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SpaceX packed 133 small commercial satellites and 10 Starlink satellites for a total of 143 satellites and successfully launched the Transporter-1 mission last weekend. In addition, the first stage booster of the rocket has succeeded in landing and recovering to an unmanned ship this time as well.
SpaceX is carrying out this mission as the first launch of the SmallSat program to “Ainori” small satellites. This program provides a practical launch opportunity for projects where launching with other large satellites is difficult to afford when attempting to launch a microsatellite called CubeSat. Therefore, the fare starts from a relatively low price of 1 million dollars (about 100 million yen).
Even so, it is unheard of to launch 143 satellites at a time. SpaceX will probably be one of the pride. In terms of profitability, it is more cost-effective and efficient to pack many customer satellites into one launch.
Until now, SpaceX has received orders for satellite launches from satellite communication companies and the government, except for the Starlink satellite, but with the success of this launch, it is a frontage to customers such as smaller scale satellite projects and experimental satellite projects of educational institutions. Is likely to spread. Virgin Orbit and Rocket Lab are also planning launch services in this area.
There are some unwelcome voices regarding the launch of innumerable small satellites due to space debris issues, but the frequency of launches is likely to fill the SpaceX schedule table even further.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.