SpaceX Plans Record-Breaking Launch With 143 Satellites

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SpaceX Plans Record-Breaking Launch With 143 Satellites

Ars Technica reported Saturday that “The Falcon 9 rocket was ready. Its payload of 143 satellites were ready. But Mother Nature was not ready.”

Although SpaceX pressed ahead with fueling of the Falcon 9 booster on Saturday morning, the company scrubbed the launch attempt of the Transporter-1 mission a few minutes before the window opened due to weather. Conditions at Cape Canaveral violated the electrical field rule for a safe launch. The company now plans to try to launch again on Sunday morning, with the launch window opening at 10am ET (15:00 UTC).
Slashdot noted earlier that SpaceX plans to launch the most satellites ever deployed in a single mission, 143, from Florida for more than a dozen customers. UPI reports: A 2017 mission by the India Space Research Organization launched 104 spacecraft, which would be the previous record if the SpaceX launch is a success… The Transporter-1 mission is the first in a series of regularly scheduled SpaceX rideshare projects for multiple customers. SpaceX also plans to carry 10 of its Starlink communications satellites on this mission.

“The Starlink satellites aboard this mission will be the first in the constellation to deploy to a polar orbit,” according to the SpaceX mission description. Polar orbits circle the globe by passing over the North Pole and South Pole, while many satellites circle above equatorial regions. Houston-based space firm Nanoracks is acting as a broker to arrange some customers for the launch, said Tristan Prejean, a mission manager at Nanoracks. Nanoracks’ two customers for Transporter-1 are two satellite companies, California-based Spire Global and Montreal-based GHGSat. Spire launches fleets of small satellites that monitor weather and patterns for shipping for aviation interests. GHGSat monitors industrial emissions of gasses from space — especially greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

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