SpaceX is ready to launch the fourth SmallSat Rideshare Program mission, Transporter-4. The program reduces the cost of spaceflight by enabling organizations to share Falcon 9 for a combined price tag. Booking an entire rocket can cost up to $67 million. Under the program, the company has a base price of $1.1 million to deploy a payload that weighs 200-kilograms. A veteran Falcon 9 is scheduled to lift off on Friday, April 1st at 12:24 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Transporter-4 mission will deploy 40 spacecraft to sun-synchronous orbit, including "CubeSats, microsats, picosats, non-deploying hosted payloads, and an orbital transfer vehicle carrying spacecraft to be deployed at a later time," the company shared. The Transporter-4 payloads are managed by multiple organizations, including: ExoLaunch, Satellogic, Omnispace, and D-Orbit Spacelust.
The 40 spacecraft are all packed atop the Falcon 9 rocket. The company shared a photograph of inside the rocket's fairing that shows how the payloads are organized in special configuration on the upper-stage payload adapter with ESPA (Expendable Secondary Port Adapter) ring technology. ESPA allows SpaceX to attach dozens of small spacecraft to the payload adapter in order to get the most out of a rocket launch in a single mission, as pictured below. Companies also have the option to use their custom ESPA adapters for satellites.
Payloads for our upcoming fourth dedicated smallsat rideshare mission – Transporter-4 – were encapsulated into Falcon 9’s fairing late last week. On this flight are 40 spacecraft, including cubesats, microsats, picosats, hosted payloads, and an orbital transfer vehicle pic.twitter.com/9I8huWOt1F— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 28, 2022
Featured Image Source: SpaceX