SpaceX launches biggest US ‘rideshare’ mission with 64 satellites

SpaceX launches biggest US ‘rideshare’ mission with 64 satellites

SpaceX successfully reused for a third time a Falcon 9 rocket booster on Monday - a company first.

SpaceX launched a rocket carrying a payload of 64 satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 3, 2018.

SpaceX said the mission was "one of the most complex and intricate endeavours" for Seattle-based startup Spaceflight, the ride-share company that arranged passage for each satellite maker.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has kicked off Seattle-based Spaceflight's first-ever dedicated rideshare mission, a satellite extravaganza that's created to place 64 spacecraft in low Earth orbit.

After engine shutdown, the booster used its grid fins and cold gas thrusters to maintain a proper descent attitude, before once again lighting a group of its engines to land on the "Just Read the Instructions" Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship It was the nineteenth successful droneship landing for SpaceX and third droneship landing for this particular booster. This was the USA private space agency's 19th launch of the year topping its previous annual record of 18, which was set last year. As noted, this mission represents the largest single rideshare launched from the USA to date.

According to SpaceX, this kind of reusability is the future of spaceflight.

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"The mission. signifies the company's first dedicated rideshare mission to a sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit", Spaceflight said in a statement.

About half an hour after launch, SpaceX confirmed that four satellites were deployed from the payload stack. Over 34 different public and private organisations were involved, from 17 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Poland, and others. The rocket booster previously launched Bangladesh's Bangabandhu-1 satellite in May and the Merah Putih (formerly Telkom-4) satellite in August for Telkom Indonesia. "Nothing wrong with a little swim", Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, said on Twitter.

Putting satellites into orbit is a costly proposition.

The launch was chartered by a company called Spaceflight, which specializes in space 'rideshares, ' or putting multiple satellites on the same rocket. The overall record is 104, set in February 2017 by an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

Some of those smaller satellites aim to build an internet network capable of supporting smart devices back on Earth's surface.

SpaceX did not webcast the deployment of the 64 satellites after the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage reached orbit, citing an absence of ground stations in view from the rocket to beam down video.

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