SpaceX is preparing to launch a second dedicated car-sharing mission for the Falcon 9 rocket, called Transporter-2, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Tuesday afternoon.
The mission will carry a total of 88 small satellites from various customers. This includes private companies such as ICEYE and Umbra, as well as the US Government Space Agency.
The Space Development Agency, part of the Department of Defense, seeks to improve the nation’s capacity to bring satellites into space in a timely and cost-effective manner. The agency is launching five satellites on the mission. Transporter-2 for an estimated price of $21 million.
“This figure represents a huge government value for the four satellites and payload,” an agency spokesman said. “The invaluable data gleaned from these trials will outpace pre-made financial investments as we begin to lay the groundwork for the nation. Defense space architecture
SpaceX has developed a car-sharing program for the Falcon 9 rocket to increase the number of purely commercial launches performed by the main booster. The company advertises access to the Sun Synchronous Orbit for just $1 million per 200kg of weight. SpaceX plans to launch the ride-sharing mission every four months, depending on demand.
SpaceX’s lowest-cost ride-sharing service in the world. Only fully reusable orbital rockets in Falcon 9 helped the company fill the list. The program also takes advantage of SpaceX’s investment in developing reusability. Tuesday’s launch attempt will fly into orbit at the first stage of its flight seven times. The anniversary of the rocket’s first flight was Wednesday.
However, SpaceX’s expansion into small satellite launches has put a lot of pressure on other companies developing small rockets to launch satellites into orbit. These companies can offer specific launches for specific orbits. But the service comes at a price. For example, Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket can deliver about 300kg into low Earth orbit for about $7.5 million. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne can deliver up to 500kg of Sun Synchronous Orbit for about $7.5 million. Estimated $15 million. However, these vehicles fail to deliver the credibility of the Falcon 9, but have made more than 100 successful launches in a row.
The weather seemed favorable for Tuesday’s launch attempt. Which has an almost hourly launch window that opens at 2:56 p.m. ET (18:56 UTC), backers will return to the launch site instead of making the drone land due to the reserve fuel capacity on the Falcon 9 aircraft for this mission
Entry image by Trevor Mahlmann.