SpaceX's first Rideshare Mission will launch over 100 payloads atop a Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX's first Rideshare Mission will launch over 100 payloads atop a Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX is scheduled to conduct its first dedicated rideshare mission under the SmallSat Rideshare Program on Saturday, January 23. A previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket will liftoff from Launch Complex-40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, during a 1-hour launch window starting at 9:24 a.m. Eastern Time [date is subject to change]. The first Rideshare mission is called ‘Transporter-1’, during which SpaceX will launch over 100 payloads for various companies and organizations –the most payloads launched by a SpaceX launch vehicle to date. The Falcon 9 rocket that will conduct the Transporter-1 mission is identified as booster B1058-5, it previously supported four missions and will fly a fifth time over the weekend. The rocket was seen at the launch site filled with scorch marks from reentering Earth’s atmosphere multiple times, pictured below. 


The company created the SmallSat Rideshare Program to offer customers the option to launch small satellites and spacecraft to space destinations at a lower price by sharing a ride aboard Falcon 9 rocket with other payloads. The Transporter-1 mission will launch approximately 133 satellites (or more) into an altitude of around 500 kilometers above Earth to operate in Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Some of the payloads aboard this upcoming mission belong to: NASA, NanoRacks, NanoAvionics, Exolaunch, Swarm Technologies, Spaceflight, HawkEye, iQPS, Umbra Labs, Celestis, Astrocast, Tyvax Nano-Satellite Systems, US DOD, USAF, KelplarianTech, NearSpace, Space Domain Awareness, R2, LINCOLNSHIRE, inOrbit, PlanetiQ, Capella, Kepler, Astro Digital, D-Orbit, Israel defense, spaceQ, UVSQ, and Planet Labs. However, satellites could be added or removed up until launch day and there could be more companies that purchased a ride on this flight. The graphic below is an example of how all the 133+ satellites could be accommodated inside Falcon 9’s fairing. 

Image Source: ExoLaunch 

Planet Labs shared 48 out of the 133 spacecraft aboard the Transporter-1 mission are their SuperDoves satellites which take high-resolution images of Earth from space. Will Marshall, the Chief Executive Officer at Planet Labs, noted 133 satellites is a 'record-breaking ride.' 


Exolaunch shared it booked a ride aboard the upcoming Falcon 9 flight to deploy 30 satellites for a company, space agency, and university. The satellites will be launched inside its ExoPod deployer as pictured below. - "We are counting down to the launch of mission Zeitgeist, taking 30 of our customers' SmallSats into orbit on Transporter-1, the first dedicated SpaceX Falcon9 rideshare mission! Stay tuned for this exciting launch!" the company announced via Twitter.  


Ten out the 133 spacecraft are SpaceX Starlink satellites that will also hitch a ride alongside all the Transporter-1 payloads. According to a recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) document, SpaceX obtained approval to launch the 10 internet-beaming Starlink satellites to Polar Orbit, where the satellites can be used to beam internet connection “to some of the most remote regions of the country,” including Alaska.

Featured Image Source: SpaceX


About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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