SpaceX got a second chance at making history Sunday, and they took advantage of it, launching 143 satellites into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket after the mission was called off on Saturday. It sets a world record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket. The previous record was held by an indian rocket, that carried 104 satellites in a launch back in 2017.
This mission on Sunday which was dubbed Transporter-1 carried 10 satellites for SpaceX’s internet network called Starlink. The Falcon 9 rocket also carried over 130 satellites for other customers. One of them is called ICEYE, which develops small radar satellites for tracking floods and monitoring ice.
Transporting satellites into space for other companies is part of the rideshare program that SpaceX announced in 2019, and their plan is to have regularly scheduled launches for these small satellites, as opposed to focusing on just one primary load.
One concern experts have in regards to all these smaller satellites, called “smallsats” floating in space, is the potential for collisions. The debris from these midair collisions can sometimes stay in orbit for decades.
As for the “Starlink” broadband internet project, it will be rolling out in beta access for $99 per month starting in October, and then expand into Canada in November. There will be 642,925 customers on board by the end of the year, and the service could grow rapidly.