SpaceX’s first ‘carpooling’ mission to launch record number of satellites

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The SpaceX Transporter-1 mission is set at launch today, 133 commercial and government spacecraft, along with 10 other Starlink satellites, will be launched into orbit. SpaceX says it is “the largest spacecraft to ever deploy on a single mission” – the former record holder, an Indian polar satellite launcher, carried just 104 satellites into space. In addition to having a record payload, Transporter-1 is also the first dedicated launch under the SmallSat Carpool Program SpaceX announced in 2019.

The SmallSat program offers businesses and government agencies an affordable way to put their CubeSats, microsats, and other small spacecraft into orbit. Its prices start at $ 2.5 million for payloads up to 150 kg (330 lbs). Program clients are usually content to hitchhike on other Falcon 9 launches, and this is the first time they’ve been the focal point of a mission. As for the Starlink satellites on board the flight, they will be the first in the constellation to deploy in a polar orbit.


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