines low starting prices with higher reliability.
SpaceX reported that onboard the spacecraft were the first 10 of Starlink to be placed in polar orbit. The remaining 133 satellites were part of launches managed by third parties. SpaceX offers this service to any company or public body that wants to contract it while reselling the available slots.
It has an estimated price of one million dollars for 200 kilograms of satellite and 5,000 dollars per extra kilogram. According to SpaceX, “aboard this launch were 133 commercial and government satellites (including CubeSats, microsats and orbital transfer vehicles ) and 10 Starlink satellites.”
The Transporter-1 was scheduled for its original launch on December 16, 2020. The last attempt, before the final takeoff that occurred last night, was on January 23 and was postponed due to bad weather in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The total of 143 satellites sent by SpaceX breaks the previous record held by the Indian space agency, ISRO, for having put 104 satellites into orbit at one time. It was mid-February 2017 aboard the PSLV-XL, and 103 nanosatellites (from different countries) and the Cartosat-2D satellite were deployed.