Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk-owned SpaceX on Thursday successfully completed its second orbital launch of the year aboard the reusable Falcon 9 rocket to lift 105 small satellites to orbit for rideshare customers.
What Happened: The two-stage Falcon 9 launched the Transporter-3 rideshare mission at 10:25 a.m. ET from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The first stage rocket returned to base within nine minutes to land at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
This was the tenth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 stage booster, SpaceX said.
The Transporter-3 mission delivered a total of 105 commercial and government spacecraft including CubeSats, Microsats, PocketQubes, and orbital transfer vehicles.
Transporter 3 is a dedicated rideshare mission by SpaceX to low earth orbit with payloads for as low as $1 million permission, which includes up to 200 kilograms of payload mass.
SpaceX shared short clips of the liftoff, rideshare deployment and the Falcon’s landing on the microblogging site twitter.
Falcon 9 launches 105 spacecraft to orbit and lands at Landing Zone 1 pic.twitter.com/JapUxU6oMU
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 13, 2022
The mission also delivered 44 of Space imaging company Planet Labs Inc’s (NYSE: PL) small satellites SuperDoves in orbit. The company confirmed the development saying it now has about 244 operational satellites in orbit that daily scan planet earth.
Our first launch of 2022 is here! 44 SuperDoves are set to launch on @SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission tomorrow at 7:25am PT / 10:25am ET. These sats will join our operational fleet of ~200 🛰️ in orbit delivering daily data to our customers. More details: https://t.co/TrbCm0Nbpa https://t.co/WyvBJy1ft0
— Planet (@planet) January 12, 2022
The mission also launched a first nanosatellite constellation that was made entirely in South Africa, Musk’s birthplace country.
Why It Matters: The development comes a week after SpaceX successfully deployed 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from the launch site at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Falcon 9 is the world’s first orbital-class reusable rocket. The reusability factor brings down costs significantly as it allows the space agency to refly the most expensive parts of the rocket.
The space company run by the billionaire entrepreneur Musk completed 31 various mission launches in 2021 and 26 in 2020.
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