SpaceX Launches 143 Satellites On One Rocket

Katie Ramirez
January 25, 2021

SpaceX delayed the launch one day because of unfavorable weather.

"Another launch attempt is available tomorrow, January 24 with a 22-minute window opening at 10:00 a.m. EST", SpaceX wrote.

SpaceX on Sunday successfully launched 143 satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket after initially delaying the launch due to inclement weather conditions.

Marking the second polar launch from the US East Coast in half a century and SpaceX's second such launch overall, the Transporter-1 is likely first of many more to come, providing regular access to orbit for institutions, governments, companies, and even individuals building or buying small satellites.

SpaceX has launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a record number of satellites on board, the private space company said.

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In this launch, only 10 spacecraft were the Starlink communications satellites, SpaceX's Internet communications project, aimed to provide wireless internet connection at any geographical point of the globe. The mission was originally scheduled to take place in December before several delays pushed back the launch date.

Generally, when larger satellites have extra space on their rockets, small satellites are launched as secondary payloads, but this rideshare launch was different.

The "ride-share" mission - so called because of all the non-SpaceX satellites that hitched a ride - used SpaceX's Falcon 9, a partially reusable two-stage launch vehicle.

About 10 minutes after lift-off, SpaceX recovered the first stage once again on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Starlink satellites normally go into conventional orbit but these ones will serve customers in polar regions.

It was reported that 48 of the 143 satellites sent belong to Planet Labs for world photographs and 36 of them belong to Swarm for IoT. With these satellites, SpaceX aims to provide near-global broadband internet coverage all over the world by 2021.

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