Spacex launches its third hitch-ride mission

2022-07-24 0 By

SpaceX launched its third dedicated lift mission, Transporter-3, at 10:25 a.m. Est on January 13.The passenger vehicle mission launched 104 small satellites into orbit.Falcon 9’s first stage lands in LZ 1 at Cape Canaveral.SpaceX’s transporter missions typically land the first-stage booster in a nearby land landing zone, rather than one of its drone barges.Companies launching small satellites on this mission include Planet, Spire, Kepler, Capella Space, Unseenlabs, Iceye and Umbra.Most companies are building on existing satellites.The satellites will serve a number of different purposes, including increasing Unseenlabs’ ocean domain awareness capabilities and demonstrating OroraTech’s ability to use satellites equipped with infrared cameras for early detection of wildfires.Planet has the most satellites on the Transporter mission, with 44 SuperDove satellites, which it uses for Earth observation services.The largest satellite on Transporter-3 is the 29-kilogram ETV-A1, built by Sen for its plan to transmit ultra-high-definition video from space.Dubai Water and Electricity Authority also launched a satellite on transport-3.The satellite, called DEWA-Sat 1, will service its power and water systems for Internet of Things applications.It was the first satellite owned by a utility.Most payloads are arranged by launch aggregators like D-Orbit, Spaceflight and Exolaunch, which serve as intermediaries for organizations looking to launch small satellites.And, yes, D-Orbit is best known for testing a satellite re-entry system that can operate independently of satellites, as a way to solve the problem of “dead” satellites that can stay in Orbit for years — even decades.The concept could help avoid problems such as the International Space Station having to maneuver to avoid “space junk,” or China’s complaint that a Starlink satellite nearly collided with its space station.SpaceX’s dedicated shared missions make it possible to launch more small satellites without their owners having to wait for space while they launch larger payloads.SpaceX is planning three more Transporter missions this year.Transporter missions provide a very affordable way for companies and research institutions to launch small satellites.Competition for the Transporter mission includes relatively new and lesser-known aerospace companies such as ExoLaunch, which offers sharing and constellation launch services.Like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, Rocket Lab’s Electron is a reusable rocket.But unlike Falcon 9, Electron was specifically developed for hitching missions to launch small satellites.Some of transporter-3’s originally planned payloads were reassigned to these competitors or will be flown at a later date, possibly due to technical problems.The Sherpa tugboat supplied by Spaceflight was withdrawn from Transporter-3 due to a leak in its chemical propulsion system.As a result of the removal of the Sherpa tug, a satellite owned by the Danish research centre VZLU replaced the D-orbit flight.SpaceX’s next ride mission, Transporter-4, will include Kleos’s fleet of radio frequency monitoring satellites.The satellites were due to fly on transporter-3, but were delayed.Transporter-4 is scheduled to launch in April.