[UPDATE: Today’s attempt was scrubbed due to weather conditions. Another launch window is available tomorrow at 10 AM ET]
SpaceX is about to launch the very first of its devoted rideshare missions – an offering it introduced in 2019 that permits small satellite tv for pc operators to e book a portion of a payload on a Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX’s rocket has a comparatively excessive payload capability in comparison with the scale of most of the small satellites produced at this time, so a rideshare mission like this gives smaller firms and startups an opportunity to get their spacecraft in orbit with out breaking the financial institution.
The cargo capsule atop the Falcon 9 flying at this time holds a complete of 133 satellites in keeping with SpaceX, which is a brand new file for the best variety of satellites being launched on a single rocket – beating out a payload of 104 spacecraft delivered by Indian Area Analysis Group’s PSLV-C37 launch again in February 2017. It’ll be a key demonstration not solely of SpaceX’s rideshare capabilities, but additionally of the complicated coordination concerned in a launch that features deployment of a number of payloads into totally different goal orbits in comparatively fast succession.
This launch will likely be carefully watched particularly for its dealing with of orbital site visitors administration, because it undoubtedly heralds what the way forward for personal house launches might appear like when it comes to quantity of exercise. Among the satellites flying on this mission should not a lot bigger than an iPad, so trade consultants will likely be paying shut consideration to how they’re deployed and tracked to keep away from any potential conflicts.
Among the payloads being launched at this time embrace important volumes of startup spacecraft, together with 36 of Swarm’s tiny IoT network satellites, and eight of Kepler’s GEN-1 communications satellites. There are additionally 10 of SpaceX’s personal Starlink satellites on board, and 48 of Planet Labs’ Earth-imaging spacecraft.
The launch stream above ought to start round 15 minutes previous to the mission begin, which is about for 9:40 AM EST (6:40 AM PST) at this time.