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SpaceX will launch the first ride-sharing mission. Introduced in 2019, it allows small satellite operators to reserve some of their payloads at the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Because the Falcon 9 has a relatively large payload capacity compared to most small satellites currently manufactured, such ride-sharing missions are for small businesses and startups on a realistic budget. Provides an opportunity to put the spacecraft in orbit.
This time, the cargo capsules onboard the Falcon 9 carry a total of 133 satellites. This exceeds the payload of 104 satellites launched by the Indian Space Research Organization PSLV-C 37 in February 2017, and is the highest number of satellites launched by a single rocket. The launch will also be an important demonstration of SpaceX’s ride-sharing capabilities, as well as complex coordination features at launch, including deploying multiple payloads to different symbols relatively quickly.
In particular, this launch is drawing attention to how to manage traffic in orbit. This is because it clearly shows what the amount of private sector launch activity will be in the future. Some satellites will be launched as small as the iPad, and experts will pay close attention to how they are deployed and tracked to avoid possible collisions.
The payload launched this time includes a large number of startup satellites, including 36 small Swarm IoT network satellites and eight Kepler GEN-1 communications satellites. It also has 10 SpaceX Starlink satellites and 48 Planet Labs earth observation satellites.
Related article: Swarm, which provides a network for IoT with 150 ultra-small artificial satellites, can be used for about 500 yen per month