On Monday, June 12, SpaceX launched Transporter-8 which is the eighth SmallSat Rideshare Program mission that launched 72 spacecraft owned by various organizations. An entire Falcon 9 flight can cost around $67 million, the Rideshare program provides cost-effective launches by allowing customers to share a ride atop previously-flown rockets for a base price of $275,000 USD per each payload that weighs 50-kilograms with an additional mass at $5,500 per kilogram (kg). The Transporter-8 mission launched diverse payloads, including: small satellites, CubeSats, MicroSats, a re-entry capsule, and hosted payloads in orbital transfer vehicles. A flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 2:35 p.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4E at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to launch the Transporter-8 mission. It is SpaceX’s 40th orbital mission of 2023 (excluding the Starship test flight). This year, the company aims to complete 100 missions. So far, it is on track to achieve the record-breaking launch manifest at a rate of one launch every 4 days.
Liftoff! pic.twitter.com/Ss4Q0bgo8y— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 12, 2023
This mission is historic because it marked the 200th time that SpaceX recovered a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket. No other aerospace company in all of history has been able to recover orbital-class rockets to reuse over a dozen times. SpaceX is setting an example in the industry. Reusability enables the company to perform frequent cost-effective spaceflights. The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that supported the Transporter-8 mission has now flown 9 times. It is identified as B1071-9 which previously launched the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office NROL-87 and NROL-85 missions, the SARah-1 payload, NASA’s SWOT Earth-observation satellite, and four Starlink missions. The booster performed a propulsive landing on the Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Landing Zone-4. To date, SpaceX has performed 239 launches, landed orbital-class rockets 200 times, and has reused recovered boosters 173 times. “Flight-proven first stages have launched ~90% of the last 100+ missions since the start of 2022,” shared SpaceX via Twitter, alongside a graphic showcasing recovered rocket data (linked below). The company also shared two incredible views of the rocket landing.
After delivering 72 spacecraft to orbit, Falcon 9 returns to Earth and completes SpaceX’s 200th landing of an orbital class rocket pic.twitter.com/7Aw52C97jk— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 13, 2023
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on Landing Zone 4, marking SpaceX’s 200th successful recovery of an orbital class rocket! pic.twitter.com/iqs0xjO9se— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 12, 2023
Flight-proven first stages have launched ~90% of the last 100+ missions since the start of 2022— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 12, 2023
The 72 spacecraft were deployed to Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) in a separate organized sequence around an hour after liftoff. The payloads were attached to Falcon 9’s upper-stage, as shown in the photograph below. It took around 24-minutes to complete the deployment sequence to release all 72 payloads to orbit. The companies that own these spacecraft include: D-Orbit, Launcher, ExoLaunch, Maverick, TRL11, and Alba Orbital, among others that have not yet announced that their payloads hitched-a-ride on the Transporter-8 mission.
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All Featured Images Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy 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.