While delayed from Friday to Saturday, SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 launch still appears to be on track to obliterate the world’s current record for most satellites launched on a single rocket.
Currently set at 104 satellites by an Indian PSLV rocket launch in 2017, all signs point to SpaceX beating that record by almost 50% on its very first dedicated Smallsat Rideshare Program launch. Kicked off in 2019, not long after SpaceX completed its first dedicated rideshare launch for company Spaceflight Industries in December 2018, the Smallsat Program aimed to offer exceptionally affordable prices to companies and institutions open to rideshare arrangements.
While primarily centered around more frequent but mass and volume-limited Starlink tag-a-longs, three of which SpaceX has already completed, executives also promised regular bus-like Falcon 9 launches entirely dedicated to rideshare payloads. SpaceX’s first such mission, known as Transporter-1, is now scheduled to launch no earlier than 9:40 am EST (14:40 UTC) on Saturday, January 22nd.
This Saturday we’re launching 48 SuperDoves w/ @SpaceX!
Fun Fact: it’s a record-breaking ride w/ 133 sats! (Beating 104 on PSLV in 2017 where @PlanetLabs had 88)
— Will Marshall (@Will4Planet) January 22, 2021
Following notification from @SpaceX, CelesTrak has updated the SupTLEs for the Transporter-1 launch to reflect a new launch date for Saturday, Jan 23. All other times for deployment relative to a launch at the opening of the window remain the same: https://t.co/J39z8yvPdD. pic.twitter.com/x3mkNdMUtz
— T.S. Kelso (@TSKelso) January 22, 2021