It’s been a busy weekend for SpaceX.

The company sent yet another rocket racing off into orbit on Sunday morning after a planned Saturday launch was called off due to inclement weather. The rocket, dubbed Transporter-1, is loaded with some very special cargo: A gigantic pile of satellites.

There are 143 in total aboard Transporter-1. Of those, 133 belong to government and business interests. The other 10 are Starlink satellites, the orbital high-speed internet project spearheaded by SpaceX.

Notably, Transporter-1’s cargo makes this particular launch more historic than most. The 143 satellites it’s ferrying up into the space are “the most spacecraft ever deployed on a single mission,” according to SpaceX.

The scheduled 10:00 a.m. ET launch at Florida’s Cape Canaveral proceeded without issue after Saturday’s postponement. (It was actually the second postponement for this mission, which was originally supposed to launch back in December.) 

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. It’s “two-stage” because part of the rocket detaches after launch and returns to Earth. 

That happened here about 10 minutes after launch, with the bulk of the Falcon 9’s body detaching and making a safe landing about the SpaceX drone ship called Of Course I Still Love You. You can watch that landing at roughly the 26-minute mark in the below video.

Many of the satellite deployments are also watchable in the below video of SpaceX’s launch livestream. It’s not as exciting or dramatic to watch as a rocket liftoff, but as the purpose of the entire mission it’s something worth tuning in for during the video’s second hour.

[embedded content]

Leave a Reply