SpaceX Falcon 9 launched more than 100 satellites in one go
Although it’s not as sensational as, say, carrying its first humans into space, SpaceX still continues to bag a few records while also breaking some. Yesterday’s launch, which was already postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions, went off without a hitch and was largely uneventful. Unsurprisingly, Elon Musk’s space-faring company still managed to boast about the mission’s accomplishment, launching almost 150 spacecraft into orbit.
Not all of the 143 satellites that the Falcon 9 jettisoned into orbit were SpaceX’s, though. In fact, this was also a first for the company, its first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission. Pretty much an Uber for spacecraft, the program allows companies and organizations to hitch a ride on the Falcon 9 along with other payloads for a more affordable price.
In fact, only 10 of that 143 spacecraft were SpaceX’s Starlink project to litter the skies with Internet-bearing satellites. The other 133 were a mix of satellites from both government and commercial entities, including the German Aerospace Center, the US Department of Defense, and in-space services company Nanorocks, among others
Falcon 9 launches 143 spacecraft to orbit — the most ever deployed on a single mission — completing SpaceX’s first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission pic.twitter.com/CJSUvKWeb4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 25, 2021
Regardless of the mix, SpaceX is quite proud for setting the record for most spacecraft ever deployed on a single mission ever. Of course, some of that payload may be a bit controversial, particularly the SpaceX Starlink satellites that are slowly but surely nearing completion. Scientists and astronomers have been expressing their worries about this satellite network pretty much congesting space.
As for the Falcon 9’s main booster, that safely returned to Earth and landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” spaceport drone. But that’s beginning to be so common and so normal it may no longer be newsworthy unless something actually goes wrong instead.