January 23, 2021 – 14:08 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – The SpaceX Transporter-1 mission set to launch on Saturday, January 23 will put 133 commercial and government spacecraft, as well as 10 more Starlink satellites, in orbit.
SpaceX says that’s “the most spacecraft ever deployed on a single mission” — the previous record holder, an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, ferried only 104 satellites to space. In addition to having a record-breaking payload, Transporter-1 is also the first dedicated launch under the SmallSat Rideshare Program SpaceX announced back in 2019.
The SmallSat program offers companies and government agencies an affordable way to get their CubeSats, microsats and other small spacecraft to orbit Engadget reports. Its prices start at $2.5 million for payloads up to 150 kg (330 lbs). The program’s customers typically just hitch a ride on other Falcon 9 launches, and this is the first time they’re the main point of a mission. As for the Starlink satellites aboard the flight, they’ll be the first in the constellation to deploy to a polar orbit.
On Twitter, SpaceX chief Elon Musk said Transporter-1 “is getting even more scrutiny than a Starlink flight” because so many companies are depending on it to go off without a hitch.